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For the Russell Tribunal
Regretting that I cannot be present in person, I wish to offer my thanks and support to the Russell Tribunal for holding a special session on Israeli actions in Gaza during the unfortunately (and inaccurately) named Operation Protective Edge.
Many (so many) compelling legal issues around human rights and justice will undoubtedly be raised by those participating in the session. My own current preoccupation is with the plight of refugees, young and old, male and female, who have been wounded, traumatized and displaced. They now face a future, at least in the near term, with more uncertainty than at any time in past decades, as a result of inhuman Israeli policies toward Gaza.
Previous attempts of the international community—by the United Nations, regional groupings or individual governments—have been unable or, more accurately, unwilling to address the root causes of Gaza’s situation: the injustice of an illegal occupation with its consequent everyday miseries on one hand and unrestrained Israeli impositions and incursions on the other.
It remains for civil society to speak out, together with Palestinians, who, deserve a chance to demonstrate their strengths and their values, already visible in the resilience they show in the face of recurring conflicts.
This time round, there is a need to create a new narrative which promotes Palestinian freedom and independence–in the interest of justice, reducing the inevitability of conflict and opening a path to peace. What better for Israelis as well?
I eagerly await the outcome of this special session.
Karen Koning AbuZayd,
Commissioner, UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria
Ret’d USG, Commissioner-General of UNRWA