THE international community has a responsibility ‘to put an end to Israel’s aggression on our homeland, and to enable our people to establish our state on the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital,’ Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said yesterday, addressing a special session of the United Nations on the issue.
Al-Maliki demanded: ‘Cease the massacre!
‘As we speak Israel has killed 230 people, including 65 children, 40 women, and 15 old men.
‘Israel has destroyed more than 1,500 residential units, 50 schools – the numbers are on the rise as hostilities continue.
‘In addition, Israel has forced the expulsion of 100,000 Palestinians in an utter violation of international law.
‘Israel is a force of occupation, a force of colonialism, persecuting an entire people.
‘What if your homeland is occupied, your people slaughtered, butchered! How can we allege that Israel as an occupation force has the right to defend itself, while the occupied lose such rights?
‘We urge you to cease providing support to Israel.
‘All free states should hold Israel accountable rather than arming Israel. They should stand up to the illegal settlements, rather than endorsing the illegal occupation.
‘The world community cannot stand by.
‘We will never abandon our rights.
‘The attacks on our homeland and our holy cities must come to an end, under international law and internationalism with the aim of establishing the State of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital.
‘The recent incidents prove that the Palestinian cause is in the hearts and the minds of the people of the region. The Israeli occupation is attacking our people, one generation after another.
‘This criminal occupation has caused renewed pain and suffering that will not stop even if a ceasefire is held.
‘Our resolve cannot be dented as we continue the struggle for our just cause and fight for our rights.
‘The Israelis are continuing their eviction of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, with the aim of wiping out the Arab Palestinian presence in the Holy City of Jerusalem.
‘This is also perpetrated by the Israeli municipalities, courts and illegal settlements.
‘Israel as an occupation force does not spare any effort to wipe out the Arab, Muslim, Palestinian and Christian identities, forcibly expel the residents, divide the Holy City, both in time and geography, aiming to uproot the deep history of the Palestinian people.
‘The decision to raid the al-Aqsa compound during the holy month and particularly the holiest night, the 27th of the month, all these efforts were doomed to failure.
‘Jerusalem and its residents rose in defiance saying that Jerusalem is not for sale!’
Before Riyad al-Maliki spoke, António Guterres, General Secretary of the UN made a special statement.
He said: ‘The fighting must stop immediately. I call on all parties to stop hostilities immediately and I reiterate my call on both sides for an immediate ceasefire.
‘I was horrified of reports that nine members of one family were killed in Shati refugee camp. If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza.’
He said: ‘The hostilities have caused serious damage to vital civilian infrastructure in Gaza including roads and electricity lines, contributing to a humanitarian emergency. Crossings into Gaza have been closed affecting water supplies. Hundreds of buildings and roads have been damaged, closed or rendered uninhabitable. Airstrikes have damaged several hospitals which were already short of supplies after years of military enclosure and exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.’
He added: ‘I urge the Israeli authorities to abide by the international laws governing armed conflict, including the proportionate use of force and I call on them to exercise maximum restraint in the conduct of military operations.’
He concluded: ‘Above all what we must achieve is an immediate ceasefire.’