Oral Statement for the Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem 15-16 October 2009

Thank you Mr President,

The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights, the Palestinian National Institution for Human Rights, welcomes and affirms the importance of today’s meeting. This special session gives the international community a crucial opportunity to endorse the recommendations of the Goldstone Report in full, to hold Israel accountable for its actions and to break the culture of impunity which has long denied justice to the victims of its war crimes and grave breaches of international law.

We strongly believe that justice delayed is justice denied. Israel’s collective punishment of civilians is part of a systematic and consistent policy of denying rights to the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as we saw once again in Jerusalem last week. We reiterate our support for the Goldstone Report in its entirety. It is comprehensive, objective and based on solid evidence. Palestinian victims of Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip, seeking redress for the crimes committed against them, look to the Human Rights Council, UN bodies and the international community as a whole to put their words into action and ensure that the report’s recommendations are implemented in full so that justice can be done.

The UN and the international community as a whole have the moral and legal obligation to hold Israel accountable for the war crimes it has deliberately committed against the civilian population and infrastructure during its military aggression on the Gaza Strip. Only through holding Israel accountable for its actions and launching serious objective and independent criminal investigations can we bring an end to the prolonged state of impunity which the occupying power has long enjoyed.

We strongly believe that international law and human rights should not be compromised for the sake of political negotiations. A just and durable solution to the conflict cannot be achieved without full adherence to international law and respect for human rights by all sides. Compromising Palestinian human rights and giving Israel a green light to continue its abuses can only damage chances for a genuine peace in the region. We strongly urge the Council to live up to its responsibility of ensuring justice and human rights to the Palestinian civilian population.