Days of Palestine – NewYork
Minister Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, said Thursday that the Palestinian people are not killed by Israeli occupation forces because of what they do, but because of who they are.
Speaking during the Security Council monthly briefing on the Middle East, including the question of Palestine, Mansour said, “Shireen [Abu Akleh] was an exceptional being but her killing is unfortunately not an exception. She kept telling the stories of her people hoping that by making them known, somehow she would help alter the course of history.”
He added, “Shireen’s killing is the story. The same story she was telling. The difference is that this time the world knew the victim. We are not killed because of what we do, but because of who we are. We are not killed by mistake, but as part of a grand design, aiming to make sure we all understand no one is safe so that we all live with fear in our hearts and surrender.”
The Palestinian ambassador said under Israel’s military occupation regime, there is “no immunity for a journalist, a President, a health worker, a UN staff, a farmer, a child, a baby, a pregnant mother, an elderly, a professor, a dual citizen, a Minister, an officer, a judge. If you are a Palestinian, you are a legitimate target, and Israel can decide if you get to live or die.”
“Shireen’s killing was not the exception. Israel was prompt to accuse the victim instead of taking responsibility for a longstanding shoot-to-kill policy that was found in the killing of Shireen its ultimate expression. You rightly called for accountability, but Israel has enjoyed impunity for so long, it does not know what the hell you are talking about.”
“Our children are being killed, arrested, displaced, harassed every day. Protect them from a war waged against one Palestinian generation after another!,” stressed the Palestinian diplomat.
Mansour also turned to Israel’s displacement and ethnic cleansing policy: “When we speak of forcible displacement, imagine a family living in fear every single day of being uprooted of its home, the nightmares that haunt a child, the ache a powerless parent feels. 1200 people, including 500 children, are going through this in Masafer Yatta as we speak.”
He continued, “The reason given by Israel: The area has been designated as a firing zone for military training. A firing zone, as if they needed more training in how to kill us. The real reason? Seizing maximum Palestinian land with minimum Palestinians. Annexation and colonialism.”
On Israeli settlements, Mansour said, “When we speak of colonial settlements, imagine that in whatever direction you look, you see armed settlers and occupation forces, that you wake up and see settlements being built on your land where you are forbidden to build. You see one family after the other being uprooted from its ancestral home. And you go to sleep, knowing your house might be next. Israel pursues annexation thousands of settlement units at a time.”
“This is the reality our people endure every day: forcible displacement and replacement, dispossession, denial of rights, discrimination, and death. From the day they are born to the day they die, and beyond. And they try to find life somewhere in between and succeed. But there are no consequences for those inflicting such pain and suffering on millions of people,” the Palestinian ambassador said.
He added, “We want peace, for ourselves and for others. But we will not surrender, as you can not have peace between a prisoner and a jailer. We want freedom, we deserve freedom, we are entitled to freedom. Supporting our quest for freedom is the duty of all of you. And it is the only path to peace. We chose the peaceful way, help us prove it leads to freedom.”
The Palestinian diplomat urged the international community “to take a step in support of Palestinian freedom, recognize the State of Palestine, help consolidate the 1967 borders, including in Jerusalem, help communities live and thrive on their land, make sure there is a cost for Israel for building illegally in our land, and make sure there is none for Palestinians to build on theirs. Take a step to ensure accountability and end impunity.”