Paying no attention to which party’s military machine committed these dreadful and bloody crimes, in her opening statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay referred to the Zionist regime of Israel and Hamas and Palestinians on the same footing and called on them to strictly abide by international humanitarian laws. She hesitantly added that not abiding by these principles might amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The very late response of the Human Rights Council and the shaky statement of the UNHCHR disappointed all the people who had pinned their hopes on prompt and proper action by these principal mechanisms for upholding human rights.
It seems that the High Commissioner is unaware of the findings of a number of independent United Nations fact-finding missions and international bodies indicating that what has occurred in the Occupied Territories of Palestine over the past six decades has met all the criteria for genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity, with the goal of eliminating the territories’ innocent inhabitants.
And the record of the UN Security Council’s actions on the question of the Occupied Territories of Palestine is much more disappointing. Despite the fact that the Security Council has a primary responsibility to act to prevent the slaughter of innocent men, women, and children in Gaza, at its recent meeting on the issue, it was not even able to reach an agreement on a joint declaration. In fact, the three Western permanent members of the Council, the main direct or indirect accomplices of the Zionist regime of Israel in its crimes against the Palestinians, have, for all intents and purposes, crippled the Security Council, preventing it from fulfilling its mandate to take action, based on Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter, to halt the extremely aggressive actions of the Zionist regime.
Undoubtedly, the inaction of the Security Council and other international bodies and the strong and generous support of the United States have encouraged the murderous Zionist regime to continue and even intensify its heinous crimes against the oppressed and defenseless Palestinian people, in defiance of human rights principles, international law, UN resolutions, and even the basic norms of decency. In fact, the Israeli regime, which flouts all international norms and human decency by intensifying its cruelty, could have been dealt with effectively by the international community through its relevant mechanisms, and particularly the United Nations.
Today, the Palestinians in Gaza, most of whom are refugees, do not even have the choice to seek refuge elsewhere. Incarcerated behind ghetto walls and brought to the brink of death in an extermination camp by the siege, they are easy targets for Israel's indiscriminate bombing. More than ever before, they are in need of the active and grass-roots support of Muslims across the world.
The annual International Quds Day demonstrations held on Friday provided a unique opportunity to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and to oppose Zionism and Israel's control over Bait al-Moqaddas. This year, since Quds Day coincided with Israel’s military attack on Gaza, there was an impressive turnout for the demonstrations in Iran and 80 other countries.
Certain Western powers, through their manipulation of the UN Security Council, have paralyzed the United Nations and prevented it from taking effective action against the fascist regime of Israel.
However, the anger of the millions of people across the world who attended the Quds Day demonstrations will help to rein in the Western countries that are supporting the repressive Israeli regime and facilitating its war crimes.
(By Farhad Mamdouhi, Representative to the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York)