Ariel Sharon to address the United Nations: No time for applause to words of "courage and peace" spoken by perpetrators of grave human rights violations

Ariel Sharon to address the United Nations
No time for applause to words of "courage and peace" spoken by perpetrators of grave human rights violations

For Immediate Release

No. (E/25/05) 12 September 2005


This week Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will address the United Nations General Assembly. Will President Bush's "man of peace" be received with praise for his "courageous" withdrawal from the Gaza Strip? Will UN members states provide understanding for his refusal to take down the illegal Wall and tolerate more colonization and occupation, including in eastern Jerusalem? Or will states have the courage and political will to remind Ariel Sharon of his obligations under international law and UN resolutions?

Ariel Sharon's forthcoming address to the United Nations will coincide with the completion of Israel's unilateral military redeployment from the Gaza Strip. As Israel insists in maintaining control over movement of goods and people from and to the Strip, the "courageous" withdrawal has left Gaza Palestinians imprisoned. The legal status of the Gaza Strip thus remains occupied territory.

Sharon's address to the United Nations will also coincide with the anniversary of a war crime against Palestinians he has been found personally responsible for (1982 Israel Kahan Commission of Inquiry). In mid-September 1982, some 2,000 unprotected Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, residents of the two Beirut refugee camps, were hideously slaughtered by Lebanese Phalange militias with the complacency of Israel's army controlling the area. Ariel Sharon, then Israel's Minister of Defense, had approved the entry of the Phalangists into the camps and had failed to take measures which could have prevented the bloodshed. 23 years later, nobody has yet applogized or compensated the relatives and friends of the vicitms of a war crime and crime against humanity, and Sharon has not been held accountable.

Ariel Sharon will address a forum, the United Nations General Assembly, mandated to act as the guardian of international law and peaceful relations between nations.

Will this forum express sympathy with the victims of the massacre of Sabra and Shatila at a time when Palestinians worldwide unite in commemoration?

Will UN members states remind Ariel Sharon that time has come also for Israel to show respect for international law and UN resolutions, that withdrawal from the Gaza Strip does not end occupation unless it entails freedom for the people, and that colonization and annexation of Palestinian land in the West Bank, including eastern Jerusalem, lead to the expulsion and forced displacement of the Palestinian people and will no longer be accepted?

Applause to words of "courage and peace" spoken by perpetrators of grave human rights violations will not serve the cause of just and durable peace between Israel and the Palestinian people. Serious efforts at peacemaking rather require determined enforcement of international law by the international community. Ariel Sharon must hear from the UN General Assembly that Israel's disregard of international law and UN resolutions - from UNGAR 194 of 1948 (refugees' right to return) to the 2004 UNGA resolution on Israel's illegal Wall (A/RES/ES-10/15, 2 August 2004) - will have consequences, including boycotts, divestment and sanctions by the international community.

For mobilization of public protest against Ariel Sharon's address to the United Nations, see:
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