Dr. Hala Hameed
Ambassador at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations
at the General Discussion of the Second Committee
on Permanent Sovereignty of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the Occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources
16 October 2023
Thank you, Mr. Chair,
The people of Palestine are continuously and relentlessly pushed to an endless cycle of despair and destruction, with their very existence, identity and history under constant duress. Demolished buildings that were once joyous homes, and abandoned streets that were once full of life now bear witness to the enduring struggle of Palestinians over generations. In the face of this harrowing reality, the Maldives stands firm in its commitment to advocating for justice and peace in the region.
The Government of Maldives expresses its grave concern regarding the ongoing escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip. In these extremely challenging times, the Maldives reiterates the Secretary General’s urgent call to respect and protect civilians at all times and, to refrain from attacking civilian infrastructure.
We also echo the words of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and I quote, “We reject the practices of killing civilians or abusing them on both sides because they contravene morals, religion, and international law.” Unquote.
Furthermore, we express profound concern regarding the Israeli military's requirement for 1.2 million civilians in northern Gaza to relocate to its south within a mere 24-hour period, with an additional alarming 6-hour evacuation notice given to millions. This demand, made without any assurances of safety or the right of return, constitutes a clear violation of international law. The immediate reversal of this demand is of utmost importance.
These actions not only represent a grave violation of international law and international humanitarian law but also pose a severe threat to the lives of numerous innocent Palestinian civilians’ the majority of whom are children. The Maldives unites with the international community in unequivocally condemning these actions.
These indiscriminate attacks, which amounts to collective punishment, have already resulted in the loss of hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians, including women and children while leaving thousands more wounded. Furthermore, the attacks have inflicted significant damage on critical infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, United Nations facilities, residential buildings, and places of worship.
The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is increasingly distressing, with Gaza's humanitarian crisis worsening. The blockade must be lifted to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Medicines, food supplies and basic supplies need to be facilitated through humanitarian corridors to the people of Palestine. We must treat it with utmost urgency and act swiftly to address this dire situation or we might be too late.
We extend our appreciation to the Secretary-General for the comprehensive report on this agenda item. The report sheds light on the economic and social repercussions resulting from the prolonged occupation, depicting the increasingly destitute living conditions of the Palestinian people over many decades.
However, it is crucial to acknowledge that, at this critical moment, the situation in Gaza is a matter of survival with access to basic utilities such as fuel, water and electricity being cut off, with people fighting for their very existence and the most fundamental of human rights. It raises profound questions about our commitment to the "leave no one behind" principle. In light of these distressing developments, the Government of Maldives calls on the international community to take all possible measures to halt the ongoing attacks against innocent civilians.
Our commitment and unconditional support for the Palestinian people in their legitimate pursuit of their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination, remain unwavering.
We reiterate our call for a lasting and sustainable solution to the conflict which can only be achieved through the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State based on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
I thank you.