AS (2017) CR 04
2017 ORDINARY SESSION
Tuesday 24 January 2017 at 3.30 p.m.
Debate: The Humanitarian crisis in Gaza
The following texts were submitted for inclusion in the official report by members who were present in the Chamber but were prevented by lack of time from delivering them.
Ms SANDBӔK (Denmark) – First of all, I would like to congratulate Ms Jansson on an extremely successful report with a very objective and comprehensive description of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, including the historical context, an assessment of the current humanitarian situation and recommendations on how to improve the situation, which undoubtedly affects everybody who becomes familiar with it – all of which I need not repeat because the report does it so brilliantly.
One finding which especially made an impression on me is that, according to Palestinian NGOs, 51% of the children in Gaza are suffering from physical and mental trauma. This report once again shows the urgency for action from both the Palestinian and Israeli sides, as well as from the international community, if we want to prevent another generation of Palestinian and Israeli children growing up with fear as a daily companion, thereby creating a breeding ground for the conflict to continue for at least another generation.
The report emphasises the necessity for a Unity Palestinian Government. I was very happy to read the news that last week a big step towards such a unity government was taken in Moscow, where representatives from both Hamas and Fatah agreed to form a new National Council. The council will have two objectives: one is to hold elections to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem together with a presidential election; the other is to restore Gaza. There is no doubt that the most important factor prompting the unity agreement is the leadership change in Washington DC.
There is still a long way to go and it is of utmost importance that the international community wholeheartedly backs up the co-operation between Hamas and Fatah. Such co-operation could hopefully help stop the completely unacceptable rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel and, even more importantly, the totally disproportionate response from Israel.
The report calls for a new international conference on the reconstruction of Gaza and states that the lifting of the blockade of Gaza is a vital precondition to the resolution of the humanitarian crisis. I fully agree with that.
The Palestinian delegation also met in Moscow with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and asked him to dissuade President Trump from moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Hopefully this assembly will also dissuade President Trump. The consequences of such a step could be very serious and could also have a negative impact on improving the crisis in Gaza.
Unfortunately, I do not have the time to elaborate on all the very important details of Ms Jansson’s report, so let me simply say that I really do appreciate the way it has been written.
Mr VILLUMSEN (Denmark) – I thank the rapporteur for this excellent report. I do not think any of us can imagine the terrible humanitarian situation facing the population in Gaza—the trauma, the physical and mental destruction that the Israeli war crimes have caused to both the homes and minds of so many people. If we do not take action, if the Israeli Government is not forced to comply with international law and if the blockade is not lifted, the human catastophe will continue and the situation will soon explode again.
By adopting this report, we take a clear stand in favour of international law; in favour of the people of Gaza and Palestine; and in favour of peace for both the Israeli and Palestinian people. As the Israeli Government continues to violate the clear decisions of the United Nations Security Council, and Donald Trump is doing his best to prevent a two-State solution, it is precisely at this moment in time that this Assembly must send a clear message with this report.
Let us vote for this report. Let us call on the Council of Ministers to act. Let us go home and call for action in our home countries. Israel is economically dependent on exporting to our countries – let us take note of this. Why should we accept products from illegal settlements? Dear colleagues, let us boycott products from the illegal settlements.
Sometimes, the conflict between Israel and Palestine is presented as a very complex question. But honestly, the question is not that complicated if we stick to international law. Let us stick to human rights. Let us ensure that our countries act.Let us approve this report. Let us go home and take action.