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Iran: Israel occupation root of Middle East conflict

Israeli forces take position following clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinian from the nearby Urif village, south of Nablus, in Tel Aviv occupied West Bank on October 10, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Iran's permanent mission to the United Nations has described the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories as the root of all existing conflicts and crises in the Middle East region.

Es'haq Al-e Habib, Iran's deputy ambassador to the UN, made the remarks as he was protesting a United States-sponsored draft resolution seeking to condemn the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

The proposed resolution, he said in a statement addressed to the UN on Thursday, "indicates the real nature of the US foreign policy concerning the Palestinians, which is essentially based on deceit, complete ignorance of Palestinians' rights, and also unconditioned and invariable support for Israel."

"The draft resolution is predicated on deception since it totally ignores the root of the conflict, namely the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel over the past decades." 

Al-e Habib said it never mattered in the same pro-Israel US foreign policy what crimes would be perpetrated against the Palestinians, how many Palestinian children would be killed, or what brutality and inhumane treatment would they be subjected to the Palestinians. 

Al-e Habib said Israel's settlement activities showed that "it has never had any intention for or interest in peace with the Palestinians".  He also criticized the regime's "unprecedented" measures aimed at speeding up Judaization of Jerusalem al-Quds. Efforts, that he said, included changing the holy occupied city's demographic structure as well as its religious and cultural identity by destroying Muslim and Christian religious symbols there.

The official further stressed that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands had led to constant violation of the rights of the Palestinians and Arabs living in other Tel Aviv-occupied territories, and the displacement of around six million Palestinians. 

'Ethnic cleansing'

"It is for this very reason that the Palestinians, whether Muslim or Christian, are suffering from a situation, which is tantamount to ethnic cleansing," Al-e Habib said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the official pointed out that Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip had turned the Palestinian coastal territory into a "stifling and uninhabitable prison." The blockade amounted to "collective punishment" of the enclave's entire territory, he added.

More than 160 Palestinians have died during Israel's suppression of anti-occupation Palestinian protests in Gaza since March, he reminded.

Al-e Habib added that Hamas was part of the Palestinian people and that it was only defending the Palestinians against Israeli military aggression, something that he said constituted "a legal and intrinsic right under the international law." 

"We recognize Hamas as a legal resistance movement, which fights for the liberation of Palestinians lands from foreign occupation."

The 193-member UN General Assembly voted 87-57 in favor of the resolution Thursday while 33 members chose to abstain, leaving Washington with a plurality vote that fell short of the two-thirds requirement to adopt the resolution.

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