Speakers in General Assembly Urge Greater Efforts to Realize Two-State Solution 70 Years after Adoption of Resolution Partitioning Palestine

Noting that today marked 70 years since the adoption of a United Nations resolution to partition Palestine, speakers stressed the need to capture momentum, redouble efforts and through dialogue and diplomacy achieve a two State solution, as the General Assembly began its annual debate on the Palestinian question.
The Assembly heard the introduction of four draft resolutions addressing the various United Nations bodies and departments charged with defending the rights of the Palestinian people. It also heard urgent appeals from many delegates for concrete action to end Israel’s occupation and to continue to support the Palestinian people. Many speakers demanded that Israel cease its settlement activities and that all parties return to the negotiating table. Speakers also urged the international community to continue to support the peace process, as well as humanitarian efforts in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák (Slovakia) stressed that there was no alternative to direct talks, underscoring the need for political support from international, regional and national actors. It was essential to maintain and increase the positive momentum, he said, stressing: “All this momentum has been driven by diplomacy and dialogue.” Recalling that the General Assembly had placed the question of Palestine on its agenda in 1947, he noted that many discussions had taken place since then. “We have heard positions from all parties. We have called for action, and we have expressed hopes for the future,” he added. Yet, the question of Palestine remained. “At any moment, dialogue can take a new course and uncover new scope for compromise,” he added.
Fodé Seck (Senegal), Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, introduced the four draft resolutions, pledging the Committee’s commitment to continue to work with both Israelis and Palestinians. He expressed hope that the new dynamic among Palestinian factions would help both parties move forward towards a peaceful solution. He also called for renewed diplomatic efforts aimed at achieving the ultimate objective of a two State solution based on the pre 1967 borders.
Neville Melvin Gertze (Namibia), the Committee’s Vice-Chair, then introduced its most recent report (document A/72/35), covering its work between 4 October 2016 and 5 September 2017. The Committee urged the international community to redouble its efforts towards the achievement of the two State solution in accordance with United Nations resolutions; reiterated its request to the Secretary-General to present his subsequent reports to the Security Council on the implementation of its resolution 2334 (2016) in writing; strongly advocated for the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homeland; and demanded an end to the 10 year old Israeli air, land and sea blockade of Gaza.
The Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine said that the Palestinian people wanted peace but peace could not coexist with injustice, occupation, colonization and apartheid. “The people of Palestine will not disappear, nor will they surrender to a dismal fate,” he stressed. Israel, the occupying Power, had purposely obstructed efforts, blatantly ignoring the demands to cease its illegal policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. It continued to proceed with its settlement activities and systematic destruction of the two State solution, and ignored calls to reverse the negative trends on the ground and act to bring an end to its occupation, as called for by the Security Council in resolution 2334 (2016).
In 2017, the international community again witnessed Israel quadrupling its settlement activities throughout the West Bank, especially in and around East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, he said. Israel had also continued to impose severe restrictions on movement, the most hideous of which was its blockade of the Gaza Strip, where two million Palestinians were being collectively punished and inhumanely isolated. Israeli provocations, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric against the Palestinians and their leadership were on the rise, one reinforcing the other. Rather, efforts must be aimed at achieving a just and comprehensive peace, whereby the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, could live side by side with Israel, based on the pre 1967 borders.
Israel’s representative, recalling that, on 29 November 1947, the United Nations had taken a vote to determine the fates of two peoples living in the same land, he declared: “For one of those peoples, it was a moment that turned an age-old dream of self-determination into a real-life miracle.” He noted that Jews and Arabs had at that time been presented with the chance to build successful and prosperous communities, living side by side. “The Jews said yes, but the Arabs said no,” he stated, emphasizing Israel’s decision over past decades to choose the path of prosperity and peace.
“The Palestinians are not anti Israel because of borders or governments,” he said, but “because of who we are”. They had never accepted the existence of a Jewish State in the Holy Land. Palestinian leaders had never tried to improve the lives of their people and always blamed their situation on Israel. The Palestinians made those choices every day, regrettably choosing devastation and despair over progress, peace and prosperity. As long as Hamas used innocent Palestinians as human shields and deprived them of basic human rights, Gaza would remain imprisoned by its own brutal leaders. While that group — an internationally recognized terrorist organization — worked to kidnap and kill Israelis, the Palestinian Authority had agreed to work with them. Still, Israel had not lost hope, and stood ready to negotiate.
Kuwait’s representative said the Palestinian people were dreaming of breaking their shackles and yet Israel’s “savage” policies continued as the occupying Power confiscated land, expanded illegal settlements and deprived Muslims of the right to practice their rituals. The question of Palestine was a question of all civil people under occupation. “We have to work hand in hand” to support the “fair cause” of the Palestinian people, he underscored.
The representative of Libya asked what the United Nations had done for the Palestinian people other than adopting the many resolutions that Israel had ignored. Recalling how the international community had pressured the Arab world to abandon its historic right to establish a Palestinian State, he asked: “Will the international community stand by to allow Israel to continue its occupation for another 50 years?” To those that said Libya must not make such statements as its own country was going through a tough time, he said the Israeli occupation was the cause of the spread of terrorism in the region.
The representative of Japan, condemning all acts, incitements and glorification of violence, called on both sides to take concrete steps to reverse those negative trends. He noted his country’s support to the region, namely several initiatives which involved cooperation with Israel, Jordan and Palestine. “This is not to say that economic development is an alternative to a future Palestinian State,” he said. Instead, the goal was to generate mutual trust leading to meaningful dialogue between the parties.
Settlement of the dispute was not impossible, Egypt’s representative underscored, noting that his country had recently managed to bring the Palestinian leadership together in signing a reconciliation agreement on 12 October in Cairo. He called on the international community to take advantage of the historic opportunity and help bring about a two State solution. Both the Israelis and Palestinians would continue to have a claim to the Holy Land, he added, emphasizing the importance of finding a rational solution.
The Assembly also had before it two reports of the Secretary-General titled “The situation in the Middle East” (document A/72/333) and “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” (document A/72/368).
Also speaking were representatives of Maldives, Qatar, Nigeria, Argentina, Brazil, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Bangladesh, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Venezuela, India and Turkey.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 30 November, to conclude its debate on the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East.
Opening Remarks
MIROSLAV LAJČÁK (Slovakia), President of the General Assembly, said that there was no alternative to direct talks. Stressing the need for political support from international, regional and national actors, he underscored: “This support can bring us closer to a peaceful resolution.” International and regional tools for mediation and facilitation had led to some promising developments. The international community had also rallied in response to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people, particularly those in the Gaza Strip. He called for even stronger efforts to strengthen respect for international humanitarian law, and to secure access to people in need. It was essential to maintain and increase the positive momentum, he said, underscoring Egypt’s contributions as well as commitments made by the Palestinian Authority.
“All this momentum has been driven by diplomacy and dialogue,” he said, adding that only through both could the momentum be maintained and boosted. Recalling that the General Assembly had placed the question of Palestine on its agenda in 1947, he noted that many discussions had taken place since then. “We have heard positions from all parties. We have called for action, and we have expressed hopes for the future,” he added. Yet, the question of Palestine remained. In that context, he warned against failing the people on the ground and urged Member States to see today as a new opportunity for dialogue. “At any moment, dialogue can take a new course and uncover new scope for compromise,” he added.
Introduction of Drafts and Reports
FODÉ SECK (Senegal), Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, introduced four draft resolutions (documents A/72/L.13, A/72/L.14, A/72/L.15 and A/72/L.16). Pledging the Committee’s commitment to continue to work with both Israelis and Palestinians, he expressed hope that the new dynamic among Palestinian factions would help both parties move forward towards a peaceful solution. Calling for renewed diplomatic efforts aimed at achieving the ultimate objective of a two State solution based on the pre 1967 borders, he said the draft resolutions focused on the Committee’s work and that of the Secretariat’s Division for Palestinian Rights and the Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine of the Department of Public Information. Draft resolution “L.15”, on the renewal of the Committee’s mandate, took into account the body’s decades of work, while “L.14” requested the Department of Public Information to continue its work for the period 2018 2019, aiming to enable the media to create conditions that were propitious for the conflict’s peaceful settlement. Draft “L.16”, meanwhile, took note of the relevance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — especially Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions — to the question of Palestine.
NEVILLE MELVIN GERTZE (Namibia), Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, then introduced its most recent report (document A/72/35), covering its work between 4 October 2016 and 5 September 2017. Following its introductory chapter, chapter II of the report provided a review of the situation relating to the question of Palestine as monitored by the Committee, including the impasse in the peace process, the tenth year of the Gaza Strip blockade and the dire living conditions there, ongoing Israeli illegal settlement activities and the adoption of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), as well as heightened tensions at the Al Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount in East Jerusalem, among others. Chapters III and IV, meanwhile, outlined the mandate entrusted to the Committee by the General Assembly and contained information on the organization of the Committee’s work during the year.
Chapter V of the report detailed actions taken by the Committee, he continued, including its participation in Security Council debates and its continued dialogue with members of intergovernmental, interparliamentary, regional and civil society organizations to mobilize support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. Chapter VI provided an overview of the Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine carried out by the Department of Public Information, while the last chapter contained the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations to the Assembly. Listing some of those, he said the Committee urged the international community to redouble its efforts towards the achievement of the two State solution in accordance with United Nations resolutions; reiterated its request to the Secretary-General to present his subsequent reports to the Security Council on the implementation of its resolution 2334 (2016) in writing; strongly advocated for the Palestinian refugees’ right to return to their homeland; demanded an end to the 10 year old Israeli air, land and sea blockade of Gaza and the lifting of all related closures; and urged States and private entities not to contribute to grave Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights, particularly with respect to its illegal settlements.
RIYAD H. MANSOUR, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, said today was the seventieth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations resolution to partition Palestine. That decision had infinite consequences as the Palestinian people were still being denied their rights. He also noted that while Palestine’s respect for United Nations resolution was proven, Israel continued to undermine all efforts to achieve the just solution that United Nations had sought. Israel, the occupying Power, had purposely obstructed efforts, blatantly ignoring the demands to cease its illegal policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. It continued to proceed with its settlement activities and systematic destruction of the two State solution based on the pre 1967 borders. Israel further ignored calls to reverse the negative trends on the ground and act to bring an end to its occupation, as called for by the Security Council in resolution 2334 (2016).
“The Israeli Government is not only in violation of that resolution, but actually brags about doing so,” he said. In 2017, the international community again witnessed Israel quadrupling its settlement activities throughout the West Bank, especially in and around East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley. Israel also continued to impose severe restrictions on movement, the most hideous of which was its blockade of the Gaza Strip, where two million Palestinians were being collectively punished and inhumanely isolated. The people in Gaza were forced to endure a humanitarian crisis so dire that Gaza was predicted to be uninhabitable by 2020. Israeli provocations, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric against the Palestinian people and their leadership were on the rise, one reinforcing the other. Provocations also continued against holy sites, especially in Occupied East Jerusalem, most notably at Al-Haram al-Sharif.
Moreover, the Israeli Government, led by the most extreme members of the Prime Minister’s coalition and aided and abetted by the Israeli justice system, had feverishly advanced discriminatory laws and racist policies, he said. “The reality is that Israel is in grave breach of all — not just some — of its obligations under international humanitarian law,” he added. The human toll of that unrelenting dispossession, military occupation and colonization was incalculable. The occupation had also caused enormous damage to the rule of law and perceptions about justice. He noted the Human Rights Council’s report on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian territories, adding that the report reflected the illegality of the occupation.
He called on Member States to uphold international law and affirm support for the Palestinian people, and ensure that they did not in any way comply with Israel’s illegal actions. Such efforts should finally lead to a day when the international community stops commemorating the tragedy and instead begins building a just peace for a better and secure future. It was a simple equation, he said, adding that Israel could not continue to be treated as a law-abiding member of the international community, as it trampled the United Nations Charter and resolutions. The United Nations had a responsibility to redress the injustice and ensure accountability, which “continued to be delayed at best, denied at worst”.
He welcomed international efforts to achieve a just and comprehensive peace, whereby the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, could live side by side with Israel, based on the pre 1967 borders. He expressed gratitude to the United Nations and its agencies for the humanitarian, socioeconomic, developmental and moral support that had helped sustain the Palestinian people through decades of conflict. “The people of Palestine will not disappear, nor will they surrender to a dismal fate,” he said. They wanted peace but peace could not coexist with injustice, occupation, colonization and apartheid.
DANNY DANON (Israel) said that, with each resolution they adopted and vote they cast, Member States “choose between peace and war, progress and decay, hope and despair”. Today, the Organization had once again made the choice to debate the so called question of Palestine, taking turns targeting Israel including through their empty votes in favour of the annual text. Recalling that, on 29 November 1947, the United Nations had taken a vote to determine the fates of two peoples living in the same land, he declared: “For one of those peoples, it was a moment that turned an age-old dream of self-determination into a real-life miracle.” However, “for the other, the result of the vote triggered an aggressive and lasting hatred”.
Stressing that the United Nations had made the right choice on that day in 1947 — thereby correcting a historic wrong — he noted that Jews and Arabs had at that time been presented with the chance to build successful and prosperous communities, living side by side. “The Jews said yes, but the Arabs said no,” he stated, emphasizing Israel’s decision over past decades to choose the path of prosperity and peace. Israelis had worked to help others, always seeking to repair the world. But their Palestinian neighbours had sought the exact opposite, and had done nothing but try to harm Israel. “The Palestinians are not anti Israel because of borders or governments,” he said, but “because of who we are”. They had never accepted the existence of a Jewish State in the Holy Land. Palestinian leaders had never tried to improve the lives of their people and always blamed their situation on Israel.
Offering the Palestinians a new set of propositions, he said that every $1,000 they chose to spend supporting terrorists and their families could instead be used to fund a high-tech startup, sponsor a Palestinian student, build cultural centres or encourage development, rather than destruction. The Palestinians made those choices every day, regrettably choosing devastation and despair over progress, peace and prosperity. Citing the Palestinians’ 2005 opportunity to develop the Gaza Strip following Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the area, he said what could have become the next beach resort destination had instead been neglected and even become a haven for terror. The current state of Gaza could not be blamed on the Europeans, the Americans, the Arabs or the Israelis, as it was a “self-inflicted wound”. As long as Hamas used innocent Palestinians as human shields and deprived them of basic human rights, Gaza would remain imprisoned by its own brutal leaders.
Hamas terrorists also continued to attempt to destroy cities, he continued. While that group — an internationally recognized terrorist organization — worked to kidnap and kill Israelis, the Palestinian Authority had agreed to work with them. Still, Israel had not lost hope, and stood ready to negotiate. Having built a vibrant and multicultural society, where all people enjoyed equal rights and protections under the law, the country’s people were free and their hearts and minds were open. “We seek peace and we dream big,” he said, stressing that the Palestinians would not be able to better themselves simply by worsening Israel.
MISHAAL K. ALBANNAI (Kuwait) said the Palestinian people were dreaming of breaking their shackles and yet Israel’s “savage” policies continued as the occupying Power confiscated land, expanded illegal settlements and deprived Muslims of the right to practice their rituals. Israel’s policies, its siege on Gaza and the various restrictions it imposed on the movement of persons aimed to undermine any and all opportunity for a two State solution and perpetuate the occupation. The question of Palestine was a question of all civil people under occupation. The inhumane and illegal siege on Gaza was a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. He urged the international community, through the Security Council, to provide the Palestinian people with international protection and to immediately put an end to the occupation. He further urged the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility to support the “fair cause” of the Palestinian people. “We have to work hand in hand,” he underscored.
EZZIDIN Y. BELKHEIR (Libya) said the crisis had become part and parcel of the history of the United Nations, which had a responsibility to act in favour of all oppressed people. He asked: “In reality, what has the United Nations done for the Palestinian people?” The United Nations had adopted many resolutions calling on the State it established to end its occupation. Yet, the Israeli occupation had ignored each and every one of them. The international community had pressured the Arab world and tried to convince it to abandon its historic right to establish a Palestinian land. Given the fact that Israel would never reconsider its policies, it continued its occupation by adopting many “Judea izing” policies that could lead to chaos in the region and beyond. Israeli armed settlers were an attempt to portray the situation on the ground as a conflict between two civilian groups. He asked: “Will the international community stand by to allow Israel to continue its occupation for another 50 years?” Until the Palestinian people have a free and secure state, the international community must continue to pressure Israel to accept the Arab Peace Initiative and implement various Security Council resolutions, most notably resolution 2334 (2016). To those that say Libya must not make such statements as its own country was going through a difficult time, he said that the Israeli occupation was the cause of the spread of terrorism in the region.
SHIUNEEN RASHEED (Maldives) said that the question of Palestine would be answered with the establishment of an independent, sovereign State as called for in numerous United Nations resolutions. She called on Israel to implement those resolutions and to respect its legal obligations. There was a total disregard for said resolutions in Israel today, as it continued to designate the West Bank separately from Gaza and in fact considered it part of Israel. She wondered why Israel was held to a double standard when it came to the rule of law and respect for human rights, saying that international law was not selectively applicable. To achieve peace in the Middle East, Israel must join the international community in affirming the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, she concluded.
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar), recalling that 50 years had elapsed since the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land began, outlined several positive recent developments that heightened the hope of achieving peace in the region. Those included the signing of a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, she said, underscoring solidarity with the Palestinian people and its strong support for the two State solution. Calling on the international community to help grant the right to self-determination and the right of return to the Palestinian people, she also warned against all escalations of tension and condemned any attempts aimed at changing the character or legal status of the Al Aqsa Mosque. The Assembly’s annual resolutions on the Middle East and the question of Palestine reflected the seriousness of the issue and called on Israel to end its illegal actions, she said, adding that the texts also underlined the invalidity of its occupation of the Syrian Golan. In the context of the current conflicts and crises across the Middle East — including the spread of terrorism — it was critical to address the root causes of conflict.
OLUKUNLE BAMGBOSE (Nigeria) aligned himself with the African Union and called on the international community to find peaceful solutions in the Middle East by paving the way for Israel and Palestine to return to negotiations. He supported efforts to have the Palestinian Authority assume responsibilities in Gaza. The international community must persevere in finding a resolution to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which threatened international peace and security. The Israelis and Palestinians should make a genuine effort to return to the negotiating table, he stressed. He encouraged Israel to freeze settlement activities and the Palestinians to signal their readiness with internal unity and by addressing their own security challenges.
MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN (Argentina) reaffirmed his strongest support for a peaceful two State solution to the Palestinian question based on relevant United Nations resolutions. Reasserting the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, he expressed concern about the persistent and continuous growth of illegal Israeli settlements that only served to perpetuate an unstable status quo. At the same time, attacks against Israeli citizens were unacceptable, he stressed, also condemning all terrorist actions. Even though progress on the issue was made in Cairo earlier this year, he noted with concern the excessive use of force by Israeli forces. Turning to East Jerusalem, he said any effort to deny the historical meaning of the city to Jews, Muslims and Christians was completely unacceptable.
MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil) underscored that the General Assembly could and should contribute to the implementation of the two State solution in all its aspects. In accordance with international law and the United Nations Charter, Brazil rejected the acquisition of territory through the use of force. The existence and expansion of Israeli settlements in Palestine, including East Jerusalem, as well as the retroactive legalization of some of those settlements, were an obstacle to the viability of the two State solution and to peace in the region. Brazil hoped that the intra Palestinian agreement, signed in Cairo on 12 October, would help immediately alleviate the grave humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip by facilitating the lifting of the blockade and allowing unimpeded access to humanitarian aid and reconstruction efforts.
YASUHISA KAWAMURA (Japan), listing some of the major challenges facing the Middle East and North Africa, said his country had worked to deal with those issues as a member of the Security Council for the past two years. Regarding the question of Palestine, he stressed that Israel’s continued settlement activities violated international law and called on it to immediately freeze such activities, which eroded the two State solution. Escalating tensions at holy sites in recent months were another stark reminder of how violence could snowball into a larger crisis. Condemning all acts, incitements and glorification of violence, he called on both sides to take concrete steps to reverse those negative trends. For its part, Japan was providing long-term support in the region, including through the Jericho Agro Industrial Park and its flagship “Corridor for Peace and Prosperity” initiative, which involved cooperation with Israel, Jordan and Palestine. “This is not to say that economic development is an alternative to a future Palestinian State,” he said. Instead, the goal was to generate mutual trust leading to meaningful dialogue between the parties.
KHIANE PHANSOURIVONG (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) expressed deep concern about continued Israeli settlement expansion, which destroyed Palestinian property, homes and economic development. It also violated international humanitarian and human rights law, impeded the peace process and opportunities for negotiations and peaceful resolution. He also expressed worries about the plight of Palestinians suffering under the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which could lead to a humanitarian crisis if it continued unabated. He called upon the occupying Power to lift the blockade and facilitate unimpeded humanitarian relief. His delegation strongly supported relevant United Nations resolutions and the Quartet Roadmap, which envisaged a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
TAREQ MD ARIFUL ISLAM (Bangladesh) said that his Government remained profoundly concerned about the illegal occupation and humanitarian plight of the Palestinian people. The United Nations should pursue lasting, just solutions to all protracted crises, which posed serious threats to international and regional peace and security. The continued breaches of international humanitarian law and systemic human rights violations had led to a rise of a culture of impunity in the Occupied Palestinian territories, he highlighted, stressing that the occupying Power continued to inflict violence on the Palestinian people. The illegal settlements and the construction of the wall around Jerusalem were being deliberately pursued to fundamentally change the demographic of the territories, he said, adding that international protection was needed for those Palestinians who continued to face collective punishment.
NABEEL MUNIR (Pakistan) said the dark shadows of Israeli occupation of Palestine had only lengthened in time, and Israel continued to defy logic, morality, international law and global public opinion with impunity. He echoed the call by the Committee that the path to a negotiated peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue was predicated on an end to illegal Israeli occupation, the realization of the rights of the Palestinian people and the achievement of the two State solution. The role of the Security Council remained crucial, he said, adding that only through a full implementation of its resolutions on Palestine, can the Council strengthen its own credibility and further the ideal of global peace and security. The political reconciliation forged between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo last month offered fresh reason for hope and optimism. It not only restored political unity within the Palestinian ranks, but also provided renewed strength and vigour to the legitimate cause of the Palestinian people.
AMEIRAH OBAID MOHAMED OBAID ALHEFEITI (United Arab Emirates) said that her country had and would always fully support the Palestinian people and would continue to promote their right to establish a Palestinian State on their land based on the borders of 4 June 1967, with Jerusalem as the capital. She denounced the continued and unjust Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories and condemned Israel’s violations of international law as well as relevant Security Council resolutions. Such illegal practices posed a major obstacle to all international efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace and they undermined the two State solution. To address the suffering of the Palestinian people, the international community should provide assistance in education, health, food and infrastructure. She reaffirmed the United Arab Emirates’ support for the recent reconciliation agreement in Cairo and asked for reinforced regional and international efforts to ensure that Israel complied with its legal and international obligations.
JAMAL FARES ALROWAIEI (Bahrain), underscoring his country’s support for the Palestinian people and for all efforts to achieve the two State solution leading to peace and prosperity in the Middle East, said Israel’s continued settlement activities and human rights violations constituted flagrant violations of that country’s international commitments. Such actions would only lead to more tension and violence, threatening international peace and security, he warned. Expressing support for the two State solution, as pursued through the Arab Peace Initiative and similar plans, he went on to condemn the more than 10 year old blockade of Gaza as well as Israel’s settlement expansion, its desecration of the holy Al Aqsa Mosque and other racist, discriminatory schemes aimed at obliterating Jerusalem’s Islamic character. “This is the day to day reality of the Palestinian people for decades,” he stressed, voicing support for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s recent decision to place the city of Hebron on its list of heritage sites and calling on the international community to shoulder its responsibility to help the Palestinian people return to their homeland.
SIMA SAMI BAHOUS (Jordan), emphasizing that the two State solution as pursued through the Arab Peace Initiative was the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, recalled that Arab countries had reiterated their commitment to that plan at a high-level summit in October. Indeed, Arab States had always stressed the need for Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian land, cease its settlement activities and reverse its discriminatory policies against Palestinians. However, the most important need was for Israel to respect international law. The question of Palestine, therefore, was not just critical for the Palestinian people, “but to us all”. Outlining Jordan’s consistent efforts to meet the legitimate needs and aspirations of the Palestinians — and its support for the resumption of serious peace negotiations — she warned that failure to reach a just solution would have regional and international consequences, leading to further extremism. Welcoming efforts aimed at fostering dialogue, including those proposed by the United States and Egypt, she called on all Member States to provide funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) before the end of 2017, as supporting such critical humanitarian activities was a responsibility for all people.
RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said that Israel continued to receive support and protection from hegemonic powers aimed at preventing the creation of a State of Palestine by any means, while carrying on one of the longest military occupations of all time. Some 50 years since the occupation of Palestinian territory began and 10 years since the start of the brutal blockade against Gaza, the human rights situation of the people in Palestine continued to worsen due to the actions of the occupying Power, which had inflicted pain, misery and tragedy on generations of people. Without doubt, the occupying Power intended to continue its practices with impunity. Illegal settlement activity continued, despite a Security Council resolution that had called for an end to such activities. Resolution 2334 (2016) was a milestone decision, he said, but until it was accompanied by concrete actions leading to the occupying Power complying with its provisions, its impact would be lessened and it would simply be one more document that was being ignored. The Security Council must live up to its responsibility to find a solution to the Palestinian question. Flagrant human rights violations and crimes against Palestinian men and women continued, even though they had done nothing more than affirm their right to their lands. The international community could not continue to be a passive witness to the situation in Palestine, he emphasized.
TANMAYA LAL (India) said his country was working with Palestine on several development projects, including the Palestine India Techno Park, Palestine Institute of Diplomacy in Ramallah and India Palestine Centre of Excellence in Information and Communications Technology in Gaza. Those multimillion dollar projects would contribute to long-term development capacity-building. India was also collaborating with fellow developing countries Brazil and South Africa to support projects in Palestine through the India, Brazil and South Africa Fund. The Fund, implemented in association with the United Nations Office for South South Cooperation in New York, was a unique form of solidarity and cooperation. Of five projects now completed, three were slated for inauguration next month. Two of them — Al Quds Hospital and Atta Habib Medical Centre — were located in Gaza.
FERIDUN H. SINIRLIOĞLU (Turkey), voicing support for a negotiated settlement that would lead to the establishment of an independent State of Palestine within the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, emphasized that only such a solution would provide a just, comprehensive and lasting peace while also achieving the Palestinians’ inalienable rights and ensuring security for both sides. Israel’s practices in contravention of international law, particularly its systematic expansion of settlements, eroded the viability of the two State solution; that country’s provocative actions targeting the status and sanctity of Al-Haram al-Sharif were not helpful for the possibility of a peaceful coexistence. “All of these combined breed desperation, alienate and radicalize people, and fuel extremism in the region,” he stressed. Welcoming developments towards reconciliation and unity among the Palestinians, he said Palestine was “doing its part” and Israel must now do the same. The international community should ensure the recognition of the State of Palestine by more countries and provide political and financial assistance to UNRWA.
AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) highlighted that his country had recently managed to bring the Palestinian leadership together in signing the reconciliation agreement, which sought to end existing political divisions. He called on the international community to take advantage of the historic opportunity that had been presented through the signing of that agreement and help bring about a two State solution. Both the Israelis and Palestinians would continue to have a claim to the Holy Lands, he said, emphasizing the importance of finding a rational solution. Settlement of the dispute was not impossible, he said, and in that connection, the United Nations had a crucial role to play. The existing United Nations resolutions created an important context and framework which could finally allow for a just settlement of the dispute, through direct negotiations by both parties.

Source: United Nations

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