Afghan Voice Agency (AVA) - Monitoring: Amir Saeid Iravani made the remarks on Tuesday at the plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the exercise of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
“Over the past few weeks, we have witnessed a violent act of aggression carried out by the Israeli armed forces in the Gaza Strip, resulting in the death of more than fifteen thousand Palestinian civilians,” Iravani said.
“The current situation on the ground is a direct result of continued Israeli occupation, which is the core of crises and conflicts in the Middle East.”
The Iranian envoy said the number of Palestinian casualties rose rapidly in the first half of 2023, adding that Israeli settlers, who are supposed to act like regular civilians, targeted Palestinians, including children on their way to school, and attacked and vandalized Palestinian homes and vehicles.
“International law unequivocally asserts that those among armed settlers, who directly take part in hostilities with the backing of military forces cannot be afforded the status of civilians protected by humanitarian law,” he noted.
Underlining the Palestinian right to self-defense, Iravani censured Israel’s targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructures in the Gaza Strip over the past weeks.
“The deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructures is expressly prohibited under international law… It is imperative to underscore that if any party is justified in exercising the right to self-defense, it should rightfully be the Palestinians since their plight has been rooted in the historical occupation and atrocities perpetrated by Israeli forces long before the formation of their resistance as a response to the oppressive Israeli regime,” he added.
Pointing to a report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Iranian envoy said 5000 Palestinians, including 160 children and 1100 prisoners, were being held in Israeli prisons without charge or trial and that more than 3200 Palestinians had been arrested in the course of the last 50 days.
“It is an inalienable right for Palestinians, inter alia, to seek full accountability of the Israeli regime and its officials for their crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. These barbaric crimes must be addressed by the international community in a decisive manner and Palestinians must be protected internationally,” Iravani said.
“This is high time for the General Assembly to revive its Resolution 3379 adopted in 1975 determined “Zionism” as a form of racism and racial discrimination. In order to address the situation, the occupying regime should no longer be allowed to commit all its crimes while enjoying total impunity,” he added.
Stressing that the occupying regime must comply with all its obligations outlined in the UN Charter, Iran's permanent ambassador to the UN called for the permanent lifting of the blockade on Gaza, termination of the Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with al-Quds as its capital.
Iravani underlined that the Islamic Republic believes the durable peace in Palestine can only be achieved by ending the occupation and restoring Palestinians' inalienable right to self-determination.
“In our view, as long as the Palestinian people are not allowed to fully exercise their right to self-determination, any hope for durable peace and stability in the region will be nothing but a futile wish,” he said.
“We believe that the most important and urgent priority is to extend of humanitarian pause in Gaza and turn it into a durable ceasefire and rapid and extensive transfer of humanitarian aid to Gaza.”
Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime's decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians.
A four-day truce took effect on Friday to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza after seven weeks of unrelenting bombardment. The regime and Hamas agreed to extend it for two more days on Monday.
According to the Gaza-based health ministry, so far over 15,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes, most of them women and children./Press tv