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Abbas speech at UN Human Rights Council, October 2015‎

"Addressing the United Nations Human Rights ‎Council, President Mahmoud Abbas Wedesnday said it is about time for Israel’s ‎leaders to have the courage to make the right decisions before it is too late to make the ‎two-state solution a reality.‎

Abbas opened up his speech by saying what they have warned against has ‎happened.‎

He said the current human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian Territories, ‎including East Jerusalem, is the worst and most critical since 1948.‎

During his address, Abbas encouraged UN specialized agencies, members’ states and ‎the UN Security Council, more than ever before, to set up a special procedure for the ‎protection of the Palestinian people in an urgent and immediate fashion.‎

Abbas wondered whether the time has come for the international community to ‎translate its remarks about achieving justice for the Palestinian cause into practical ‎steps that would help achieve peace.‎

The president explained that the current Palestinian uprising is just an inevitable result ‎of Israel’s violations and crimes, which he has repeatedly warned against along ‎with the international community’s failure to end the suffering and injustice inflicted ‎upon the Palestinian people, especially youth.‎

‎'Haven't you wondered; for how long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land ‎last? For how long will our people remain dispossessed of the full and undiminished ‎enjoyment of their rights as protected by international legitimacy, most notably their ‎fundamental right to life and self-determination, and their right to build their ‎independent and sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital as and to live as ‎human beings in accordance with the provisions of international conventions and ‎treaties. Is that too much to ask?'

Abbas welcomed international efforts intended to expand the scope of international ‎stakeholders’ participation to achieve peace, calling for a UN Security Council ‎resolution that would outline clear terms of reference for peacemaking based on the ‎two-state solution along 1967 borders.‎

He noted that such a resolution would be announced in an international peace ‎conference. Meanwhile, Israel, added Abbas, should release the fourth batch of ‎Palestinian detainees.‎
The speech came a day after Abbas met the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights ‎Zeid Ra‘ad Al Hussein in Geneva.‎

Abbas and Al Hussein discussed the latest critical developments in the Palestinian ‎territories, especially the suffering of the Palestinian people as a result of Israeli attacks ‎and violations of fundamental norms of the international law.‎

Abbas was accompanied in his meeting with PLO Chief Secretary-General Saeb ‎Erekat, Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki, Presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu ‎Rudenieh, Presidential Advisor for diplomatic Affairs Majdi al-Khaldi and Head of the ‎PLO Mission to Geneva Ibrahim Khraisha.‎

He arrived in Geneva Tuesday evening from Brussels, seeking to brief the UN Human ‎Rights Council on the Israeli violations against the Palestinian people as well as ‎Islamic and Christian holy places.‎

Speaking to Mawtini local radio station on the purpose of Abbas’ visit, al-Malki said ‎Abbas would underscore the importance of providing international protection to the ‎Palestinian people.‎

Al-Malki said Abbas is slated to meet Prosecutor General of the International Criminal ‎Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda at the end of this month and hand her two portfolios ‎about the Israeli extrajudicial killings of Palestinians.‎"

The full text of Abbas' speech:‎
‎ ‎
"President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas address to the United Nations ‎Human Rights Council
Your Excellency the President of the Human Rights Council,‎
The Honorable High Commissioner for Human Rights,‎
Distinguished members of the Human Rights Council,‎
Ladies and gentlemen, representatives of civil society organizations,‎
‎ ‎
What we warned of has happened. The status of human rights in the occupied ‎Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, as a result of the continued Israeli ‎occupation and its practices, is the worst and most critical since year 1948. This calls ‎for a strong and decisive intervention and requires shouldering the responsibility, ‎before it is too late, by the United Nations, its specialized international agencies and ‎bodies, and its member states, most particularly the Security Council which is ‎requested, more urgently than any time before, to set up a special regime for ‎international protection for the Palestinian people, immediately and urgently.‎

Here we would like to stress that peace, security and stability will not be achieved ‎unless the Israeli occupation is ended and the independence of the state of Palestine ‎is obtained, with East Jerusalem as its capital, along the June 4th, 1967 borders, and in ‎accordance with the international legitimacy resolutions, not by using wanton force, ‎colonial settlement, collective punishment, house demolitions, field executions, denial ‎of the other, and affronting the dignity of our people as well as propagating poisonous ‎hatred and enmity against them.‎

I have repeatedly warned over the past years of the consequences of what has been ‎happening in Jerusalem and its surroundings, which includes tightening the noose ‎around the necks of the population, and violation of civil, political, economic, social ‎and cultural rights, in addition to the measures undertaken by the successive Israeli ‎governments, especially after year 2000, to systematically remold the identity of ‎Jerusalem and its historical and demographic character, including increased ‎settlement construction, illegal excavations under Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City, ‎setting up walls to alienate Palestinian neighborhoods, closing its national institutions ‎and tightening the noose around the necks of the population by different means to ‎drive them out of the holy city.‎

I have noted over and over again that pressure will generate an explosion, and that the ‎violations committed by settlers and extremist, protected by the Israeli occupation ‎forces, against our Christian and Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, namely the plans that ‎endanger Al-Aqsa Mosque, in order to alter the pre-1967 status quo and beyond, the ‎thing which will turn the political conflict into a religious one that will have grave ‎consequences on all of us, and we will never accept nor acknowledge that.‎

Here we come today to your esteemed council, to reiterate the importance of its role ‎and resolutions on how necessary it is for Israel, the occupying power, to respect ‎international law; the international human rights law and the international ‎humanitarian law.‎

In this respect, we reaffirm the importance of implementing the declaration released by ‎the International Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva ‎Convention on the full and unconditional applicability of the Fourth Geneva ‎Convention in the occupied state of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, which also ‎provided that it countries are required, individually and collectively, to meet their ‎responsibilities in respecting and implementing this deceleration forthwith.‎

Israel breaches, systematically and regularly, the rules and principle of international ‎law and the international humanitarian law. It acts as a state above the law; ‎undeterred, unpunished and unaccountable. On one hand it transfers part of its ‎citizens to take over the land of the Palestinian people, as part of a colonial settlement ‎plan, looting its natural resources and building roads, walls and transportation systems ‎with a goal to present a new fait accompli to be embedded into a new racial-‎discrimination-based regime of their own.‎

Furthermore, it allows those settlers, protected by its military forces, to assault and ‎commit crimes against Palestinian civilians, vandalize their property and places of ‎worship, and defile their holy sites in Palestinian cities and villages. They have even ‎formed armed terrorist gangs known with names such as 'the price tag' and others. ‎Those have committed killings and arson attacks, the latest of which was burning to ‎death the Dawabsheh family, and Mohammed Abu Khdeir, where the terrorist ‎perpetrators are still at large and unpunished.‎

Ladies and gentlemen,‎

Long-lasting hopelessness, depression, throttling and pressure, as well as lack of a ‎sense of safety and security under which our people has been living for a long time ‎now, are all factors that breed frustration amongst our youth and propels them into the ‎state we witness today: despair, rebellion against reality and revolt for the sake of their ‎dignity, homeland, people and holy sites which have been desecrated every other ‎second again and again for seven decades now, under an occupation that does not ‎quit killing, torturing, looting and imprisoning our sons, daughters and grandchildren.‎

Our people's angry upheaval and the recent successive series of events are the ‎inevitable outcome of what we had previously warned of, including the violations and ‎crimes we previously reported, as well as failure of the international community to ‎redress this injustice and distress suffered by our people, most particularly our youth.‎

As part of Israel's persistence to act as a state above international law, its occupation ‎force has recently stepped up its criminal practices to the point where it performed field ‎executions against defenseless Palestinian civilians, including children, and it has ‎persisted to terrorize our citizens by applying an approach of collective punishment, ‎including house demolitions, forced displacement, blockading entire neighborhoods ‎and arbitrary arrests, in addition to putting behind Israeli bars over six-thousand ‎Palestinian prisoners. It is unacceptable for the current situation to persist, for it would ‎kill the last shred of hope for the two-state-solution-based peace.‎

Mr. President,‎
Ladies and gentlemen,‎

Haven't you wondered; for how long will this protracted Israeli occupation of our land ‎last? For how long will our people remain dispossessed of the full and undiminished ‎enjoyment of their rights as protected by international legitimacy, most notably their ‎fundamental right to life and self-determination, and their right to build their ‎independent and sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital as and to live as ‎human beings in accordance with the provisions of international conventions and ‎treaties. Is that too much to ask?‎

Isn't it time for the international community to take a further step from merely extolling ‎the justice of the Palestinian cause to taking practical measures and procedures which ‎would actually serve such justice to my Palestinian people and establish peace and ‎security as a tangible reality?‎

Mr. President,‎
Ladies and gentlemen,‎

I come to you from Palestine, the land of prophets and religions, carrying the message ‎of a people who has been eager for freedom and independence; I come to you relaying ‎a message of hope and tolerance sent across to you by my people who aspire to ‎achieve their rights and have justice brought to them, and obtaining their freedom and ‎independence, while extending, on their and their leadership's behalf, the sincerest ‎regards and appreciation to your esteemed Council, and highly valuing the efforts ‎undertaken by you to protect and uphold human rights and freedoms in the State of ‎Palestine and the entire world.‎

It is noteworthy to commend, in this respect, your valuable and objective positions and ‎efforts intended to enable our people to enjoy their freedom and right to self-‎determination and protection of their fundamental human rights, as reflected in many ‎of your resolutions. I would like also to express our sincere gratitude for your honorable ‎Council, for adopting important resolutions, in its regular and special sessions, which ‎unveil the critical human rights conditions lived in the occupied state of Palestine and ‎the suffering of our people resultant from the Israeli occupation and its atrocities and ‎aggressive practices.‎

Mr. President,‎
Ladies and gentlemen,‎

I would like to underline the principal role assumed by the High Commissioner for ‎Human Rights and special rapporteurs, as well as the work done by the independent ‎international fact-finding missions set up by the Human Rights Council to look into ‎human rights violations, and advise on acts that qualify as war crimes and crimes ‎against humanity. Such missions include the fact-finding missions, established by the ‎Council in its special sessions, in relation to the human rights situation in the occupied ‎state of Palestine, with which Israel unfortunately refused to cooperate. Thanks to the ‎efforts made by the sisterly countries of Egypt and Jordan, those missions were able to ‎perform some of their duties and submit their reports which were considered and ‎handled by the Council in a manner that established the measures of responsibility ‎and accountability in a pursuit to serve justice.‎
I would like to invite all the special rapporteurs once again to come to Palestine and ‎see the situation for themselves.‎

Mr. President,‎
Ladies and gentlemen,‎

Continued and aggravated Israeli attacks against our people shows that it is strictly ‎necessary to maintain the seventh item titled as 'The human rights status in Palestine ‎and other occupied Arab territories' as a regular item on your Council's agenda until ‎such time the occupation comes to an end. Here I would like to urgently call for a ‎review, by the Council, of the reports and resolutions relevant to Palestine in order to ‎assess the progress made in implementing the recommendations thereof, and make ‎practical suggestions conducive to bringing the suffering of the Palestinian people to ‎an end, and guaranteeing their full enjoyment of their rights, since international law ‎was created to be enforced, not negotiated upon. Therefore, the entire international ‎community must act to ensure that international law is objectively respected, and must ‎relinquish selectivity and double-standards.‎

Mr. President,‎
Ladies and gentlemen,‎

Despite all the obstacles laid by the occupation, we will press on with building the ‎institutions of our state in accordance with international standards, and we will ‎continue to enforce the rule of law, invoke democracy and transparency, protect ‎women rights, promote equality amongst all members of society without racial or ‎religious discrimination, promulgate a culture of peace, tolerance and dialogue, and ‎abide by the approach of peaceful popular resistance. In practice, we have had already ‎made substantial progress, as vouched for by several international actors, and we will ‎proceed with our efforts and endeavors, supported by our brethren and friends, to ‎make that state a concrete reality.‎

In this respect, we will continue to join international organizations and conventions, in ‎order to safeguard our rights and protect our people, we will also continue to ‎harmonize our domestic laws and regulations with international practices and ‎standards. We will proceed to protecting our people who are living under occupation by ‎using all peaceful and legal means, including continuing to work with the International ‎Criminal Court concerning Israeli crimes, including field executions and violations of ‎the rights of our youth and children. We will also act with the required patience, ‎wisdom and courage necessary to protect our people and maintain our political and ‎national achievements; attained following decades of struggle, perseverance and ‎sacrifices offered by our people.‎

We reaffirm the unity of our land and people, and reiterate our rejection of any interim ‎or partial solutions. We also seek to form a national unity government that operates in ‎line with the Palestine Liberation Organization program, conduct elections and ‎convene the Palestinian National Council.‎

From here I once again call upon our Palestinian people wherever they are, to further ‎unite, stick together and be vigilant against the schemes designed to forestall our ‎national enterprise and our hard work in building and development, while stressing ‎that we will not spare any effort to defend, protect and enable our people to live in ‎freedom, security and wellbeing in their homeland.‎

Mr. President,‎
Ladies and gentlemen,‎

We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the 137 states which recognized ‎Palestine, and we also thank the parliaments which recommended their governments ‎to do so. In this context, we hereby invite the countries that have not yet recognized ‎Palestine to do so. Those who say that they support the two-state solution must ‎recognize two states, not only one.‎

We also welcome international, European and Arab efforts which call for expanding ‎international participation to achieve peace, including having the Security Council ‎issue a resolution that includes clear standards for achieving peace based on the two-‎state solution along the 1967 lines, and set a timeline to end the occupation with ‎international supervision, and launch that it in an international peace conference. In ‎the meanwhile, Israel would release the fourth tranche of prisoners and halt all of its ‎settlement activities so that the State of Palestine can live side by side with the State of ‎Israel.‎

It is no longer useful to waste time in negotiations just for the sake of negotiations, ‎what is required is the ending of occupation in accordance with the international ‎legitimacy resolutions. Until such time, we reiterate that the UN Security council is ‎required to establish a special regime of international protection for our Palestinian ‎people.‎

Mr. President,‎
Ladies and gentlemen,‎

Israel shattering the foundations upon which the political, economic and security ‎agreements with us were built, in addition to the measures undertaken by the ‎successive Israeli governments which led to the obstruction of the transitional phase ‎which is meant to realize the independence of our state, prompts us to reassert our ‎position which was proclaimed on the 30th of last month in New York, that we cannot ‎continue to be bound, unilaterally, by the agreements signed with Israel while it fails to ‎show commitment thereto. Israel must bear all of its responsibilities as an occupying ‎power, because the status quo cannot continue, and we continue to stress that we will ‎start the implementation of this declaration by all peaceful and legal means.‎

Mr. President,‎
Ladies and gentlemen,‎

Our Palestinian people seek to obtain their freedom and independence on their ‎homeland and in their own state based on the 1967 borders, alongside the state of ‎Israel, where the two states will live in peace, security and good neighborhood, with full ‎respect to the UN charter, and in keeping with international resolutions, in addition to ‎solving the Palestinian refugees problem in accordance with resolution 194 and the ‎Arab Peace Initiative, as well as releasing all prisoners.‎

In these critical and defining moments, I extend an honest invitation to the members of ‎the Israeli people, and invite them for a right and justice-based peace that guarantees ‎security and stability for all, while reasserting from this humanitarian and foremost ‎forum, that our hands remain outstretched for a just peace that will guarantee my ‎people's rights, freedoms and humanitarian dignity. One again I would like to say to the ‎intellectuals, opinionists and politicians of the Israeli society that peace is affordable ‎and within reach, and the answer is simple; your state must end its occupation of our ‎land, your oppressive war machine must stop its aggression our people, settlement ‎activities must be ceased and the criminal acts of settlers must be stopped, thereby all ‎of us will be able to enjoy peace, security and stability.‎

There is nothing worse than despair and hopelessness and distrust in the present and ‎the future. Our young men and women, O neighbors, aspire to live in an atmosphere of ‎freedom and dignity in order to be able to build their future and life in a safe and ‎favorable environment. There are just like your children: they have the same dreams ‎and ambitions and dream of a safer and more stable tomorrow. Your occupation of our ‎land is the ultimate form of injustice, and is the root cause of all the tragedies our ‎people have long suffered from, and it is the reason that keeps our region and its ‎peoples spiraling in a cycle of violence. We do not want violence, yet the continuation ‎of occupation would expand the scope of violence, chaos, extremism and bloodshed.‎

I'm not overreacting when I say; it is about time that your leaders had the courage to ‎make rightful and honest decisions before it is too late, to make the two-state solution a ‎concrete reality, because this might be the last convenient chance for this solution, for ‎no one knows, later on, what the winds of change, sweeping across the region, are ‎carrying along. Security cannot be realized through occupation and military and ‎discriminatory force. It is only achieved by recognition of the rights of the other.‎

We say to the international community and powerful actors: Isn't it enough, ladies and ‎gentlemen, [for a people to endure] seventy years of suffering, injustice, oppression ‎and deprivation, and perpetuation of the longest occupation known to mankind in ‎modern history, under a biased system that discriminates between this blood and that ‎blood, this color and that color; this nation and that nation this one is valuable and that ‎one is worthless?‎

It is the duty of everyone of conscience, everyone who believes in right and justice and ‎the dignity of mankind regardless of any considerations, to raise their voice and say out ‎loud: Stop these daily crimes committed against my people, have their rights resorted to ‎them and refrain from leveling your fire against them; let them live their lives and build ‎their future on their homeland Palestine. Should our people not enjoy freedom, dignity ‎and full sovereignty over their national soil, airspace, territorial waters and borders, no ‎one would be able to enjoy peace, security and stability.‎

Our people will not be put down, will not surrender nor succumb. Our mothers raised ‎us from day one to be resilient and protecting our dignity. From our end, we will ‎continue to defend our people and cause with all peaceful, legal and political means.‎

Mr. President,‎
Ladies and gentlemen,‎

We, Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, will not accept that the name of Palestinian ‎leader Haj Amin Al-Husseini be embroiled in a manner that is incompatible with ‎historical facts, and that manipulates the sentiments of the Jewish people who had ‎been victims of the most horrendous crime known in modern history committed by ‎Nazis. We also refuse incitement and misrepresentation of the history and struggle of ‎the Palestinian people to obtain their freedom and independence.‎

When the Israeli Prime Minister attempts to whitewash Adolf Hitler from his heinous ‎crimes against Jews and blame the Palestinians instead, he is trying to justify the ‎crimes committed against the Palestinian people. He prefers to accuse the Palestinians ‎for everything, including the Holocaust. You all know that such claims are nothing but ‎fabrication, lies and deception. ‎

We do not seek anything but to live in pride, honor and glory, like all the peoples of the ‎world. So do not push my people into further despair, be their sisters and brothers in ‎humanity and be supportive of ensuring their rights are respected. In doing so, you ‎serve peace and protect Israel from itself and the arrogance of its force. Alas, how short ‎a human's memory span is, when a victim becomes the abuser!‎

Once again, I greet and thank you. Let justice, peace and harmony prevail in my ‎homeland Palestine.‎"

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