Between September 12 and 15, 2005 war criminal Ariel Sharon will address the U.N. General Assembly’s sixtieth regular session. September 15 marks the twenty-third anniversary of the deliberate and systematic massacre of more than 2000 Arab civilians, mostly Palestinian and Lebanese, in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, the chief architect of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, was found by an Israeli commission of inquiry to have been personally responsible for the massacre.
On September 10, 2005 the statement below calling for the boycott of Sharon’s upcoming address, as well as the implementation of UNGA Resolution 194, will be sent to members of the General Assembly and other relevant parties. Our goal is to show a broad international consensus in support of Palestinian national rights.
The victims of Sabra and Shatila — those who perished, as well as those who continue to be saddled with the memories and horrors of the massacre on a daily basis, would never forgive us if we were not to do our utmost against Sharon’s visit to the UN.
Please join in this important campaign.
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Please email your endorsements to: opposesharon@… —————————————————————————————
WE, the undersigned, DEMAND that Ariel Sharon not be permitted to address the sixtieth regular session of the General Assembly. Sharon’s refusal to abide by international law, particularly as it pertains to the right of return for Palestinian refugees, is matched only by his long career as a war criminal:
* In 1952 Ariel Sharon was appointed commander of special 101 Commando Unit which carried out raids on West Bank village of Qibya in which 69 civilians were murdered, many of them women and children.
* The massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps occurred between September 16 and 18, 1982, after the Israeli invading army, then occupying Beirut and under Sharon’s overall command as Israel’s Defense Minister, permitted members of the Phalange and local allied militias into the camps. The over 2000 civilian victims of the massacre included infants, children, women, and elderly.
* In February 1983, a three-member official Israeli commission of inquiry charged with investigating the events, known as the Kahan Commission, named former Defense Minister Sharon as one of the individuals who “bears personal responsibility” for the Sabra and Shatila massacre.
* The Al-Aqsa Intifada started after Sharon visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem under heavy Israeli military and police guard. The visit was a calculated step that sparked the expected resistance from the oppressed Palestinian people.
Ariel Sharon continues his utter disregard for international law. His refusal to abide by scores of United Nations’ resolutions addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict is legendary. Only recently, Sharon reiterated his rejection of the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their original homes and lands. Such outright disregard for the will of the international community constitutes a grave violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the European, the American and the African Conventions on Human Rights, and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.
It also reflects Sharon’s refusal to implement UN resolution 194, which has been reaffirmed practically every year since 1948. Generally, the same position has been affirmed by the Treaty-Based UN Committees, the regional conventions on human rights and practically all human rights NGOs.
We find it peculiar that the General Assembly would permit a war criminal like Ariel Sharon to address it, especially considering his explicit loathing of the UN and the collective will of the vast majority of its member states.
We also DEMAND that the General Assembly embark on enforcing its resolution No. 194. The right of the Palestinian refugees and uprooted to return to their homeland is a historical right that is guaranteed by international law. It is an individual and collective right which cannot be relegated, diminished, reduced or forfeited by any representation on behalf of the Palestinian people in any agreement or treaty. As such, the Right of Return is not substituted or affected in any way by the establishment of a Palestinian state in any form. According to international law, agreements that purport to trade away the right of refugees to return to their homes, or any other inalienable right, are illegal.
The right of refugees to return has been exercised, with the support of the international community, in Kosovo, Bosnia, East Timor, Rwanda, Guatemala and many other places. Yet, it continues to be ignored and neglected in Palestine. This selective enforcement of international law and UN resolutions serves to undermine rather than strengthen efforts to build a peaceful and just world.