What follows is an oral intervention on the Occupied Palestinian Territories delivered by Hana Efendić, NCF’s Research Officer to the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council for the General Debate under Item 7: Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.
The first general elections of 15 years will be held in the Palestinian Authority this year. The Next Century Foundation hopes that the governments of the State of Israel, the Egyptian Arab Republic, and the United States of America, will support this opportunity for the Palestinian people to express their democratic right. When democracy is being encouraged all over the world, so should be the same in Palestine. All citizens wishing to cast a vote, whether in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, or Gaza, should be able to do so.
Furthermore, we are greatly encouraged by Israel’s approval of the meeting between Hussein al-Sheikh, on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian politician Marwan Bargouti, who is serving a life term sentence in Hadarim prison. We respectfully urge the Government of Israel to release Marwan Barghouti from prison. Having earned much respect for his efforts to promote peace, he could be a victorious candidate in Palestine’s presidential elections. If successful, he would further the political unity between Palestinians which is crucial for the advancement of peace between Israel and Palestine. As an opponent of rocket attacks between Gaza and Israel, he also has the potential to settle Israel’s security concerns and thus initiate steps that might lead to an end to the Gaza closures.
Allowing Marwan Barghouti to stand in this year’s Palestinian elections could further long-held aspirations of peace and security in the Middle East. It is now the responsibility of the international community to foster this vision. Thank you.
For further information on our written statement submitted to the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Palestine, please click here.