The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People joined the European Parliament in calling on the Israeli Government to immediately stop the military operations . . .
The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People joined the European Parliament in calling on the Israeli Government to immediately stop the military operations against the Palestinian people, Paul Badji (Senegal), its Chairman, said as the United Nations International Conference of Civil Society in Support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace concluded this afternoon.
In his closing statement, he also called for the removal of the roadblocks installed since September 2000, an end to the extension of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to the building of the wall beyond the 1967 borders, the immediate release of all imprisoned former Palestinian Ministers, legislators, mayors and many others, including minors, and the release of the withheld Palestinian tax and customs revenues.
He said the Committee also joined the European Parliament in condemning the killing of innocent civilians by either side and in denouncing rocket attacks against Israel, and called for a cessation of those activities by Palestinian armed groups. The Conference had highlighted the fact that the occupying Power continued to disrespect its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention. That had serious implications for the whole international community, far beyond the context of the conflict, by eroding the credibility of the international legal system. Europe, the main contributor to the framing of the Geneva Conventions, should take the lead in ensuring respect for the Conventions and thus preserving a central instrument of the international order.
The Committee attached great importance to the role of civil society organizations in demanding that the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention act against violations of it, he said. The Committee called on those organizations to increase their efforts to bring to the forefront of public attention the reality of the prolonged occupation of Palestinian land and the anachronism of the status quo on the ground. It also called on parliamentarians to mobilize their constituencies and fellow parliamentarians with a view to impress on them the need for concerted action by their respective executive bodies to uphold international law.
Also addressing the closing session, Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, said the brave Palestinian people who had survived almost 60 years after the Nakba and 40 years of occupation were still resisting in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Conference participants who had gathered to express their solidarity would support the brave Palestinians, enabling them to continue with their resistance.
He said the convening of the Conference had two objectives: to stress the importance of Europe, not only because of its weight, but also its genuine friendship with the Palestinian people; and because Palestinians wanted parliamentarians to work in support of their cause.
The notion that international actors had failed was wrong, he said. The struggle was an ongoing process in which all had a role to play, especially Government representatives at the United Nations. Common failures would be suffered together and common successes enjoyed together. The Palestinian people were a very mature population and deserved to have their wishes respected. It was they who had made a decision to resist the occupation and their decision must be respected.
The Conference also heard closing remarks by Luisa Morgantini, Vice-President of the European Parliament, who said it was a sign of weakness that a conference on international legality had undergone such pressure against convening the event. That meant that the international community and the European Union were not implementing international legality. They must not only speak about human rights, but also implement them. There was a need to work together towards a solution in Gaza, where Israel’s policy of closures had been condemned for so long to no avail.
Earlier, the Conference held its second plenary session during which it heard presentations by various civil society activists and academics. It also heard reports on the outcome of discussions at the five workshops held during the course of the two-day conference.