After occupying Gaza for almost 40 years, Israel turned it into a open-air prison by imposing a comprehensive siege on the territory for a further 16 years. Israel has been expanding its colonial settlements in the West Bank and continues its settlement policy and the Judaization of Jerusalem, in an attempt to reshape the Islamic and Christian characteristics of the city and destroy its Arabic identity ~ Mohamed Namoura
The murder of more than 20,031 Palestinians in Gaza, including around 8,176 children, 4,112 women, 67 journalists, 18,460 civilians, is a war crime that must result in Israeli officials being brought before the International Criminal Court, says Ambassador Namoura, speaking in this interview for CorD Magazine. According to him, the prerequisites for lasting peace are “the withdrawal of the occupying Israeli army and colonial settlers from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem”, sovereignty for Palestinians over the territories of the State of Palestine and the resolving of the refugee problem in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194, which was adopted in 1948.
Your Excellency, clashes in your lands have to date claimed the lives of thousands of people, including a large number of civilians and children. Do you see any possibility for a ceasefire that would bring an end to any further suffering?
― This is neither war nor clashes – it is a protracted war crime being carried out in continuity by the fascist Israeli army.
A total of 20,031 Palestinians were killed in more than six weeks, around 8,176 children, 4,112 women, 67 journalists, 18,460 civilians of whom were children (until today, 24th November 2023). The Israeli army is targeting hospitals, schools, churches, mosques. A nuclear army is targeting premature infants. This genocide should immediately stop.
The U.S. can force Israel to stop its aggression in the Gaza strip. Instead of that, they support them, providing weapons, equipment and money. Furthermore, by using the veto, the U.S. has many times prevented the United Nations Security Council from adopting a ceasefire decision. The Israeli government and officers of the Israeli occupation army must be brought before the International Criminal Court.
The Resolution on Gaza adopted by a two-thirds majority in the UN General Assembly also calls for an “immediate humanitarian truce”. Could the UN contribute to de-escalating Israel-Palestine relations?
― The General Assembly passed a resolution for a humanitarian ceasefire, and the Security Council, after several unsuccessful attempts, passed a resolution for a “humanitarian pause”, as they say. What is required is that the United States does not obstruct the Security Council in making a ceasefire decision and enables humanitarian aid to arrive in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, as well as in the southern part, because there is a real humanitarian disaster there. Permanent de-escalation can only be achieved by ending the Israeli occupation of the territory of the State of Palestine and dismantling the colonial settlements.
What conditions are required for peace negotiations to be launched and who should participate in those negotiations?
― The first thing required now is a ceasefire, the second is to stop building Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. It is also required that Israel stop all other actions and procedures that violate international law.
After that, a political solution should be reached, which includes the State of Palestine covering the territory of the 1967 borders and with east Jerusalem as the capital, with full sovereignty.
What is required is that the United States does not obstruct the Security Council in making a ceasefire decision and enables humanitarian aid to arrive in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, as well as in the southern part, because there is a real humanitarian disaster there
Netanyahu has for years constantly refused negotiations, ignoring the Palestinian issue, and has moved towards trying to normalise relations with some Arab countries instead of finding a solution with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.
Unfortunately, the American Administration a priori excludes any comprehensive and positive outcomes of the negotiations process, so the Palestinian People no longer accept it as the main mediator in any negotiations with the Israeli side. In September 2023, President Mahmoud Abbas urged the UN General Assembly to hold an international peace conference, in which all countries concerned with achieving peace in the Middle East would participate.
Does the danger exist that the operations in Gaza could spread to a conflict that engulfs the broader Middle East region?
― Yes, this is possible, and it may not be limited to a regional war, but rather it may turn into a war on a global scale, especially since American and Western fleets have been moved to the Mediterranean Sea to support Israel’s aggression against the Palestinian people, who have no army! I think it will expand if the U.S. has an interest in that.
Are there any solutions that could bring durable and sustained peace between Israel and Palestine, ending many decades of conflict?
The United Nations has issued about 970 resolutions, of which not a single one was implemented, whether issued by the General Assembly or the Security Council. Israel does not respect any of these resolutions. Israel does not care about the United Nations, rather it has killed and wounded dozens of United Nations employees in Gaza, in addition to bombing UNRWA schools there.
Lasting peace can only be achieved when Israel respects international law, the withdrawal of the Israeli occupation army and colonial settlers from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, when the Palestinian people are able to have their sovereignty over the territories of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and when the refugee problem is solved according to UN resolution 194 of 1948,so the Palestinian people can live in peace in their homeland like other people around the world.
This latest conflict with Israel erupted after Hamas attacked civilians and massacred young people attending a concert, while Hamas is still holding a number of hostages. The actions of Hamas have prompted condemnation worldwide, with the whole world dubbing them acts of terrorism. To what extent do these actions complicate Palestine’s international position and sympathy for the difficulties the Palestinian people face?
― The true story is that the Zionist militias committed massacres against the Palestinians, destroyed 530 Palestinian villages and expelled two-thirds of the Palestinian people from their land in 1948. Since then, Israel has continued to commit massacres, genocide and apartheid to this day. We are now witnessing the most horrific massacres, which are historically unprecedented. After Israel occupied Gaza for almost 40 years, it turned it into a prison, placing it under a comprehensive siege for another 16 years. Israel has been expanding its colonial settlements in the West Bank. Israel continues its settlement policy and the Judaization of Jerusalem, attempting to change the Islamic and Christian features of the city and to destroy its Arabic identity.
The colonial settlers also terrorise the Palestinian people in the West Bank all the time, while Israel has erected more than 500 checkpoints around and between Palestinian towns. Some of those bunkers look like borders that Palestinians cannot pass without permissions from the Israeli army. Those checkpoints transform the life of Palestinians into an unimaginable daily suffering. The Israeli army mistreats Palestinian civilians and kills them.
Israel has not stopped building the racist separating wall, which snakes through the West Bank. Israel is continuously building the wall despite the fact that the International Court of Justice asserted (on 9th July 2004) that it is contrary to international law and that Israel is obliged to discontinue the construction of the wall and dismantle those sections that have already been built forthwith.
There were 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in captivity in Israeli prisons, but since 7th October that figure has increased to more than 7,000. Among them are many who have been imprisoned for 40 years.
We should not forget that occupation is the worst form of terrorism. Therefore, the latest conflict is not the cause, but rather the consequence of the continuation of Israeli aggression, which has been continuing unabated for a long time.
The Israeli occupation government has a plan to expel the Palestinian people from the Gaza Strip and relocate them to the Sinai in Egypt, as well as forcing Palestinians to move from the West Bank and East Jerusalem to Jordan. They have been waiting for an “excuse” to carry it out. Because of this, the Israeli occupation government immediately began to seek condemnation from the whole world in order to justify what they have in mind. And that’s why they share disinformation and fake news. Now, in the investigations of the Israeli police, they have come to the conclusion that a large number of Israelis killed on 7th October, were bombed by the Israeli air force. They also shared false news that they found a massacre, and now they have admitted that those victims were Palestinians who were killed by the Israeli army.
There are ever more officials and people around the world who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and we hope that international support and solidarity will help end the Israeli apartheid and occupation. Let’s not forget that the international community and solidarity ended apartheid in South Africa.
How would you comment on the stance of the countries of the Arab world regarding the current conflict in Gaza?
― The Arab states, of course, condemned the Israeli aggression in Gaza. The Arab countries are exerting diplomatic efforts, specifically in the United Nations, to achieve a ceasefire. They are also trying to provide humanitarian, medical and other aid for the Palestinian people in Gaza.
The first thing required now is a ceasefire, the second is to stop building Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem
A political solution should be reached, which includes the State of Palestine covering the territory of the 1967 borders and with east Jerusalem as the capital, with full sovereignty
The United Nations has issued about 970 resolutions, of which not a single one was implemented, whether issued by the General Assembly or the Security Council