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Un General Assembly President Calls for BDS against Israeli Apartheid State

(link to video below)-Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockman, President of the UN General Assembly, stressed that Israel is an Apartheid State, and called on the UN and its member states to follow civil society’s lead in implementing Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions on Israel until it complies with international law. What follows is the text of these speeches.


STATEMENT OF H.E. FATHER MIGUEL D’ESCOTO BROCKMANN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINAN PEOPLE


UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK

24 NOVEMBER 2008

Mr. Chairman,

Mr. Secretary-General,

Excellencies,

Brothers and Sisters,

1. It is with mixed emotions that I join you today to observe the
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at this event
organized by the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the
Palestinian People. As you knw, Solidarity is a concept that is central to my
work as the Assembly President. I want to thank the Committee for its
dedicated efforts to rally our solidarity with the Palestinian people,
pursuing the mandate entrusted to it by the General Assembly.

2. Today we recall that, 61 years ago this month, the General Assembly adopted
the historic resolution 181, calling for the creation of a Jewish State and
an Arab State. The State of Israel, founded a year later in 1948, now
celebrates 60 years of its existence. Shamefully, there is still no
Palestinian State to celebrate.

3. As I stated in my first address to the General Assembly last September, I
believe that the failure to create a Palestinian State as promised is the
single greatest failure in the history of the United Nations. It has been 60
years since some 800,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes and
property, becoming refugees and an uprooted and marginalized people.

4. We cannot avoid the bitter irony that next month we mark the 60th
anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
which enshrines the right to self- determination of these very same people.
We are witness to decades of the terrible conditions endured throughout the
Occupied Palestinian Territory, yet the promise – the right — of the
Palestinian people to a homeland remains as elusive as ever.

5. As I speak here today, almost 1.5 millions Palestinians are enduring an
unprecedented

blockade of the Gaza Strip. All border crossings into Gaza are closed,
blocking even the delivery of emergency humanitarian relief supplied by the
United Nations. Lack of fuel is plunging the population into darkness and
cold; basic medicines are running out; malnutrition is chronic and peoples’
coping mechanisms are being exhausted.

6. In solidarity, I urge the international community to raise its voice
against this collective punishment of the people of Gaza. We must call for an
end to this massive abuse of human rights. I call on Israel, the occupying
Power, to allow humanitarian and other supplies to enter the Gaza Strip
without delay.

7. The situation in the West Bank is often overshadowed by the humanitarian
crisis facing Gaza. We cannot overlook, however, the existence of over 600
checkpoints and other obstacles to freedom of movement within the West Bank.
We must denounce the resumption of house demolitions during the cold months
and the unabated settlement expansion that is still being officially
authorized. The unprecedented rise in violent attacks by settlers against the
Palestinian population must also end. Although different, what is being done
against the Palestinian people seems to me to be a version of the hideous
policy of apartheid.

8. This untenable situation highlights the urgent need for the resumption of a
genuine peace process that can yield tangible results in the foreseeable
future. So far the endless

negotiations between two very unequal partners have not borne fruit. What we
need is a renewed sense of solidarity to inspire political will, courage and
a broader perspective of the conflict. This should include the revival of the
Arab Peace Initiative of 2002.

9. The international community should spare no effort in assisting both
Israelis and Palestinians to reach a solution that will fulfill the goal of
two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
The United Nations has an ongoing responsibility to resolve the question of
Palestine in all its aspects and in accordance

with international law. Let us be sure that this not become a permanent
responsibility.

10. The enmity between our Palestinian and Israeli brothers and sisters is a
bitter and self-perpetuating tragedy. We must find new ways to defuse this
enmity, to enable both peoples to reassert their historic bonds of
brotherhood and sisterhood. I urge the international community to defuse the
political deadlock that cynically perpetuates this hatred, isolation and
abuse. Our solidarity must prompt concrete action to realize those elusive
rights that most of us can take for granted.

Thank you.


Click Here to See the Video of this historic session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

 

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STATEMENT OF H.E. FATHER MIGUEL D’ESCOTO BROCKMANN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AT THE 57th PLENARY MEETING ON AGENDA ITEM 16, THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE

UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK

24 NOVEMBER 2008

Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters,

1. I am pleased to open this plenary session in which we take up the Question
of Palestine. This morning, with heavy heart, we observed the International
Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I joined the

Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the
Palestinian People, H.E. Ambassador Paul Badji, and Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon to voice our ongoing concern for the terrible situation in the Gaza
Strip and the West Bank and express our solidarity with this long-suffering
People.

2. We heard the comprehensive report of the Chairman on the current situation
of Palestinians living under occupation. As well, the Secretary- General
summarized the complex initiatives that are being undertaken by the
international community tomove forward peace talks and the establishment of
the Palestinian state.

3. I urged the international community to raise its voice against the
collective punishment of the people of Gaza, a policy which we cannot
tolerate. We demand an end to this massive abuse of human rights and call on
Israel, the occupying Power, to allow humanitarian and other supplies to
enter the Gaza Strip without delay.

4. I spoke this morning about apartheid and how Israeli policies in the
Occupied Palestinian Territories appear so similar to the apartheid of an
earlier era, a continent away.

5. I believe it is very important that we in the United Nations use this term.
We must not be afraid to call something what it is. It is the United Nations,
after all, that passed the International Convention against the Crime of
Apartheid, making clear to all the world that such practices of official
discrimination must be outlawed wherever they occur.

6. We heard today from a representative of South African civil society. We
know that all around the world, civil society organizations are working to
defend Palestinian rights, and are trying to protect the Palestinian
population that we, the United Nations, are failing to protect.

7. More than twenty years ago we in the United Nations took the lead from
civil society when we agreed that sanctions were required to provide a
nonviolent means of pressuring South Africa to end its violations.

8. Today, perhaps we in the United Nations should consider following the lead
of a new generation of civil society, who are calling for a similar
non-violent campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel
to end its violations.

9. I have attended a great many meetings on the rights of the Palestinian
People. I am amazed at how people continue to insist on patience while our
Brothers and Sisters are being crucified.

10. Patience is a virtue in which I believe. But there is nothing virtuous
about being patient with the suffering of others.

11. We must endeavour, with all our heart, to put an end to the suffering of
the Palestinian People.

12. I have great love for the Jewish People and this has been true all my
life. I have never hesitated to condemn the crimes of the holocaust or any of
the many abuses committed against our Jewish Brothers and Sisters.

13. However, their suffering does not give anyone the right to abuse others,
especially those who historically have such deep and exemplary relations with
the Jewish People.

14. Having said this, I would like to remind our Israeli Brothers and Sisters
that even though they have the protective shield of the United States in the
Security Council, no amount of arm twisting and intimidation will change the
Security Council resolution 181, adopted 61 years ago, calling for the
creation of two states.

15. Shamefully, there is no Palestinian state to celebrate today and the
prospects are as distant as ever. All explanations notwithstanding, this
central fact makes a mockery of the United Nations and gravely hurt its image
and prestige. How can we continue like this?

16. I call upon our dear Brothers and Sisters at the decision-making level in
our Host Country to end the policy that only retards justice in the Middle
East.

17. The international community should spare no effort in assisting both
Israelis and Palestinians to reach a solution that will fulfill the goal of
two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
The United Nations has an ongoing responsibility to resolve the question of
Palestine in all its aspects and in accordance with international law. Let us
be sure that this not become a permanent responsibility.

18. The enmity between our Palestinian and Israeli brothers and sisters is a
bitter and self-perpetuating tragedy. We must find new ways to defuse this
enmity, to enable both peoples to reassert their historic bonds of
brotherhood and sisterhood.

19. I urge the international community to defuse the political deadlock that
cynically perpetuates this hatred, isolation and abuse. Our solidarity must
prompt concrete action to realize those elusive rights that most of us can
take for granted.

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