Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki on Tuesday called on the international community to disallow Israeli settlers to enter their countries and to boycott products from Judea and Samaria.
“They must not deal directly or indirectly with the occupation system, in addition to not allowing the entry of illegal settlers into their country,” he said.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, slammed Maliki’s call as “pure anti-Semitism,” comparing it to the “labeling of Jews during the darkest periods in the history of humanity.
“The countries of the world must denounce the Palestinian Authority foreign minister and send a clear and sharp message against anti-Semitism,” he said.
Maliki spoke to the UNHRC during the opening of the high level segment of the 31st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
It marks the first time that he or any other prominent Palestinian official had delivered a speech under the high level segment of the meeting.
The UN General Assembly in 2012 recognized Palestine as a non-member state and, as such, has granted its top officials the same speaking rights as member states.
Last year the UNHRC held a special session to allow PA President Mahmoud Abbas to address the UNHRC in Geneva.
This past Wednesday Maliki urged the international community to help push Israel to withdraw to pre- 1967 lines and to end its military rule of the West Bank.
Israel’s continued settlement activity over the Green Line undermines international law and is a “crime of war,” Maliki said.
“I call on all the countries to boycott settlements and to boycott the products of settlements and to warn of the possibility of imposing economic and commercial sanctions on the occupying power in accordance with the guidelines on businesses and human rights,” he said.
The UN Security Council in New York must pass a resolution against the settlements based on international consensus with regard to their “illegal nature,” he said, adding, “This will contribute to the success of the French efforts to hold a peace conference very soon.”
He stated that the UNHRC’s role is more important than ever in a time when the voices of extremists and murderers are louder than the voice of human rights.
“When we can hear the sound of bullets and crimes perpetrated by ISIS [Islamic State]; and we can hear the sounds of bulldozers and the Israeli occupation while establishing illegal colonies and settlements; and we can not hear the voices of those defending peace and human rights, then we must stop and ask: Where are human rights going?” he said.
Palestinians have abided by human rights conventions, but they continue to suffer at Israel’s hands, he said.
He urged UNHRC member states to support Agenda Item 7 that mandates that Israeli violations of human rights against the Palestinians be addressed at each UNHRC session three times a year.
Israel’s alleged human rights violations are addressed under a separate agenda item.
Human rights abuses by all other countries, including Iran and Syria, are addressed under Agenda Item 4.
To protest Agenda Item 7, Western countries have begun addressing their concerns with regard to Israeli behavior in the West Bank and Gaza under Agenda Item 4.
“Until the end of occupation, I call on states to discuss the situation of human rights in Palestine under [Agenda Item 7] and not to allow attempts to undermine this item on the agenda,” Maliki said. “The people of Palestine face systematic terrorism by Israel, the occupying power and security forces that are exercising extrajudicial killings and field executions of unarmed Palestinian civilians.”
During his 11-minute speech, he didn’t reference the knife, shooting and vehicular terrorist attacks by Palestinians against Israelis, in which 33 people have been killed since mid-September.
At least 112 of those Palestinian assailants were killed by the IDF during the attacks.
When describing the “last popular wave,” he said that “over 180 Palestinians have died, 46 percent of them are children.”
Israel is demolishing Palestinian homes, has exiled and arbitrarily arrested others and has refused to “return the corpses of the martyrs.”
It has acted aggressively in Hebron and east Jerusalem, particularly in and around the Aksa Mosque, he said.
“The Israeli forces and the extremist militias and settlers have started a wave of violence and hatred against the Palestinian people,” he said.
He charged that Israel had changed history and facts, plundered natural resources and promoted racism, segregation and discrimination.
The impunity with which Israel continues to violate Palestinian human rights undermines the credibility of the UN and the human rights system as a whole, Maliki said.
The Palestinians, he added, were committed to a two-state resolution to the conflict, achieved through international efforts.
East Jerusalem would be their capital and there would be a just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN Resolution 194, he said.
“The aspiration of our people is to live in freedom, peace and security away from occupation,” he added.
A government official said in response that, considering the standards of human rights in Gaza and the West Bank, where in both cases the government has a policy of governing their own people without basic freedoms demanded by human rights, it takes a great deal of “chutzpah” for the Palestinians to blast Israel.
He played down the significance of the PA foreign minister using the platform of the high level segments of the UNHRC to slam Israel.
“How can things at the UNHRC get worse,” the official said, adding sarcastically that the body has not up until now been a particularly balanced forum.
He pointed out that even before the PA’s new standing at the UNHRC, the forum passed 60% more resolutions against Israel than all other countries put together.
“That this council will adopt biased resolutions against Israel is par for the course,” he said. “We would hope that more and more countries would stand up against the Palestinian’s cynical exploitation of human rights” for their own purposes.
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin