news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | July 23, 2014 | 7.14 pm IST

Geneva: Israel cannot continue to live in denial of the violence it has unleashed on the Palestinian people, the Foreign Minister of Palestine Dr. Riad Almalki has told The News Minute.

“The violence has to end – we hope the resolution will be passed today and the the (UN) Security Council will take the necessary steps to enforce rule of law including international humanitarian laws,” the minister said after addressing the emergency session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva over the situation in Gaza. 

The minister said he had personally written to Switzerland to play an active role in the negotiations with Israel as it is the depository state of the Geneva Conventions. Switzerland also has a long history of playing the role of negotiator between parties or countries who do not have diplomatic relations with one another. 

The Palestinian minister said he hoped the UN Security Council will call for immediate ceasefire and the start of negotiations. “We don’t know if Israel will agree - the past they have refused every call for mediation, but this time the situation is very different,” Dr. Almalki said.

The special session called by Pakistan, Egypt and Palestine is expected to pass a resolution that severely condemns Israeli action, especially in the last fortnight and a return to the table to work towards a two-state solution under the aegis of the UN and other parties. In her opening remarks to the session UN High Commissioner for Humanitarian Rights Navi Pillay said Israel may have committed war crimes by killing civilians in the Gaza strip. 

Diplomats say the resolution which is backed by 21 of the 47 members of the rights body needs just 3 more votes to go past the post and may garner more support than that. 

The Israeli mission to the UN in Geneva did not respond to The News Minute's request for an interview.

The scale of the humanitarian crisis is what underlined most of this morning’s interventions as speaker after speaker listed what was uniformly called the “indiscriminate” bombing and shelling of schools, hospitals and homes leaving thousands of women children and men no place to go and nowhere to protect themselves from shelling. 

While some speakers, especially from the EU mentioned Hamas as equally responsible for the situation, a larger number said Israel, as the stronger power, bore greater responsibility. Almost all the over thirty speakers in the morning discussions referred to the Geneva Conventions and the application of rule of international law. 

The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols form the basis of international humanitarian law, the body of law that regulates the conduct of armed conflict. They specifically protect people not parties to the conflict or taking part in the hostilities (civilians, health workers and aid workers) and those no longer engaged in conflict such as wounded soldiers, prisoners etc.

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