The representative of the Organization of Islamic cooperation participated in the Forum to Mark Fifty Years of Israeli Occupation Entitled, "Ending the Occupation: The Path to Independence, Justice and Peace for Palestine".
The event was organized by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in the United Nations Headquarters, New York, on 29 – 30 June 2017. Following is the text of the statement delivered by the representative of the OIC in the event.
“Your Excellency Mr. Fode Seck,
Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my honor to deliver the following remarks on behalf of the OIC, at this august meeting marking fifty years of Israeli occupation.
Fifty years ago, Palestinian and Arab territories became under protracted Israeli military and colonial occupation, which continues to be the most defining global justice issue. This military occupation continues to be a political challenge for the international community, which failed so far to recognize and correct the injustices that Israel has inflicted on the Palestinian people.
Over the past five decades, Israel has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians, including extrajudicial assassination, and detained more than a million. Moreover, Israel’s colonial policies have inflicted immeasurable suffering on Palestinians, denying them their basic rights. The ruthless military rule of the Israeli occupation has affected every aspect of daily life in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including basic rights, which we usually take for granted, such as when and how to go to school or travel, seek medication, visit relatives, attend weddings, get married, earn a living, access farmland, or even access electricity or a clean water supply. Such cruel policies have led to daily humiliation, pain and repression. An entire nation has been held hostage by Israel for five decades.
Over the past five decades, the Palestinian people have been subjected to one of the worst oppressing colonial regimes in history. Because of the Israeli occupation, the Palestinians have been deprived from their basic rights, most importantly their rights to self-determination and freedom. Over the past five decades, tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and properties have been demolished, entire communities were displaced and large areas of Palestinian lands have been forcefully seized for Israel's colonial projects, mainly settlements, which amount to war crimes under international law. Furthermore, over five decades, Palestinian natural resources, including their fertile land, water and minerals have been extensively and unlawfully appropriated by Israel. In addition, the Palestinian economy has severely declined as a result of Israeli measures and restrictions.
Sadly, during these long decades, the world has stood by and watched as Israel continued its crimes. Standing by is not and should not be an option in cases of war crimes. The world has failed the Palestinians for five decades. The non-action of the world has been interpreted by Israel as international consent to its unlawful acts and authorization to further violate international law.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Despite thousands of international calls, efforts along with numerous UN resolutions, it is upsetting and painful to watch the Palestinian people, over the past seven decades, constantly awaiting the global values of justice, freedom and peace to prevail in Palestine, and failing to ensure and materialize their fundamental rights, aspirations and entitlements. This is an overdue issue and must be addressed seriously and meaningfully by the international community.
We believe that the resolution of the entire Middle East conflict depends mainly on solving its core, which is the Palestinian issue. The international consensus to realize the vision of the two States solution requires a clear-cut stance based on the terms of reference of the peace process, namely relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative, to which the OIC is adherent.
The United Nations, in particular the Security Council, carries a special responsibility to find a solution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Serious and meaningful efforts must be exerted, including by the Security Council, to fulfill its collective moral, legal, and political responsibilities for the realization of peace, justice and security in the region in this year.
We reaffirm, in this occasion, the centrality of the Palestine cause for the entire Islamic World, and stress the Palestinian and Arab character of Occupied East Jerusalem and the need for full respect of the sanctity of Islamic and Christian holy places therein. The OIC also reaffirms that East Jerusalem remains an integral part of the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel since 1967, and that its illegal annexation by Israel remains rejected and unrecognized by the international community.
On this day that we mark 50 years of illegal occupation, I wish to reaffirm the unwavering and full support of the OIC for the Palestinian people in their endeavour to regain their legitimate and inalienable rights, including their right to self-determination, sovereignty, and independence of the State of Palestine in the territory occupied since 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and to find a just solution for the plight of the Palestine refugees in line with United Nations Resolution 194.
It is no exaggeration to say that ending the Israeli occupation and putting an end to the plight of the Palestinian people is a real litmus test for the international community including the United Nations. It is a litmus test for our adherence to noble values and principles of justice and freedom.