General Debate Item 7: Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories
25 September 2017
Thank you Mr. President,
I am speaking as founder and coordinator of the Human Rights Defenders based in Hebron. We have been documenting violations by Israeli settlers and soldiers against civilians since 2014.
Since co-founder Imad Abu Shamsiya courageously documented the unlawful assassination of Abdel Fattah Sharif last year in Hebron in the West Bank – who was murdered in cold blood by a member of the Israeli occupation forces – Imad has been subjected to numerous death threats by extremist Israelis.
By no means is he the only member of our group to be harassed and threatened by settlers and Israeli forces. I have been arrested over 14 times because of my peaceful activism against the occupation.
The threats, arrests and killings that we suffer daily highlight the importance of providing protection to human rights activists. Our project consists of distributing cameras to families whose lives are constantly exposed to attacks by the occupation army and illegal settlers.
With the cameras, we have been able to document many violations to our property and lives. As we prove who the real aggressors are, document their actions against us, a civilian population who is occupied, we can show to the world what really happens to an embattled population. Our work is vital in documenting Israeli crimes, as cameras remain at the frontline to revealing the truth of the occupation.
We call on the international community to ensure protection for the Palestinian people, including human rights defenders, and to take all necessary measures to finally bring an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine.