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Paleastine: UN commemorates 60th anniversary of Nakba


New York : The President of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, discussed the question of Palestine in a meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement commemorating the 60th year since the Nakba – the catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people in 1948 – in New York on Friday.

Noting that the right to self-determination is a key principle in the U.N. Charter, Brockmann remarked that the Palestinian people have been deprived of this right for over sixty years.

Talking about “the largest and oldest refugee population in the world today,” he stressed that millions of Palestinians still live in exile and refugee camps and await their right to return.

Brockmann added that he considers the question of Palestine “one of the greatest failures of the United Nations,” which failed in creating a Palestinian state and implementing General Assembly and Security Council resolutions over the years.

Calling for renewed efforts from the international community towards the peace process and the Palestinian people’s plight, he also encouraged agencies to work on the ground to provide assistance to Palestinians in order to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Speaking on the same occasion, Dr. Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s permanent observer to the United Nations, also deplored the Palestinians’ deprivation of self-determination.

Talking about the Palestinian refugees, Dr. Mansour reiterated the Diaspora’s inability to return to their homes, while stressing the everyday struggle and humiliations with which Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories and East Jerusalem are faced.

While acknowledging the support of the international community towards Palestine, Dr. Mansour criticized “Israel’s flagrant disrespect for international law” and its continuous human rights violations and war crimes against Palestinians.

Israel, he added, pursues an expansionist policy in order to de facto annex Palestinian land, while illegally expanding its settlements and constructing its infamous Wall. These practices, in addition to movement restrictions, have resulted in “the destruction of entire communities and socio-economic devastation.”

Dr. Mansour added that, apart from exacerbating the situation, these illegal Israeli actions undermine the prospect of achieving a two-state solution supported by U.N. resolutions, the Arab Peace initiative, and the Quartet Road Map.

He called for a greater role of the international community in stopping Israeli illegal practices and implementing U.N. resolutions, while compelling Israel to abide by international laws and truly pursue peace.