The words of the Elders during the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel are still valid now that a cease fire is in place.
Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland, said: “The peoples of Israel and Palestine will be able to live in peace only when a just solution to the conflict is delivered, the occupation ends and human rights are fully respected. The UN Security Council in particular must step up and send a clear message that further bloodshed and provocations will not be tolerated.”
The Elders called on allies of Israel and Palestine, including the United States and the other Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, to recognise the urgent need for a change in approach. This was an early opportunity for US President Joe Biden to demonstrate his commitment to a human rights-based foreign policy and effective, strong multilateralism, they said.
The Council’s approach must acknowledge the fundamental asymmetry between the State of Israel and Palestinians living under occupation. “Their sense of abandonment has only fuelled the combustible environment, and their grievances will continue to fester without the opportunity for self-determination and equal rights.”
Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair of The Elders and former UN Secretary-General, said: “The serious escalation of violence is a litmus test for all five of the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. The Council must be empowered to hold all parties accountable for violations of international law. No P5 state should use its veto at the next Council meeting, but rather enable the UN to play its rightful, central role in urgently addressing this conflict.”
Provocative steps by Israel stoked the conflict, and highlighted the discrimination against Palestinians in the occupied territories and within Israel’s own borders, which threatened the ability of Palestinians to live in East Jerusalem and disrupted the status quo around holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem, the Elders said. The intercommunal violence between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel was another alarming consequence of the current political approach.
Justice remained a prerequisite for a durable resolution of the conflict. The Elders reaffirmed their support for the recent rulings by the International Criminal Court that it has jurisdiction in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, and will initiate an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Recent events underscore how important it is that the Court is empowered and supported by all state parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The United States is not a state party to the Rome Statute.