Thursday, 1 January 2009

Lybia: no other Srbrenica or Rwanda to be added to history.

Security Council Meeting Dec 31st.

GIADALLA A. ETTALHI ( Libya) recalled that a truce had been reached between the Palestinians and Israelis last June under Egyptian sponsorship. As part of that truce, Israel had pledged to open the border crossings while the Palestinians had observed the truce “religiously” despite at least 190 Israeli violations that had killed 25 citizens. The crossings had never been completely opened, and on 4 November, the Israeli Army had entered the eastern part of Gaza, unprovoked, and killed six Palestinians. The Palestinians had never fired a single bullet except in response to an Israeli violation of the truce. Since 5 November, the Israelis had imposed a full blockade on Gaza, including blocking UNRWA.

Those actions constituted a crime of genocide, a crime against humanity and a war crime according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, he said, pointing out that 80 per cent of Palestinian families were suffering from hunger and a collapse in water and sewerage services. Gazans could only get clean water once a week, according to the United Nations, while 150 basic medicines were unavailable. More than 400 Palestinians had died due to lack of treatment, a fact known to all, including the Council, which, however, had never lifted a finger. “What do you expect from people living under those conditions?”

Since 27 December, there had been air raids and bombardments which had led to the massacre that had claimed some 400 dead and 2,000 injured, most of them civilians, including large numbers of children. Buildings, schools, mosques, official buildings and the fragile infrastructure had been destroyed.

On the night of 27 December the Council had met in a closed session and issued a press statement calling for an end to the military action and the opening of the crossings, he recalled. The Israelis had not responded, despite pleas by the Secretary-General, the European Union, the Quartet and many Member States. Israel had said it would expand the attacks and that its ground forces were massing at the border. Israelis had proved once again that they were not interested in peace, but in seizing land, terrorizing Palestinians and expelling them from their homes by any possible means, including killing and starvation. No disrespect for international law and international humanitarian law could exceed what the Israelis had done in the Gaza Strip.

He then introduced a draft resolution that included a clear condemnation of the Israeli military attacks, a call upon Israel immediately to cease its attacks and abide scrupulously by its obligations as the occupying Power, and a call for immediate protection for the Palestinian civilian population. The draft also called for the reopening of the border crossings to allow unrestricted, unhindered access of humanitarian aid and basic supplies, while stressing the need for the restoration of calm in full. Libya appealed to the Council to adopt a quick and binding measure so that no other Srbrenica or Rwanda would be added to history.

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