Kuwait’s Permanent Representative at the UN Mansour Al-Otaibi

NEW YORK: The State of Kuwait, addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), affirmed that the Palestinian cause is a “central issue” for the Arab world. Kuwait also asserted the Arab identity of East Jerusalem in line with a resolution by the latest Arab ministerial council meeting held in September. Arab states are committed to peace as a strategic option, stated Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, Kuwait’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations, during a UNSC session on the Middle East, namely the Palestinian cause, on Monday evening.

They are also committed to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict according to international law, relevant resolutions of international legitimacy and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. On these grounds, the Palestinian people must be allowed to reclaim full legitimate rights and establish an independent state on their territory with East Jerusalem as its capital, Otaibi stressed in his statement during the UNSC session.

However, Israel, the occupation power, pursues its aggressive policy against the Palestinian people and keeps reminding “us frequently” that it has not backed down from its schemes to annex more lands in the West Bank, said Otaibi, noting that Israel has maintained this intransigent approach in the shadows of the coronavirus that constitutes an existential threat to humankind.

Such policies affirm anew that Israel is seeking to maintain the occupation through illegal activities, expanding and building thousands of settlement units and merging territories in explicit breach of UN Resolution 2334. Recent UN reports have affirmed that Jewish settlement activities in the West Bank including East Jerusalem are increasing after the Israeli government gave the green light to build thousands of new illegal settlement units.

These activities coincided with violent acts by Israeli settlers against unarmed Palestinian people and demolishing Palestinian buildings and properties to erect settlements in their places, said Otaibi, noting that these breaches by settlers have deepened concerns about the safety of the Palestinians. Amid these acts, chances for the Palestinians to establish their state are fading, he said.

The UN secretary general and the higher commissioner for human rights have repeatedly affirmed that there is “an atmosphere that encourages impunity for Israeli settlers who have seized Palestinian lands, making Palestinian families homeless”, the senior Kuwaiti diplomat added. Moreover, the latest report by the UN secretary general has noted that the Israeli ministry of justice investigates some cases of settler attacks but refrains from condemning them.

“Such practices must prompt us now than ever to activate international mechanisms and laws to bring Israel to account for the continuing breaches of the Palestinian people’s rights that are guaranteed by international laws,” Otaibi called. Despite the current extraordinary circumstances throughout the world, Kuwait along with other Arab states have continued exerting efforts to face Israel’s bid to take advantage of nations’ preoccupation with coping with the novel coronavirus, to stop the aggression, the war and the blockade of Palestinian territories.

Meanwhile, UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov on Monday demanded an “independent investigation” after a Palestinian youth died following a weekend confrontation with Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank. Amer Abdel-Rahim Sanouber was pronounced dead on Sunday morning in a Ramallah hospital after being “beaten” around the neck, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Contacted by AFP, the Israeli army acknowledged that the teenager had been involved in an incident with soldiers but denied they beat him. It said soldiers had been sent on Saturday night to Turmus Ayya, a village north of Ramallah, after receiving reports that people were hurling stones at an Israeli vehicle. A Palestinian youth who said he witnessed the incident alleged Sanouber had been beaten. “They beat him for five minutes. He was shouting incessantly, then his voice stopped suddenly,” he told a local television station.

In a speech to the UN Security Council, Mladenov called for an independent probe. “There are conflicting claims about the circumstances and cause of death,” the UN envoy said. “I urge a prompt and independent investigation into the events that led to the death of the boy.” On Twitter, the British consulate in Jerusalem urged Israel “to investigate the allegations surrounding his death”. – Agencies