(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Qatar, on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC), stressed the need to compel Israel to respect international law and stop all violations against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, calling for the protection of Palestinian civilians from the violations and atrocities of the Israeli occupation.
This came in a statement delivered by Ahmed bin Saif al-Kuwari, third secretary of Qatar's Delegation to the UN, and co-ordinator on behalf of the OIC's Development Working Group, before the second committee of the UN General Assembly at its 72nd session.
The statement stressed the importance of accountability as a pressing issue just like addressing the humanitarian crisis, explaining that without accountability Israel will escape punishment, encourage corruption against the Palestinian people, and increase the disastrous impact.
He reviewed the report of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) on 'The economic and social impact of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Golan.
He stated that the report emphasized the existence of a systematic pattern of violations of human rights and violations of international law and international humanitarian law resulting from the illegal, repressive and destructive policies and measures still being practised by Israel, the occupying power. He also pointed that the report provides facts supported by figures and statistics that confirm the sever deterioration and the alarming situation on the ground, which led to a human rights crisis among the Palestinian population living under occupation.
In this context, he referred to more measures taken by Israel, which have served to further consolidate occupation for five decades.
The statement reviewed Israeli practices in the occupied territories, represented by the policy of racial discrimination, the excessive use of force and the imposition of further restrictions on freedom of movement, including the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, settlement expansion, destruction of property and exploitation of natural resources.
The statement said that Israel is systematically following a three-stage strategy against the Palestinian people in order to continue its occupation; to displace the population, seize and confiscate land and build settlements and finally suppress any form of resistance to the occupation. The impact of these policies is multi-layered and has accumulated over decades of occupation, reaching unimaginable levels, the statement added.
Ahmed bin Saif al-Kuwari also reviewed the negative economic and social effects of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian people in the occupied territories, pointing out that the social and economic devastation that the occupation has caused for nearly five decades has seriously affected the living conditions of the Palestinian people, compounded the social and economic difficulties and seriously undermined any efforts to achieve sustainable development despite the assistance provided over many years to the Palestinian people by the international community, including United Nations agencies.
He said that despite numerous appeals by the international community to stop illegal policies and measures, and although settlement activity constituted the greatest obstacle to the achievement of a Two-State solution, Israel, the occupying Power, had not only continued but intensified its illegal policy.
He pointed that conservative figures indicate that settlement construction increased by 85% in 2017 compared to 2016, noting that the Israeli government approved more than 56 settlement plans since January 2017, allowing the construction of more than 5,000 settlement units across the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
He also referred to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions that distinguish between the territory of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.
In order to put an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people and to make tangible progress towards peace, security and prosperity, Israel must end its occupation and comply with international law, he said warning that continued occupation would increase suffering and lead to further destabilisation, with far-reaching serious consequences.
He stressed that ending the occupation will enable Palestine to achieve real development, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted unanimously by the international community.
He further added that ensuring the sustainable economic and social conditions of the Palestinian people cannot be achieved under occupation.
The statement called upon all member states, the UN and its specialised agencies and programmes to assist the Palestinian people and to continue their efforts for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, as well as achieving their legitimate national aspirations and to living in justice and dignity in their independent state, with its capital in East Jerusalem.