GENEVA, Monday, February 27, 2023 (WAFA) – Addressing the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riad Malki said that the crisis in Palestine is a result of the failure of the international community to act.
He also expressed the Palestinian people’s sincere condolences to the Syrian and Turkish peoples who have endured a natural disaster of overwhelming proportions.
Following is the full address of Foreign Minister Malki:
We stand with Turkiye and Syria as they recover from the horrific aftermath of the earthquakes and endeavor to provide recovery and humanitarian assistance to the millions affected;
When disaster struck Syria and Turkiye, people and governments sprung to action because rhetorical statements of solidarity and sympathy were of no use to the victims;
had solidarity stopped at statements rather than translate into assistance, no matter how humble, they would have only added insult to injury;
Despite the limitations, survivors will remember that their humanity was the focus of efforts by thousands of rescuers. Not their nationality, their religion, or the color of their skin. Their humanity;
The brutal components of the Palestinian people’s reality under Israel’s illegal colonial occupation and apartheid regime are known to all;
Every detail of Palestinian suffering; every dimension of the injustice; every feature of the brutality – they are all thoroughly documented by UN bodies, and international, Israeli, and Palestinian human rights organizations;
The crisis in Palestine is not due to a lack of information. Every country knows well what is happening and have read the reports and analysis;
You have seen the horrific pictures of a full onslaught by Israeli settlers against defenseless Palestinian communities in Huwara, Burin, and others last night;
You know that these terrorist settler attacks that cost Palestinian lives and livelihoods are done under the protection of Israeli forces and that this is not the first terror campaign and it will not be the last and that Palestinians need protection but refuse to offer it;
That is why the crisis in Palestine is not about data. It is the result of a chronic failure to act and an uncanny attachment to rhetorical statements and an insistence to refrain from any action aligned with statements;
The crisis in Palestine is that the Palestinian people have been left under a mounting pile of injustice while they claw themselves out without help or recourse;
Instead, oxygen tanks are occasionally extended to our people so that they may endure this crushing reality, while they listen to iterates about commitment to human rights and global solidarity;
And as the Palestinian people hear those hollow statements, they hear news of the world moving heaven and earth to show solidarity with others facing a humanitarian and justice crisis;
The truth is, our entire international system that is predicated on universal respect for human rights, and international law, including international human rights law and humanitarian law, is crumbling before our very eyes because of hypocrisy and double standards;
Accountability is sought for political expediency and fought against with as much fervor when the culprit is politically favored. That is the textbook definition of hypocrisy;
Israel, the occupying Power, is granted an indefensible status of exceptional treatment that allows it to continue committing crimes with complete and abject impunity;
Meanwhile, the Palestinian people are asked to act restrained, to have patience that is humanly unfathomable, and worst of all, they are expected to refrain from seeking a way out;
This past year, Israel killed more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank than it has in sixteen years, demolished more homes, and dispossessed more Palestinians than it has done in years;
Since this year began, Israeli occupation forces have killed and maimed hundreds of Palestinians, demolished dozens of homes, laid siege to cities and refugee camps;
punished dozens of innocent families and deprived Palestinian prisoners and detainees of basic rights including proper access to water and food;
Israel continues expanding illegal colonial settlements across the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, and adopting policies and practices that further entrench colonization and apartheid. In other words, Israel has spared no effort to commit crimes with impunity;
How did the international community respond to these grave violations of international law? Did it rally to take action for accountability? or sanction the occupying power for international crimes? Or assist the Palestinian people in seeking Justice?
No, it did not. Instead, many international actors used their political clout to shield Israel from accountability and to bully the Palestinians out of seeking justice;
In fact, some went as far as nominating Israel, a prolific violator of human rights and a country that stands accused of committing the crime of apartheid among others, to sit on the UN committee that is charged with reviewing the United Nations Charter!
Consequently, some international officials have been encouraged to issue statements that perverse and twist reality as well as undermine the core values of international law. This is not just unacceptable; it is an outrageous assault on the international system;
And if such willful dereliction of international obligations was not enough, some members of the HRC have the audacity to lecture Palestinians on bias and to work diligently to undercut discussions under Item 7;
It is an insult – not just to the Palestinian people whose suffering is prolonged and amplified by such duplicity but to the very principles of international law this body is entrusted to uphold;
What, other than double standards and exceptionalism, can explain such an upside-down reality? The answer is quite simple: nothing;
But it’s not enough to know this painful answer. This body has an obligation to right this egregious wrong and to stop sufficing with rhetorical correctness;
It is time to stop allowing Israel to commit these crimes while getting rewarded for its criminality. It is time for the international community to confront, rather than appease, the oppressor. It is time for actionable solidarity because it is the only one that counts;
As the world confronts complex and interconnected crises, the international community must come to terms with the fact that the chronic denial of Palestinian rights will remain the elephant in the international room;
The Palestinian people will not surrender to dying in the cold and to disappearing into the night;
We will continue to claw our way out to justice and freedom, no matter how much brutality and injustice is piled on. We will do that with the active help of principled states and people around the world who refuse to watch us suffocate into submission;
But when the dust settles and it is time to write the story of how this international system was willfully made irrelevant;
It will be made clear that the Palestinian people fought for their humanity, dignity, and freedom with grace and an unbreakable will despite the odds and those who made a conscious decision to break it rather than champion human rights universally and unequivocally;
There is still time to write a different ending and to defend this noble system against those eroding it to serve their needs. But time is running out fast;
Perhaps the upcoming commemoration of the universal declaration of human rights that was adopted 75 years ago when Nakba of the Palestinian people was transpiring, provides us all with an opportunity to correct our collective path and the injustices that befell our people.