Plenary of the 70th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
On Agenda Item 38: Question of Palestine
Statement by His Excellency Mr Ahmed Sareer,
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations
New York, 23 November 2015
Thank you Mr. President,
The Republic of the Maldives wishes to express its appreciation to His Excellency Mr.Fodé Seck, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations and Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for commendable work and for the report submitted for our consideration. I also would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report under this agenda item.
The Republic of Maldives expresses its concern with regards to the continuing ill treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli occupying forces. My delegation would like to reiterate its unyielding support for the people of Palestine in their quest for peace.
As we mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations this year, we commemorate its historic achievements, including the promotion of international peace and security, global development gains and the enhancement of fundamental human rights all over the world. However, one particular issue has cast a shadow over all these achievements throughout the organization's illustrious history. The issue of Palestine is a constant reminder of the failure of both the United Nations and the international community to resolve this flagrant injustice. The Security Council has adopted numerous resolutions on the situation of the State of Palestine, and yet the conflict remains unresolved. This Assembly has been presented with reports in abundance on the illegal Israeli practices and policies that blatantly violate international law, yet the occupying power is not held accountable and its impunity remains unchecked.
That the UN Security Council draft resolution (S/2014/916), calling for a final status agreement and an end to the Israeli occupation by the end of 2017 failed in its adoption is indicative of this organization's inability to make any substantial headway on this issue. We urge the Council, finally after seven decades of inaction, to take firm measures necessary to end the occupying power's ongoing brutal practices which deprive inalienable rights of the people of Palestine. The United Nations must take the lead in steering the peace process from passive rhetoric to pragmatic action, because justice can no longer be delayed.
Each year, thousands of Israeli settlers move into the occupied territories illegally. In only the first half of this year, Israel already startedthe construction of nearly 1300 structures and completed almost 1500, even in East-Jerusalem, which constitutes a violation of international law. Just last week, 17 Palestinian-owned homes in five communities in Area C and East Jerusalem were demolished, displacing 27 people, including 12 children. According to the occupying power, these homes which have stood for decades did not have the appropriate building permits.
The Secretary General's report confirmed once again that "the physical destruction caused by the Israeli occupying forces, included destruction and severe damage caused to thousands of homes, schools, businesses, hospitals, United Nations facilities, and civilian infrastructure." The Report further went on to illustrate how over a half a million Palestinians were displaced, how many, including children were killed, and how not a single home that was destroyed has been rebuilt due to Israel's blockade and import restrictions. These actions of the occupying power not only violate the rights of the population, but also exacerbate their social and economic conditions. It is due to Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian civilian population, that the most protracted refugee problem in the world, of 5.3 million people, has been constituted.
According to the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the near east (UNRWA), all 12 Palestine refugee camps and all 560,000 registered Palestine refugees in Syria have been affected by the ongoing and deadly conflict. The continuous and immediate need of humanitarian aid for and the protection of the majority of the 450,000 Palestine refugees remaining in Syria, who are now internally displaced, is substantial. One third of UNRWA facilities in Syria, which once functioned as safe havens for the Palestinian refugees, have been demolished. UNRWA has indicated that Palestinian refugees have fled to Lebanon and Jordon, but due to budgetary implications they are not able to provide all necessary humanitarian aid. Thus, now more than ever it is imperative that the illegal occupation on the Israeli forces in the occupied territories must come to an end.
The Palestinian people, including women and children, have been exposed to years of perpetual violence and continuing oppression. Generations have been denied fundamental human rights. These are conditions which facilitate the proliferation of radicalization across the region. The Palestine situation cannot be perceived as an isolated matter. The challenges the region face, undermines the whole peace and security situation in the Middle East, and the world at large. Last week the Secretary-General's Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process highlighted how destabilization resulting from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has clear inter-linkages with the global threat of terrorism, including the horrific attacks in the recent past. In this light, the Maldives calls upon United Nations as a whole, the Security Council in particular, and the international community to steer forward the peace process in a more urgent manner.
The Republic of Maldives firmly reaffirms its position that sustainable peace can only be maintained through the two-State solution, recognizing the sovereign and independent State of Palestine, based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Further, we call for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from all territories it has occupied for decades.
On 30 September this year, the Maldives was heartened to see the raising of the Palestinian flag at the United Nations Headquarters. The raising of the flag gives us hope, a forward movement in the quest for the realization of the right to self-determination by the Palestinian People.
Once again the Maldives stresses the need for the United Nations to fulfil its legal, political and moral responsibility to realize a lasting and comprehensive solution to the question of Palestine, in accordance with the UN Charter, international law and the Security Council resolutions.
Thank you Mr. President.