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Published on Dec 7, 2016
International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
General debate under agenda item 7 - Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories
Delivered by Ms. Iman Abu Zueiter
Thank you Mr. President,
The ongoing decades-long conflict in Palestine is a source for systematic and widespread human rights violations against the Palestinian people. For more than half a century, Palestinians have been heavily suffering from grave human rights abuses as a result of the Israeli occupation’s oppressive and unjust policies.
Arbitrary detention is a common phenomenon in the West Bank. Under the cover of “administrative detention”, Israel is holding high numbers of Palestinians in custody for extended periods of time, without upper time limit, without trials, and without informing them or their lawyers of the charges against them, in an obvious misuse of the concept and a breach of International law.
Human rights defenders in Palestine are also systematically targeted under old and exaggerated charges. One example is the case of Issa Amro who is facing a trial on trumped up charges since September 2015 that put him under imminent risk of imprisonment.
Collective Punishment is a regular practice against Palestinians as well. In the West Bank, this takes the form of demolitions of the family houses of the accused or suspected in carrying out attacks against Israelis, causing harm to those who have nothing to do with the allegedly committed attacks.
In the Gaza strip this takes the form of a ten year-long blockade. Besides the severe restrictions imposed on civilians’ movement, people are also deprived of their basic daily needs; such as goods, clean water, fossil fuels, building materials, and electricity. Obviously this has horrible consequences and constitutes a serious breach of the fundamental human rights of the 1.8 million inhabitants.
The international community has a duty towards the Palestinian population to put an end to the ongoing collective punishment of civilians. People in Palestine need more than mere humanitarian assistance, they need to live in dignity in their recognized Palestinian territories and without fear.
Therefore, we urge the international community to take immediate action to stop these grave human rights violations. Achieving this will bring us a step closer to the long awaited peace.