Caesar Zvayi at the United Nations
PRESIDENT Mugabe on Thursday rapped the western alliance for its deafening silence over Israeli atrocities in Gaza where over 2,200 people, mostly unarmed men, women and children were killed during a four- week Israeli bombardment.
Addressing the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Mugabe did not echo the platitudes of Western leaders who pontificated about the “war on terror” and the situation in Iraq and Syria where US-created and sponsored groups have turned weapons against their settler benefactors, but instead drew the world’s attention to the tragedy in Gaza, which the Western leaders skirted like a plague even as they bristled about Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
“We continue to witness the suffering and persecution of the people of Palestine at the hands of Israel. “We have witnessed the callous murder of women and children in shelters where they seek refuge from Israel’s bombs.
“We have witnessed the brutal and random destruction of infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, and while these heinous acts were being perpetrated by Israel, the so-called civilised world maintained a deafening silence, and we ask why?” President Mugabe said.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has resolved to probe Israel for possible war crimes in Gaza in the wake of the devastating death toll that in its most recent update, the Gaza Ministry of Health put at 1,893 Palestinians dead, including 430 children; 9, 805 wounded, including almost 3,000 children; 10,000 houses and 134 factories destroyed with low end estimates putting the total cost of the carnage at $5 billion.
Despite these shocking statistics and compelling evidence that war crimes were committed in Gaza, Western leaders skirted the issue in their addresses, choosing to toe the US line on ISIS and Al Qaeda.
President Mugabe called for lasting peace in Palestine, which has observer status here, saying there was need to revert to the 1967 borders.
Nearly all UN member-states voted in favour of Resolution 58/292 of May 17, 2004 that says the boundaries of a future Palestinian state should be based on the pre-1967 borders, which correspond with the Green Line.
The Resolution affirmed, in connection with the Palestinian right to self-determination and to sovereignty, that the independent State of Palestine should be based on the pre-1967 borders.
On November 29, 2012, the UN General Assembly passed United Nations General Assembly resolution 67/19 changing Palestine’s observer status at the UN from “entity” to “non-member state” by a vote of 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions.
“Lasting peace in the Middle East can only be achieved through a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. Any other manoeuvres to change demographic realities through settlements or use of force will only prolong the suffering of the Palestinians,” President Mugabe said.
President Mugabe, who is also Sadc chairman and AU deputy chair, called on the UN to live up to its charter by promoting dialogue to achieve peace, rule of law and common understanding among states.
“Peace, security, stability and welfare of Africa and our sub-region is vital for us. In Africa, the African Union is working tirelessly to push for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Central Africa Republic and Somalia,”
A high-level summit on the situation in the Great Lakes region, of which the DRC is a part, was held earlier this week at which President Mugabe called for dialogue between the fighting groups.
President Mugabe urged the international community to remain seized with and support Africa in the maintenance of peace and stability on the continent through provision of training, logistical and financial support.
“Africa also remains seized with the issue of Western Sahara, the last colonial vestige in Africa. The United Nations should not shake off its responsibility to ensure the achievement of self-determination by the people of Western Sahara,” President Mugabe said.
The 69th session of the UNGA convened here at a time of growing debate on the relevance of the world body to the prevailing global challenges given the wanton manner in which the US and its allies trash UN resolutions, and ignore the UN system to victimise smaller and weaker states.