Israeli soldiers patrol following a protest by Palestinians against closure of a road south of the West Bank city of Hebron. Image Credit: REUTERS

Geneva: The UAE has voiced its concern over the lack of debate in the Human Rights Council on the human rights violations taking place in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Obaid Salem Saeed Nasser Al Za’abi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations, raised these concerns in a speech during the 36th session of the Human Rights Council which began in Geneva on September 11. He also spoke about the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories since 1967. The session concludes on September 29.

“If the Human Rights Council cannot be a platform to highlight the blatant violations by the occupying authority that has been going on for more than 60 years, who will guarantee and protect the human rights of the Palestinian people?” he asked.

He said that the latest June 2017 report of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) had shown that nearly 40 per cent of the West Bank was run by the occupying authority, exerting pressure on Palestinian communities in the form of reduced land, limited movement of resources, escalated social and economic repercussions, increased inspection at checkpoints, roadblocks and other collective punishment, as a result of the blocking of roads connecting the colonies. These developments violate the principles of international legislation, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention.

According to recent UN statistics, Israeli colonies in the West Bank have continued to grow steadily by around 5.5 per cent, where more than 80 per cent of all settlers reside. The current growth rate is estimated to increase the number of settlers to nearly 900,000 in just 12 years, the statistics indicated.

Al Za’abi explained that these numbers are likely to rise, unless there is greater pressure on the occupying authority to move forward with the peace process, in accordance with the international and regional agreements as a reference, including Security Council Resolution 2334 and the Arab peace initiative, which requires the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

At the end of his speech, Ambassador Al Zaabi affirmed the UAE’s support for the political solution, based on the principle of two states, warning in this context the dangers of replacing this option with the idea of one state with two regimes, which was being promoted by the occupying authority.

As an immediate measure, he said that the UAE has reiterated its support to the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations General Assembly and called on all peace-loving countries to support this legitimate demand.