The Ministers of the Committee on Palestine of the Non-Aligned Movement met in Tehran on 4th August 2014 to address the crisis situation being faced by the Palestinian people, particularly the brutal military aggression committed by Israel in July and August 2014 against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip,which resulted in the killing of more than 1857 Palestinians including hundreds of children and women, and the injury of more than 8500 Palestinians and the wanton destruction of thousands of Palestinian homes, business properties, vital civilian infrastructure; mosques, schools, hospitals, public institutions, farms, and several UN facilities. In this regard the Ministers paid tribute and expressed their support to the heroic steadfastness and unity of the Palestinian people in the face of this brutal aggression.
The Ministers expressed their appreciation to the people and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for their warm hospitality and timely action in convening the NAM Committee on Palestine. They also commended H.E Dr. Hassan Rohani, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran for his important statement delivered at the meeting.
The Ministers strongly condemned the lethal, indiscriminate and excessive use of force by Israel, the Occupying Power, against Palestinian civilians and vital civilian infrastructure, including water and sanitation networks, electrical power plants and numerous hospitals and medical centers, as well as against humanitarian and emergency personnel and journalists. They deplored the relentless military assaults carried out deliberately and wantonly by the Israeli occupying forces, which have led to the killing and injury of of thousands of defenseless Palestinians, a great majority of them being children and women, in blatant and systematic violation of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights laws.
The Ministers demanded the immediate and unconditional cessation of this Israeli military aggression against and collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza as well as throughout the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. They called for exertion of serious, collective efforts to ensure an immediate ceasefire, based on the Egyptian initiative on the basis of November 2012 ceasefire in close coordination with the State of Palestine.
The Ministers fully endorsed the unified legitimate demands of the delegation of the State of Palestine and in this context demanded also the immediate and full lifting of the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, which constitutes the massive collective punishment of its inhabitants in grave contravention of international humanitarian and human rights laws and has led to acute shortages of basic necessities and dire humanitarian and healthcare situation in Gaza. They stressed the Israeli responsibility as the occupying power, and therefore the urgency of efforts to immediately and unconditionally open all boarder crossing points into and from Gaza with a view to allowing the entry of emergency humanitarian assistance and the access of medical and relief workers to those in need. They further stressed the need for an end to all illegal Israeli policies and practices that deprive the Palestinian people of their land, properties and natural resources and have caused widespread distress and deteriorating socio-economic conditions.
The Ministers requested all members of the international community, the United Nations and other international organizations to help provide the victims of the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip with humanitarian assistance on an urgent basis. They recognized the vital role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Gaza, including in addressing emergency needs during this period of crisis and urged the international community to provide the necessary support to the Agency as well as other United Nations agencies delivering humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people at this time of need, including the more than 180,000 Palestinians displaced in the recent period.
The Ministers called upon the UN Security Council to uphold its Charter duties and live up to the expectation of the international community to act forthwith to address this crisis situation in Occupied Palestine, which clearly constitutes a threat to regional and international peace and security. They called on the Security Council to adopt measures to compel Israel, the occupying power, to cease its military aggression against the Palestinian people and to comply forthwith with all of its obligations under international law, particularly the 4th Geneva Convention and the relevant United Nations resolutions. They stressed the urgency of serious and credible action by the Security Council towards bringing an end to the impunity Israel has unduly enjoyed, stressing the need to act collectively to hold it accountable for all its breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights violations.
The Ministers expressed support to the Algerian initiative to convene an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly to address the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and mobilize the international community in this regard.
The Ministers requested the International Criminal Court to uphold its mandate to address the war crimes and crimes against humanity that are being committed against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. They emphasized the centrality of justice in bringing an end to such crimes and impunity.
The Ministers expressed their support to the Lebanese initiatives to communicate information to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and demanded that NAM countries parties to the Rome Statute seize the jurisdiction of the Court on war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Palestinian people.
The Ministers also expressed grave concern over the plight of more than 6,000 Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including administrative detainees, held captive by Israel, the Occupying Power. They condemned the abuse and physical and psychological mistreatment, including torture, of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including children, women and elected officials, among them members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, including more than 800 people detained since 13 June 2014 and demanded their immediate and unconditional release.
The Ministers further condemned the continuing colonization of Palestinian land, by Israel the occupying power. They demanded an end to the confiscation of Palestinian property and the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements and the Wall, in grave breach of international humanitarian law and flagrant disrespect of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice. They also expressed grave concern over the frequent acts of violence, terror and incitement against Palestinian civilians and the destruction of the Palestinian properties by Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and called for action to hold the perpetrators accountable for these crimes. They expressed deep concern also in this regard about the provocation and incitement by Jewish extremists against Muslim and Christian holy sites especially in Occupied East Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and warned of the dangerous consequences of such continued provocations and aggressions.
The Ministers welcomed the decision by the UN Human Rights Council to launch an official international independent inquiry into all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law resulting from the recent Israeli military aggression against the besieged Gaza Strip. They stressed the need to fully investigate all violations by Israel, the occupying power, of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, towards establishing accountability and justice for the victims of these crimes.
The Ministers also supported the request by the State of Palestine for the rapid convening of a Conference of High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention to examine measures, in accordance with Common Article 1, to ensure respect and enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. They called on Switzerland, in its capacity as Depository, to undertake the necessary efforts for the timely convening of such an important Conference, with a view to addressing the grave breaches of international human rights law being perpetuated by Israel, the occupying power, and to ensuring protection to the Palestinian people. Further in this regard, the Ministers supported the call by President Abbas to the Secretary General Ban Ki- Moon for the United Nations to take all effective measures at its disposal to ensure the protection of the Palestinian civilian population under Israel’s occupation.
The Ministers stressed the need to continue meeting and consulting within the NAM Committee on Palestine, as well as within the larger Coordinating Bureau of the Movement, with a view, inter Alia, to drafting a plan of action for the NAM in order to follow up on all of these critical issues at the United Nations and in all other appropriate political, legal and judicial forums. They underscored in this regard the need to compel the necessary international action to resolve the root causes of the conflict and address the question of Palestine in all its aspects according to international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions. They also called for continued efforts in support of the achievement of the full recognition and membership of the State of Palestine at the United Nations.
The Ministers welcomed all initiatives undertaken by several countries to boycott Israeli products and withdraw their ambassadors from Israel, including by many Latin American countries, and encouraged all other member states of NAM to do so.
The Ministers reaffirmed their unwavering support for the just cause of Palestine and solidarity with the Palestinian people. They reaffirmed their principled and longstanding support for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the achievement of their legitimate national aspirations, including for freedom, independence, justice, peace and dignity in their homeland.
*(Algeria, Bangladesh, Cuba, Columbia, Egypt, India, Senegal, South Africa,Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Indonesia