UN Security Council should compel Israel to stop preventing peace, stability: Palestine

10:08, April 22, 2011      

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Riyad Mansour, permanent observer of Palestine to the United Nations, said here Thursday that the UN Security Council should support efforts to end Israeli violence and blockades in the Middle East.

"The Council cannot surrender in the face of continued Israeli defiance; it must be unwavering in its calls for respect of the law and its own resolutions and act with conviction to compel Israel, the occupying power, to cease its obstruction of peace and stability in our region," said Mansour.

Mansour's statements came as he addressed the Security Council during an open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

He spoke of the recent events in the Gaza Strip, where violence between Israelis and Palestinians has escalated of late.

"While the international community decries the killing of civilians, invoking responsibility to protect and acting for the protection of civilians in armed conflict, in the Gaza Strip we witness once again inflammation of the cycle of violence and an escalation of Israeli military attacks, killing and wounding more Palestinian civilians," Mansour said.

The permanent observer also addressed the situation in Gaza, where Israel implemented a blockade after Hamas took over the land in 2007.

"The deliberate isolation and deprivation of the civilians in Gaza also continues as a result of the Israeli blockade, a massive from of collective punishment amounting to a war crime and crime against humanity," he said.

Israel has said that it has eased restrictions on materials allowed into the Gaza Strip, after a violent 2010 incident involving a Turkish aid flotilla and Israeli soldiers. However, Mansour said Israel's measures are not strong enough.

"'Easing of restrictions' is insufficient; an end to the blockade must mean: freedom of movement of persons and goods into and out of Gaza; reconstruction of homes, infrastructure, and UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency) facilities; commercial flows for the rehabilitation of industry and the economy; and restoration of the link between the West Bank and Gaza, all of which are essential for the revival of hope among our people there, " Mansour explained.

He noted that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) under President Mahmoud Abbas will attempt to reunite the Hamas- controlled Gaza Strip with the rest of Palestine.

"Fully recognizing the damage inflicted by the division to our just cause, President Mahmoud Abbas has announced his initiative to go to Gaza as soon as possible with the aim of ending this division and dark chapter in our history and restoring the unity of our people and land," Mansour said. "We believe this is imperative for healing and strengthening our people as they continue the journey to realize their noble national goals, and we call on all concerned parties to support his effort."

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's state-building plan, Mansour told the Council, is also advancing "with the only obstacle to fully realizing its objectives being the ongoing Israeli occupation."

Fayyad's plan is intended to prepare Palestine for a bid for self-determination and statehood by August. In September, Palestine is expected to seek recognition of its statehood from the UN General Assembly.

"In this connection, we also reiterate gratitude to all member states that have extended recognition to Palestine, based on relevant UN resolutions and the international consensus on two states, and we urge countries that have not yet recognized the state of Palestine to do so at the earliest possible time to contribute to soon making our independence a reality," Mansour said.

Source: Xinhua
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