Iceland's UN Rep: The Core Problem Is Israeli Occupation - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland’s UN Rep: The Core Problem Is Israeli Occupation

Published July 23, 2014

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photos by
Utanríkisráðuneytið

Iceland’s representative at the United Nations, Gréta Gunnarsdóttir, condemned both Israel and Palestine in a speech at an open meeting of the Security Council last night, reports Vísir.

“I want to start by expressing Iceland’s condemnation of the violations of international humanitarian law by both sides in the conflict,” said Gréta. “While the current situation in Gaza is beyond tragic I am not going to dwell on it. Because the core problem is not what is happening today. The core problem is the occupation.”

In her speech Gréta said that the  IDF’s  air  and  ground  assault  raised concerns about respect for the principle of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attacks under international humanitarian law. She also took the opportunity to remind the Security Council that it had been 10 years since the ICJ issued their advisory opinion that the Israeli West Bank barrier wall, built on Palestinian land was illegal according to international law. 

“But contrary to the recommendations of the Court, not much has changed on the ground,” said Gréta. “The wall continues to obstruct the movement of Palestinians and  severely impact their livelihood opportunities. Let’s also recall that this summer the blockade on Gaza has been in place for 8 years with dire consequences for the civilian population.”

Gréta finished her speech by telling the Security Council to uphold its responsibility  under the UN Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security and encouraging UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to travel to Israel and the State of Palestine to attempt to seek a ceasefire directly.

Meanwhile Iceland’s Foreign Minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson announced Iceland would be donating 12 million ISK in emergency relief funds to UN operations in Gaza. Six million ISK will go to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the other six to The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

According to a Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the money will be put towards securing food, shelter, clean water as well as medical aid and psychological support to children effected by the conflict.

You can read Gréta’s full statement in English here.

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