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Published on Mar 30, 2017
International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
Human Rights Council Thirty-Fourth Session 20 March 2017
General Debate on Agenda Item 7: Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories
Delivered by Mr. Naser ABUHAMMOUD
Thank you Mr. President,
This is a joint statement by International Organization for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD) and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ).
I am speaking as representative of the Dawabashih Family from the village of Duma, Palestine. Less than two years ago, members of my family were brutally murdered by criminal Israeli settlers from a nearby illegal settlement. 18-month-old Ali, his 4 year-old brother Ahmed, father Sa’ad, and mother Reham were sound asleep when the Israeli settlers set fire to the family home in the night of 31 July 2015. The parents tried desperately to rescue their children but could only rescue Ahmad, while toddler Ali was burned alive in the fire. Both parents later succumbed to their injuries, leaving the permanently injured Ahmad orphaned. This atrocious murder shows the magnitude that settler violence takes in Occupied Palestine, for which accountability remains absent.
This attack has deepened the plight of my family. We have fallen victim to many settler attacks in the past, which render life almost unbearable. Settler violence is a daily part of life for many Palestinians: Armed Israeli settlers – endowed with impunity by the Israeli State – regularly carry out attacks against Palestinian civilians and property by, inter alia, shooting and harassing Palestinians and damaging and destroying their belongings.
We are not safe from actions by Israeli forces either, as they engage in violent acts against Palestinians, including the use of excessive and often lethal force and targeted assassinations. Violence by the occupying forces has created an atmosphere of terror among the Palestinian population since the beginning of the occupation. Such atrocious acts add to the climate of violence in which Palestinians live and inflict unquantifiable psychological harm on Palestinians, especially on children who witness their parents being beaten or murdered and their homes being destroyed.
The arson attack on my family is not the first crime by the settlers and it will not be the last if the international community does not take immediate measures to hold Israel accountable, to cease its violations and prevent violence by settlers and soldiers, and to conduct investigations and guarantee accountability for illegal actions.