Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Riyad al-Maliki took the floor this morning at the U.N. Durban Review Conference to condemn Israeli occupation of Palestine as “the worst violation of human rights” and “the ugliest face of racism and racial discrimination.”
Calling Israel the “occupying power,” he criticized various Israeli policies as violations of international norms, including the building of the “separation wall,” purported attempts to Judea-ize Jerusalem and prevent Christians and Muslims from reaching places of worship, use of security check-points, “robbery of water,” and blockade and “collective punishment” of Gaza.
He argued that comments regarding the Jewish nature of Israel amount to racism and related intolerance. He asked the international community to use Durban II to review progress on the 2001 Durban Declaration and Program of Action, which had singled out the plight of Palestinian people.
Towards the close of his speech, al-Maliki said he recognizes the rights of Israel and the Israeli people to live in security, but also advocated the Palestinian “right of return.”