BRICS: Commission of Inquiry finds that the Israeli occupation is unlawful under international law

Commission of Inquiry finds that the Israeli occupation is unlawful under international law

Israel’s failure to respect the right to return for Palestinians who were forced to flee their homes in 1948 is a flagrant violation of international law that has fueled decades of suffering on a mass scale for Palestinian refugees across the region, said Amnesty International, marking 71 years since the Nakba (catastrophe), as it is known to Palestinians.

Letter dated 7 December 2011 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General

On 24 November 2011, the Deputy Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa met in Moscow in the format of BRICS to discuss the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. 

 The participants at the meeting underlined the legitimacy of the aspirations of the peoples of the region for greater political and social rights.

They agreed that the transformation processes in the region created the need to search for ways of addressing crises in countries in the Middle East and North Africa within the framework of international law and only through peaceful means, without resorting to force, through establishing a broad national dialogue with due respect for the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the countries in the region.

They rejected violence as a means of achieving political goals.

They emphasized the need for full respect of human rights by all sides, especially by the authorities, in protecting unarmed civilians. 

 The role of the United Nations Security Council was emphasized, since it bears the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.

It was noted that all parties should strictly implement the decisions of the Security Council.

They noted that it was inadmissible to impose solutions on the States in the Middle East and North Africa through outside intervention in the internal political processes. 

 The participants agreed that the period of fundamental transformation taking place in the States of the Middle East and North Africa should not be used as a pretext to delay resolution of lasting conflicts but that it should rather serve as an incentive to settle them, in particular the Arab-Israeli one.

Resolution of this and other long-standing regional issues would generally improve the situation in the Middle East and North Africa.

Thus, at the meeting, the participants confirmed their commitment to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of the universally recognized international legal framework, including the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid principles and the Arab Peace Initiative. 

 The BRICS States support the resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations aiming at the establishment of an independent, viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian State with full sovereignty within the 1967 borders, with agreed-upon territorial swaps and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

They also encouraged the Quartet to intensify its efforts towards early realization of these goals. 

 The participants supported Palestinian efforts to achieve membership in the United Nations.

They also underscored the importance of direct negotiations between the parties to reach final settlement.

They called upon Palestinians and Israelis to take constructive measures, to rebuild mutual trust and to create the right conditions for restarting negotiations, while avoiding unilateral steps, in particular settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

They advocated the earliest reunification of the Palestinians. A united position of the Palestinians, based on the PLO principles and the Arab Peace Initiative, would contribute to progress towards a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, achieving lasting peace and providing security for all the countries and peoples of the region. 

 The participants agreed on the convenience of regular consultations on the Middle East and North Africa issues in different forums, including the United Nations, and reaffirmed their support for informal meetings among their representatives. 

 In this regard, I have the honour to request your kind assistance in having the contents of the present letter circulated as a document of the General Assembly, under agenda item 36, and of the Security Council.