The debate immediately followed the presentation of a report by ESCWA (the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) Executive Secretary Mohamed Ali Alhakim – whose predecessor infamously accused Israel of "apartheid". The report delivered by Alhakim is entitled "Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people..."
Numerous Islamic states accused Israel of violating the rights of Arabs inside Israel, notwithstanding the deplorable living conditions and widespread discrimination in nearby countries such as Syria and Iran. Nearly hysterical accusations were made of Israel, such as it being "ruthless," of "lopsided treachery," "crimes against humanity," "pillaging," and "abominable policies." Deaf to the irony, many countries alleged the Arabs of the Golan Heights, which Syria claims as its territory, were suffering by not being under the control of the Syrian regime.
In their words:
- Malaysia: "We condemn this ruthless and lopsided treachery towards the people of Palestine roots from the discriminatory Israeli policies and human rights violations..."
- Qatar (on behalf of the 56-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation): "Moreover, the occupying Power continues with its exploitation of natural resources; the segregation, isolation and obstruction of Palestinian movement by numerous measures, including the annexation, apartheid Wall... Here, we reiterate that the Palestinian people cannot remain the exception to the responsibility to protect civilians from atrocities and flagrant breaches of the law. We stress that the matter of accountability is as urgent as addressing the humanitarian crisis, for without it Israel's impunity and depravity against the Palestinian people will surely be further emboldened with disastrous impact."
- Iran: "Such collective punishment measures by Israeli regime is tantamount to a grave breach of international humanitarian law, constitute as a crime against humanity and pose a serious threat to international peace and security as well as to regional stability."
- Yemen: "Mr. Chair, what we have just stated is only part of the Israeli practices and policies which are mentioned in detail by United Nations reports, including this ESCWA report, as well as the report of the Fact-Finding Commission, which are all clear proof of the systematic discrimination that Israel, the occupying power, practices and imposes on all facets of economic, social, and environmental life in the occupied Arab territories. This is a grave violation of the provisions of international law, especially international humanitarian law and human rights law. These policies, these abominable policies, have created an untenable economic and social situation..."
- Syria: "Israeli occupation authorities continue their blatant defiance of relevant Security Council resolutions, particularly Resolution 497 of 1981, by imposing their racist laws on the Syrians in the occupied Golan, lately taking a decision to conduct elections of local councils next year in the occupied Golan.... Israeli occupation sources-authorities persist in their racist policies..."
- Saudi Arabia: "Israel must...cease exploiting and pillaging the resources of Palestinians as well as polluting their environment."
- Qatar: "...this report published this year outlines the suffering of the Palestinian people and the suffering of the Arab people in the occupied Syrian Golan as a result of the discriminatory policies and practices implemented by Israel."
- Iraq: "The question of Palestine has been Iraq's question number one, despite the challenges faced by my country in the war we are launching on behalf of states of the world forces of evil and darkness represented in the terrorist Daesh gangs. We are at the forefront of advocating the question of Palestine, and despite the historic injustice to which the people of Palestine is subjected, Israeli occupation practices and settlement policy...adversely affect the socioeconomic situation of the population who are living under abominable occupation where Israeli occupation forces use disproportionate force to impose racist discriminatory laws."
- Libya: "Palestinian people at all levels suffers from discrimination... Israel destroys all means of living in the occupied Arab territories..."
- Syria (separate statement): "Israel is simply a rogue state that does not recognize the United Nations and international law is the desperate attempt, because the truth stands clear. And in Syria, the compass will continue to point in the right direction... And they go beyond that and interfere in the affairs of a sovereign state by offering unlimited support, including direct aggression on the sovereign lands of Syria in order to further the cause of terrorists and their destructive project. And this does not come as a surprise to us, because Israel and those terrorists share their interests and their goals."
- Iran (separate statement): "[A] regime famous for such unlawful acts, apartheid policies, and war crimes which were documented by the UN allows itself to accuse other countries in such a sinister way. Iran makes its honest efforts to contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East..."
In his words:
"[I]t is surreal to hear, year after year, allegations of human rights violations by Israel from some of the world's most infamous human rights abusers... The Syrian delegate's cynical attack on my country today are just another desperate attempt to divert attention from the crimes that they commit against their own people on a daily basis. The population on the Golan are well and alive. This is something which we unfortunately cannot say about hundreds of thousands of Syrian citizens killed in Syria during the last year.
To the Syrian distinguished representative, I would ask, perhaps you would inform the committee how dropping barrel bombs on schools, markets and hospitals are compatible with development."