Is­raeli rights group urges UN to end Pales­tinian oc­cu­pa­tion

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

An Is­raeli hu­man rights group urged the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to take de­ci­sive ac­tion now to end the coun­try’s oc­cu­pa­tion of Pales­tinian ter­ri­tory. Ha­gai El-Ad, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of B’Tse­lem, told an in­for­mal coun­cil meet­ing Fri­day on “Il­le­gal Is­raeli Set­tle­ments: Ob­sta­cles to Peace and the Two-State So­lu­tion” that Is­rael has con­trolled Pales­tinian lives in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem for the past 49 years “and count­ing.”

“Is­rael will not cease be­ing an op­pres­sor sim­ply by wak­ing up one day and re­al­iz­ing the bru­tal­ity of its poli­cies,” he said. With the 50th an­niver­sary ap­proach­ing next year, El-Ad said “the rights of Pales­tini­ans must be re­al­ized, the oc­cu­pa­tion must end, the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil must act, and the time is now.” El-Ad stressed that the coun­cil “has more than just power: You have a moral re­spon­si­bil­ity and a real op­por­tu­nity to act with a sense of ur­gency be­fore we reach the sym­bolic date of June 2017 and the sec­ond half of that first cen­tury be­gins.”

An­other Is­raeli rights group, Peace Now, was in­vited to speak but it was rep­re­sented by its sis­ter or­ga­ni­za­tion, Amer­i­cans for Peace Now, which has also cam­paigned for an end to Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion. “The oc­cu­pa­tion is a threat to Is­rael’s se­cu­rity and to Is­rael’s very ex­is­tence,” said Lara Fried­man, the group’s di­rec­tor of pol­icy and govern­ment re­la­tions. When Is­rael and the Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion signed the Oslo peace ac­cords 23 years ago, the set­tler pop­u­la­tion in the West Bank was 116,000, she said. At the end of 2015, it was al­most 390,000.

“I urge you here to­day to fi­nally take ac­tion in the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to send a clear mes­sage to Is­rael that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity stands by the twostate so­lu­tion and un­am­bigu­ously re­jects poli­cies that un­der­mine it - in­clud­ing Is­raeli set­tle­ment poli­cies,” Fried­man said. Is­rael’s UN Am­bas­sador Danny Danon ac­cused B’Tse­lem of join­ing “Pales­tinian at­tempts to wage diplo­matic terror against Is­rael at the UN.” He also ac­cused the group of choos­ing “to slan­der and be­smirch Is­rael’s good name” and vowed that “we will con­tinue to fight and tell the truth about Is­rael de­spite the at­tempts to spread lies about us.

‘Pos­i­tive ex­er­cise’

Riyad Man­sour, the Pales­tinian UN Am­bas­sador, called the in­for­mal meet­ing “a very pos­i­tive ex­er­cise” that builds on his dis­cus­sions about a new UN res­o­lu­tion that would de­mand an end to Is­raeli set­tle­ment build­ing. The Pales­tini­ans pushed for the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to adopt a res­o­lu­tion against set­tle­ments in Fe­bru­ary 2011 but it was ve­toed by the United States. The 14 other Se­cu­rity Coun­cil mem­bers voted in fa­vor of the res­o­lu­tion, re­flect­ing the wide sup­port for the draft which had over 100 co-spon­sors. What the United States might do about a new set­tle­ments res­o­lu­tion re­mains to be seen.

US deputy am­bas­sador David Press­man told the meet­ing that “the United States re­mains firmly com­mit­ted to ad­vanc­ing a two-state so­lu­tion ... (and) we are deeply con­cerned about con­tin­ued set­tle­ment ac­tiv­ity.” He re­called that last week the United States con­demned new Is­raeli set­tle­ments and said that since July 1 over 2,400 set­tle­ment units have been ad­vanced in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. This makes “a vi­able Pales­tinian state more re­mote,” he said. “In short, we need to start im­ple­ment­ing the two-state so­lu­tion on the ground right now,” Press­man said. While a peace deal can only be achieved through Is­raeli-Pales­tinian ne­go­ti­a­tions, he said, “sig­nif­i­cant progress to­wards cre­at­ing a two-state re­al­ity can be made now that will help re­store hope and lay the ground­work for suc­cess­ful ne­go­ti­a­tions.” “We con­tinue to stress the ur­gency and im­por­tance of tak­ing these steps now and re­frain­ing from ac­tions that cor­rode the prospects for two states,” Press­man said. Man­sour called Press­man’s use of the word “now” twice very in­ter­est­ing, say­ing his com­ments are in line with strong mes­sages from Wash­ing­ton ex­press­ing “out­rage against the in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of set­tle­ment ac­tiv­i­ties.” He said it’s too early to say whether this will trans­late into U.S. sup­port for a new set­tle­ments res­o­lu­tion. — AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.