State of Palestine | UN address | Geneva | 17th November, 2023
Transcript (AI) – links added
Thank you, Mr. Chair. Given that a number of states have spoken about Palestine directly, we have prepared three replies, which we will read one after the other, and we kindly ask for your indulgence in that regard. We will first respond to Israel’s statement. Mr. Chair, at the outset, let us remind Israel that our name is not the Palestinian Authority, but the State of Palestine.
Sure, your finance minister said at an event in Paris earlier this year, there is no such thing as a Palestinian people. And your prime minister on the 24th of September held up a map at the General Assembly entitled the New Middle East, in which Palestine was deleted and replaced entirely with Israel. But if your government is annexationist and racist, this body is not, and we ask you to kindly adhere to UN protocol and nomenclature, and to show respect to all stakeholders in this room.
Let us also remind the Israeli delegate that the lack of rules of procedure for this meeting does not give carte blanche to lose all sense of decorum when speaking to interlocutors in this room. To the other states and civil society in the room, let me simplify Israel’s statement for you. Other than throwing insults around and making grave, baseless accusations, Israel said something that should make all of you shudder. It effectively said, I can kill any and every person in Gaza.
The 2.3 million people in Gaza are either terrorists or terrorist sympathizers or human shields and are therefore legitimate targets. Every person, according to Israel, falls into one of these three categories. A child, a journalist, a doctor, a UN staff, a newborn baby in an incubator.
And so, according to Israel, it can kill them and then have the audacity to come to this room and tell the world with a straight face, we are acting in accordance with international law. The death of each of the over 11,350 people killed over the past month, be it children, journalists, UN staff, the sick, the elderly, according to Israel, was justified.
Think about that for a moment and let it give you pause. Anyone espousing this warped logic has no shred of humanity, no sense of morality, and no knowledge of legality. But guess what? Your carpet explanation for carpet bombing will not fly. People are not fools.
The people in this room are seasoned diplomats who are well-read, have a knowledge of history, and many of whom have seen your government make the same arguments during previous military aggressions on Gaza in the past 15 years. They have seen you resort to collective punishment, targeting of Palestinian children, journalists, medical staff, aid workers, before.
They have seen you forcibly transfer our communities, colonize our lands, demolish our homes, and evict families from their own properties since the 7th of October and for the 75 years that preceded it.
They have seen your state-sponsored disinformation campaign before.
Again, not fools, don’t insult our intelligence.
By saying that it is acting in accordance with international law, Israel is effectively saying the UN Secretary General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the WHO, UNICEF, OCHA, UN Special Rapporteurs, the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the situation, human rights organizations worldwide, disarmament NGOs worldwide, humanitarian NGOs worldwide, countless legal experts are all wrong. worldwide, countless legal experts are all wrong.
Everyone is lying about Israel violating international law, and we are asked instead to believe Israel, the state that is actually doing the indiscriminate killing.
It is interesting that by saying, even wars have rules, Israel quoted the very same UN Secretary General whose resignation it has called for because he dared to say that Israel has a history of occupying Palestinian land.
The dissonance of hearing the Israeli representative talk about wars having rules as it commits genocide and breaches every rule in the book, live on our TV screens, is quite something.
To Israel we say, we see through your PR and disinformation. The whole world sees through your PR and disinformation. The millions of people filling the streets in every major capital of the world, calling you out for genocide, sees through your PR and disinformation.
Perhaps you think that with your incendiary rhetoric we will all forget the incitement, the declarations and acts of Israeli officials, the people you represent, to wipe out Gaza, to drop a nuclear bomb on the Palestinian people, to destroy the “human animals” and “children of darkness”.
Perhaps you think that your constant intimidation and threatening language will make everyone overlook the fact that Israel is, as we speak, killing babies, youth, women, men, elderly, no one too small or too old or too sick to be spared its wrath.
Perhaps you think that by cutting off telecommunications and imposing yet another blackout on Gaza. You can continue to commit genocide while avoiding the annoyance of people being able to use their phones and computers to report on it.
Perhaps you think that as your trigger-happy soldiers continue to kill journalists 41 so far, the highest number of journalists killed over a four-week period than in any conflict in the last three decades, you think that no one will be left to expose your crimes.
Perhaps you think that by trying to silence anyone who tries to speak about your crimes, the international law violations of a state, by calling them either anti-Semites or terror supporters, people will be silent.
And your intimidation campaign knows no bounds. They attack Palestinians, Jews, Israelis, UN officials, politicians, parliamentarians, university professors and anyone worldwide who calls you out for your violations of international law.
But guess what? Your intimidation and silencing will not work. We, along with all peace-loving nations and along with all people of conscience around the world, will not be silent. We will continue to call you out on your crimes, to call for accountability for your violations, for sanctions as your government continues to reject calls for a ceasefire, to massacre our people, and to entrench your colonial occupation and apartheid regime.
Something your country should have learned over the past 75 years is that the Palestinian people are a people who refuse to disappear, and your nuclear threats and your bombs and your tanks and your bulldozers will never break the Palestinian people’s will to be free and to live in the dignity and peace to which all people are entitled.
Unlike you, we have consistently stood in this forum calling for respect for international law, for ethical principles to guide state behavior, for peace over war, for humanity over national interests, for disarmament over destruction.
Once again, we stand in this forum to call on all states to respect and ensure respect for international law. Let the law be the measure by which all are judged, not propaganda and hateful, biased spins steeped in racism.
And to Israel’s absurd assertion that Palestinians have a problem with people of Jewish faith and give the impression that this is a religious conflict, let us say it loud and clear, this is not and has never been about religion.
Had the occupiers of our lands or the violators of our rights been Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist or of any other conviction, we would have called them out all the same.
Palestine has always been multiracial, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious.
People of Jewish faith have lived in historic Palestine as Palestinians for centuries. We consider them to be our brothers and sisters.
And since the memory of the Holocaust has been invoked, let us also say loud and clear, we have the greatest of solidarity with both the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. It was not Palestinians that committed that horrific genocide, but the fascist forces that spawned from Europe.
And it is unconscionable that a number of European leaders are again beating the drum as another genocide is now underway in Gaza.
We are united with those hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world, including from organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, IFNOTNOW, Na’amod UK, who are calling out this genocide and chanting in the streets of New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Sydney, Toronto, and all major Western cities so that their governments can hear, “Not in our name, end the genocide in Gaza”.
With them, we stand together to end this pain and suffering.
Together, we will not allow this to happen.
Never again is now.
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