Intervention made by Mr. Jeffrey Salim Waheed, Advisor, Permanent Mission, at the Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967, Third Committee of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly, 20th October 2011
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Maldives thanks the Special Rapporteur, Richard Falk, for his report on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories that have been occupied since 1967 and express support for the findings of his report. We commend your efforts and thank you for the proposed recommendations as a first step for providing basic rights to the people in the occupied territories.
The Republic of Maldives expresses grave concern over the continuing and egregious neglect of the basic human dignity of the Palestinian peoples. As per the findings of the Report; education, travel, employment, and social normalcy are primary components of basic human dignity which are being denied this population. Every aspect of Palestinian life has been altered by continued occupation, exacerbating problems like the provision of basic needs, legal inequality, and constant harassment – for which Israel must take primary responsibility for the diligent protection of all civilians.
Maldives believes that despite its 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip, the state of Israel continues to be an occupying power through the control of all access to Palestine. As such the deteriorating situation regarding education, including the need for a 100 new schools within three years, and issues such as the scarcity of clean water; falls on the responsibility of the occupying power.
In addition to highlighting the trampling of basic needs, this report goes further to discuss the implementation of an apartheid-like legal system in the West Bank, which privileges settlers and discriminates against Palestinians. The legal system in the West Bank currently has all Palestinians, including children, facing military legal systems, where far fewer rights are afforded the accused. Many children are being beaten, harassed and tortured. The methods for detention and interrogation leaves lasting psychological damage. The Maldives denounces these practices as well as all others that promote inequality.
We understand Israel’s right to supplement their housing needs. And we understand Israel’s need for security and the psychological damage that can be done to their children through facing constant threat and aggression. Yet the translation of those needs into discriminatory practices is unacceptable. Among these practices are the expansion of settlements and creation of settlement only roads. In the Arab area of Jerusalem 35% of the city has been approved for Israeli settlements, while only 13% has been approved for development by Palestinians.
Though these settlements have been deemed illegal by the international community, they continue – and the Maldives is disturbed by this report’s findings on the harassment by settlers against Palestinians. Maldives is also deeply troubled by reports of the vandalism and arson of agriculture and villages, along with the physical and verbal harassment of Palestinians, with the tacit support of the Israeli border and security forces.
Maldives is especially disturbed by the clear declarations from the settlers that no Israeli government policy will move them and by the Palestinian statement that all settlements must be removed. We believe that dialogue must be possible, and that such polarized stances do not serve the common good. It is our greatest hope that dialogue renews, and that the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur are implemented.