At the outset the OIC would like to welcome the Commission of Inquiry to investigate in the events occurred in the context of mass protests in the OPT since 30 March and we thank them for the oral update provided to this Council.
Since the protests began on 30 March, 187 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupying forces. 32 of them were children and 20,160 were injured in the context of the demonstrations. These mass demonstrations are a call for hope to generate international pressure on Israel to immediately lift the closure, end the occupation.
The use of lethal and other excessive force against the protesters, who do not pose an imminent threat to life or serious injury, violates international human rights law. In the context of occupation, this may amount to wilful killing, which is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and amounts to war crimes (and possible crime against humanity) as codified by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The closure and blockade, which amounts to collective punishment, has a devastating impact on 1.9 million Palestinians’ rights to health, education, family, access to economic opportunities, access to justice, and in particularly grave cases, the right to life in Gaza.
The OIC also emphasises the need for the COI to address the root causes and the context of this prolonged conflict in an impartial and objective manner and to recommend concrete measures on accountability with a view to avoiding and ending impunity. We also call on all parties to cooperate with the COI particularly the Occupying Power Israel, who must allow access to COI and to end its decades-long disrespect of its obligations as a member of the United Nations.
I thank you.