Address to the Security Council, July 18, 2014:
We have called for this emergency meeting of the Security Council due to the existential crisis being faced by the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation. With every moment that passes, the life of another Palestinian child or mother or father is cruelly taken by the Israeli occupying forces in their murderous rampage of airstrikes and artillery bombardment against civilian areas and now a massive ground invasion in the Gaza Strip, threatening the safety and survival of the entire Palestinian civilian population. As we were driving to this meeting, four additional children were killed. There names are: Rizeq Al Hayek (age 2), Sarah Bustan (age 13), Imad Ilwan (age 7) Qasem Ilwan (age 10).
Despite regional and international efforts to bring an end to the violence and bloodshed, as well as end the siege, isolation and punishment of our people – and despite the broad consensus that there is no military solution to this crisis or to the conflict in its entirety – Israel, the occupying Power, has intensified its military operations, with full intention and with full knowledge that civilian casualties will mount. In less than 24 hours, this Israeli assault has killed more than 40 Palestinians, including many children.
While President Abbas has been continuously engaged in efforts to secure a comprehensive ceasefire, including efforts by Egypt and Turkey among other concerned countries in the region and beyond, Israel has instead chosen to continue waging war on our people. Upon the direct command of the highest levels of the Israeli government and army, the occupying forces are killing and injuring hundreds of Palestinian civilians – the majority children and women, destroying homes and infrastructure, and displacing thousands of families. Yet another disaster is being inflicted on Gaza, traumatizing and terrorizing the entire population and worsening the humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s repeated aggressions and illegal 8-year blockade, sowing widespread distress, resentment and rage among our people.
This savage Israeli aggression cannot be justified by any means. It is not “self-defense” – it is a vengeful military aggression intentionally planned and perpetrated by the occupying Power against the civilian population under its occupation. Among the goals of this military campaign are the destruction of Palestinian unity and collapse of the national consensus government. Declarations made by Israeli officials – from the Prime Minister on down – are clear evidence of this, including the enumeration of specific aims of the aggression. Here, we remind that the Israeli government cynically used the killing of 3 Israeli settlers to launch this aggression – a crime for which there has not been an independent, transparent investigation, yet which Israel has insanely used as the basis for its barbaric attacks and upon which officials, settlers and extremists continue to incite for more terror and harm to our people.
Moreover, it is an obvious repeat of the numerous crises manufactured by Israel over the years to evade all efforts to advance a peaceful political solution to this conflict and justly address its root causes, namely Israel’s denial and violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people and 47-year illegal military occupation and colonization of the Palestinian land. It is not by coincidence that this deliberate destabilization of the situation on the ground diverts international attention from Israel’s obstruction of peace efforts, particularly via its malicious settlement campaign throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
War crimes, crimes against humanity, State terrorism and systematic human rights violations are being committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.
This is not simply the Palestinian narrative, this is fact. Before the eyes of the world, Israel is waging a war against a defenseless civilian population, trampling human rights, committing grave breaches of international humanitarian law, and destroying the pillars of the international system as it forces a repugnant double-standard upon the international community with its cynical pretexts, including destroying the credibility of the Security Council itself, which continues to stand aside as Israel flagrantly violates its resolutions without consequence.
Israel’s actions belie its words. The facts speak much louder than the disdainful words and immoral lectures made repeatedly before this Council by the Israeli representative, all while his government and army kill and maim innocent children, women and men.
The Palestinian death toll now stands at more than 274 people killed and more than 2,065 people injured. The overwhelming majority of those killed and injured are civilians, including 62 children, 48 women and 17 elderly persons. More than 38,000 people have been displaced, the majority Palestine refugees. These disturbing facts are corroborated by reports from UN agencies on the ground, including OCHA and UNRWA.
The images of the Palestinian children killed by the Israeli occupying forces sear our hearts and the conscience of the world. I am compelled to share the names of the some of the children, families, elderly and disabled persons killed by Israel’s onslaught since our last appeal to the Council, the majority killed in Israeli airstrikes on their homes. Our victims have names, not just statistics for the occupying forces to slaughter:
Mahmoud Al-Haj, Tariq Saad Al-Haj, Saad Mahmoud Al-Haj, Omar Al-Haj, Najla Mahmoud Al-Haj, Amina Al-Haj – all of same family
Abdullah Abu Ghazl (age 4)
Yasmeen Al-Mutaweq (age 4)
Shahd Helmi Al-Qarnawi (age 5)
Ghalia Deeb Ghannam (age 7)
Nour Marwan Al-Najdi (age 10)
Saber Sukkar (age 80)
Ola Washahi (age 31) and Suha Abu Saada (age 47), who both suffered from severe mental and physical handicaps, killed in an airstrike on a disabled persons center.
18 members of the Al-Batsh family, including 6 children and 3 women, one of them pregnant, were massacred, and 16 other civilians were wounded by the Israeli occupying forces in a deliberately launched military airstrike at their home, which Israel declared to be targeting Tayseer Al-Batsh, a police chief in Gaza. The dead include Nahed Nai’im Al-Batsh (41), Bahaa Majed Al-Batsh (28), Qusai Issam Al-Batsh (12), Mohammed Issam Al-Batsh (17), Ahmed Nu’man Al-Batsh (27), Yehya Ala Al-Batsh (18), Jalal Majed Al-Batsh (26), Mahmoud Majed Al-Batsh (22), Marwa Majed Al-Batsh (25), Majed Subhi Al-Batsh, Khaled Majed Al-Batsh (20), Ibrahim Majed Al-Batsh (18), Manar Majed Al-Batsh (13), Amal Hasan Al-Batsh (49), Anas Alaa Al-Batsh (10), Qusai Alaa Al-Batsh (20), Zakariya Alaa Al-Batsh, and Aziza Youssef Al-Batsh (59)
Ismail Baker (age 9), Ahed Baker (age 10), Mohammed Baker (age 10) and Zakariya Baker (age 10), murdered by the occupying forces in broad daylight as they were playing on the beach in Gaza City
Yasmin Al-Astal (age 4), Osama Al-Astal (age 6) and Raqiyya Al-Astal (age 70) – all members of the same family, killed in a strike at a mosque
Ibrahim Ramadan Abu Daqqa (age 10), his brother Amro Ramadan Abu Daqqa (age 25), and their sister Madeline Abu Daqqa (age 27), a pregnant mother of three, and their elderly grandmother, Khadra Abu Daqqa
Fulla Shuhaibar (9), brothers Jihad Issam Shuhaibar (age 10) and Wasim Issam Shuaibar (7)
Ahmad Ismail Abu Musallam (age 14), his sister Alaa (age13) and brother Muhammad (15)
Rahaf khalil Al-Jbour (age 4)
Yassin Al-Humaidi (age 4)
Mohammad Shadi Natiz (age 15) and Mohammed Salim Natiz (4)
Fares Al-Mahmoum (5 months old)
We join our grieving people in praying for their souls and asking for strength and resilience for their mourning families and nation.
The names of many of the dead are yet to be known as emergency personnel swift through the rubble and as Israel continues attacks. This is the unjust reality in which the Palestinian people are struggling to survive and suffering gravely under Israel’s occupation, as their right to reject and resist this immoral, inhumane and illegitimate occupation – and their legitimate aspirations to realize their rights and freedom – continue to be shamefully perverted by the occupying Power.
This reality is worsened by the repeated appeasement of Israel and the failure of the international community to hold it accountable and to impose the rule of law. We call on the Security Council once again to uphold its Charter duties and to act forthwith to implement its resolutions regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as well as its resolutions regarding the protection of civilians in armed conflict and children in armed conflict.
Should the Security Council fail to respond to our appeals to uphold the law to end these crimes and violations against our people and ensure their protection, and should our peaceful, diplomatic and political efforts in this regard fail, we will have no recourse but to turn to the judicial bodies of the United Nations and the international system. We have duty to our people to leave no stone unturned as we strive to end the Israeli occupation, oppression and colonial domination and attain our inalienable rights.
We call on the Security Council to adopt a resolution that condemns the Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, calls for its immediate cessation, calls for the lifting of the Israeli blockade on Gaza Strip, and calls for protection of the Palestinian people since Israel, the occupying Power, has clearly forfeited its legal obligations to do so. In this regard, we draw attention to the fact that such a resolution and the necessary action to implement has the full endorsement of the Arab Group, the OIC and the NAM, constituting the majority of the UN membership.
Lastly, before concluding, I also wish to make an appeal to the international community to support the efforts to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza in order to alleviate their grave suffering and devastation they are enduring. In this regard, we appeal for urgent donor support to the emergency appeal for Gaza launched by UNRWA on 14 July, recognizing the vital role being played by the Agency, along with other UN agencies and international organizations on the ground, to address this crisis and meet the needs of the population.
I thank you, Mr. President.