On 8 July 2014, another round of hostilities broke out in Gaza. It was dubbed Operation Protective Edge. About 50 days later, the fighting ended in a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. During the fighting, which included an incursion by ground forces, the Israeli military launched strikes from the air, sea and land against thousands of targets. More than 2,200 Palestinians were killed, including hundreds of children. About 18,000 homes were destroyed or badly damaged and more than 100,000 Palestinians were rendered homeless. Over the course of the fighting, Palestinians fired over 4,000 rockets and mortar shells from the Gaza Strip, mostly at civilian communities inside Israel. As a result, five civilians were killed in Israel, including a four-year-old boy. Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers were killed in the fighting.
Dr. Ashrawi stressed, “We cannot go back to business as usual and remain under the occupation. We need to resolve the root causes of Israeli violations and war crimes and put an end to the illegal, cruel and immoral occupation of Palestine and enable the Palestinians to fully exercise their right to self-determination.”
PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, stressed, “Achieving a lasting peace based on the two-state solution is not contingent on the outcome of negotiations; ending the military occupation of Palestine, its people and resources remains the key to ensuring justice, peace and security.”
Dr. Ashrawi’s comments came during separate meetings with the European Union Representative to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and UNRWA, John Gatt-Rutter, and with Deputy Consul-General and Deputy Head of Mission of the British Consulate-General in New York, Nick Astbury at the PLO Headquarters in Ramallah.
PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, strongly denounced the UN Security Council vote in which the resolution to end the Israeli occupationfailed to pass:
“The UN Security Council vote is outrageously shameful. It is ironic that while the United Nations designated 2014 as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the resolution failed to pass as an indication of a failure of will by some members of the international community. Furthermore, all the articles of the resolution are consistent with declared American policy, international law, UN resolutions, and the requirements of peace. The extent to which the U.S. has gone to protect Israeli impunity and lawlessness and to enable its criminal behavior is disgraceful and dangerous.
Tonight was a historic moment for our people and for all those around the world who seek justice and peace.
The State of Palestine signed a number of international treaties, all of which are consistent with the values of our nation, the foremost of which is respect for international human rights and humanitarian law.
Tonight, we call upon the international community to assume its responsibility in order to achieve a just and lasting peace in Palestine, including ending the occupation that began in 1967. We have provided our people, and all those who seeking a just peace, a horizon of hope. We trust that the international community will stand by us, as we seek to exercise the long overdue rights of our State and of our people.
In response to our legitimate step to seek international justice for our people following decades of Israeli human rights violations combined with impunity for its crimes, the Government of Israel has announced that it will take several punitive measures against our nation. Israel is once again responding to our legal steps with further illegal collective punishments.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the state of Palestine will join the International Criminal Court on April 1, a high-stakes move that will enable the Palestinians to pursue war-crimes charges against Israel.
The Palestinians submitted the documents ratifying the Rome Statute that established the court last Friday, the last formal step to becoming a member of the world's permanent war crimes tribunal.
Ramallah - The President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas denounced the heinous terrorist incident, which took place Wednesday in the French capital Paris, which killed French citizens.
In January 2015, New Zealand took up a two-year non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council. It is anticipated that New Zealand will play an effective role at this level. It is important to note the strong support for Palestine that New Zealand has expressed.