Dr. Ibrahim Zuhuree, Deputy Permanent Representative, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives
on the Question of Palestine
28 November 2023
Thank you, Mr President,
My delegation extends our profound appreciation to the Secretary-General for his detailed report on the agenda item "Question of Palestine," documenting the prolonged struggle of the Palestinian people.
This longstanding issue, marked by the Palestinians' suffering, demands our urgent attention for a comprehensive and just resolution that considers its complex historical, political, and humanitarian aspects.
As we mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People this year, my delegation wishes to convey the following message from the newly elected President of the Republic of Maldives, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Muizzu,
"I firmly reassert the unwavering support of the people and the Government of the Maldives to the people and the Government of the State of Palestine in their legitimate right for full sovereignty and to live in peace with safety and security."
The Maldives strongly condemns the ongoing brutal occupation and collective punishment of innocent Palestinian civilians. Indeed, the current Israeli-Palestine conflict did not start on October 7, 2023. For over 56 years, Israel has caused immense humanitarian, social, and economic suffering for millions of Palestinians, especially women and children. And as we speak, we are confronted with a dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Israel's war against Gaza has led to the tragic loss of over 14,000 lives. The Israeli Defence Force has continued to intentionally target civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, and shelters which has forced many Palestinians to leave their homes. These actions by Israel seriously violate international humanitarian law.
Israeli actions in occupied territories must not be exempt from international and humanitarian law or the authority of the Security Council as well as strong condemnation of this Assembly. We firmly believe that the rule of law should be applied equally to all countries, regardless of their size or influence. Those responsible for flagrant violations of international law and international humanitarian law must be held accountable for their actions. Therefore, the Maldives calls on the International Criminal Court to investigate possible war crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.
This Assembly reconvened its Tenth Emergency Special Session last month, where a landmark resolution was adopted, urging resolute action to halt violence against innocent civilians in Palestine. Today, almost a month after the resolution was adopted, we reiterate the resolution’s call for an immediate, enduring, and sustainable humanitarian truce in Gaza, the provision of essential supplies and medicine, and an end to mass forced displacement in the Occupied Palestine Territory. Following the adoption of this resolution, we are encouraged by the accelerated actions to find solutions to the crises.
My delegation also welcomes the adoption of UNSC Resolution 2712 on November 15, 2023, which urges immediate and extended humanitarian pauses in Gaza and the unconditional release of hostages. We strongly support the Council's call for all parties to uphold their responsibilities under international law, including international humanitarian law to prioritize the protection of innocent civilians.
We commend Qatar's role, and other countries, in mediating an agreement for an extended humanitarian truce. Now, the international community must work tirelessly to implement this truce and ensure a way forward that averts the resumption of this conflict, leading to a permanent ceasefire. Every minute of the truce helps deliver essential supplies to millions enduring this humanitarian catastrophe. Every minute of the truce prevents regional spillover and protects the lives of dedicated humanitarian workers. Every minute of the truce helps to release hostages and saves the lives of civilians, particularly women and children.
The Maldives commends efforts of the WHO to evacuate 151 critically ill patients and 31 babies in critical condition from the besieged Al-Shifa Hospital. This is just one example that highlights the urgent need for unimpeded humanitarian access. The Maldives joins the international community in paying tribute to the sacrifices of the humanitarian aid personnel, including UNRWA staff, who put their lives on the line to alleviate the suffering of vulnerable populations in acutely dangerous conditions. We urge the international community to support UNRWA more robustly.
The administration of President Dr Muizzu, and the Maldivian people, will remain steadfast in supporting the establishment of a free and independent Palestine. We remain steadfast in our unwavering commitment to the Palestinian people in pursuing their inalienable rights, including their right to self-determination. We call on the international community to continue to urge Israel to end the illegal occupation of Palestine immediately and return the lands seized forcefully and to stop the illegal settlements. To stop the assaults on the lives and dignity of people in Gaza, in the West Bank, and everywhere in the occupied territory. And to recognize Palestine as an independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital within pre-1967 borders.
The Maldives reiterates its call for the Member States of the United Nations to uphold the UN's Charter, international human rights and humanitarian law, and support the inalienable rights of the Palestinians. We urge the Member States to increase efforts to restart the peace process seeking a long-term solution, where peace reigns.
Mr President, my delegation reiterates our call on UN members to recognize Palestine as an independent state and support its full UN membership. The plight of the Palestinian people should be a global priority, and we urge the international community to strengthen its resolve to end the violation of human rights and the suffering of the people of the State of Palestine.
I thank you, Mr. President.