The group B’Tselem’s director Hagai El-Ad delivered a scathing speech against the regime after being invited to the podium by Bolivia, which holds the Council’s presidency this month, during a Council meeting.
“You will never silence us, nor the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who reject a present founded on supremacy and oppression and stand for a future built on equality, freedom, and human rights,” he said, addressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Associated Press reported.
El-Ad decried “the indignity, the outrage, the pain of the people denied human rights for more than 50 years,” referring to Palestinians’ mistreatment at the hands of Israel since 1948, when the regime proclaimed existence.
He said the regime was fragmenting Palestinian land, separating the Gaza Strio from Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank, walling off East Jerusalem al-Quds, which the Palestinians want as their future capital, while its courts were legalizing demolitions of Palestinian homes and the relocation of people.
The Israeli regime is “quite expert at constructing this façade of legality, which has been very successful at allowing us not to have to deal with any international consequences,” El-Ad said.
And this has enabled Israel to continue “oppressing millions while it somehow is still being considered a democracy,” the group’s leader said.
El-Ad finally urged the world to “let Israel know that it will no longer stand idly by, that it will take action against the continued dismantling of the Palestinian people.”
The group opposes the settlement construction, which Israel has been undertaking in the West Bank since 1967, when it occupied the territory. It has also documented abuses committed by Israeli forces against the Palestinians, rubbing Israeli officials up the wrong way.
Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon responded, accusing the group’s leader of setting up “a circus” at the Council.
He then told him in Hebrew, you “serve our enemies. They use you against us. The IDF (Israeli military) soldiers are guarding you and you are coming here to defame them.
Shame on you, you lousy collaborator." Britain’s UN Ambassador Karen Pierce objected, saying Council members could not understand Hebrew, which was not the world body’s official language.
The outgoing US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called El-Ad's speech "distorted" and "one sided."
El-Ad responded by saying, "I am not a traitor, nor am I a hero. The heroes are the Palestinians, who endure this occupation with courage and perseverance."