Agenda Item 35: Question of Palestine

Statement by Mr. Ahmed Fazeel, Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives

United Nations, New York, 30 November 2016

Thank you Mr. President,

The Republic of the Maldives wishes to express its continued 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, as well as the Committee for the commendable work in the discharge of their mandate.

The Republic of Maldives expresses its grave concern regarding escalating tensions in Palestine, following the report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. This report characterized the further deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem during the reporting period from October 2015 to October 2016. The report also raised serious concerns about the protection of civilians, including children.

Mr President,

We have observed a series of worrying events and trends emerging since the upsurge in violence that began in October 2015 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. During the escalation of violence, more than 230 Palestinians and 32 Israelis had been killed. In addition, the report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict issued in April 2016, also highlights the increasing number of Palestinian children arrested and detained by Israeli occupying forces and prosecuted by juvenile military courts in the West Bank. At the end of 2015, 422 Palestinian minors under the age of 18 were held in detention by the Israeli authorities, with at least 116 of those between the ages of 12 and 15. The response of the Israeli authorities to offences by Palestine minors is frequently with disproportionate and deadly force.

Mr President,

Violence begets violence. Situations of hopelessness, desolation and despair can only breed contempt that will eventually manifest in violence. Lasting peace will not, and cannot be assured unless the hope of a peaceful future is secured now for all the children of the region.

The Maldives condemns the continued use of administrative detention, punitive demolitions, movement restrictions and other measures continue to negatively affect the human rights of the Palestinian people on a continuous basis, as reported by Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory. The Israeli occupying forces continued to carry out frequent military raids and incursions injuring and killing hundreds of Palestinians including children with more than 6,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons and detention centers. Furthermore, the special rapporteur on violence against women, has noted that specific groups of women in Israel, including women from the Palestinian minority, asylum-seekers, and refugees face accrued and multiple forms of discrimination and heightened risk of violence.

Israeli authorities have repeatedly denied permission to the request by the Special Rapporteur to conduct a mission to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In addition, the Special Rapporteur noted in his report A/71/554, that the two preceding mandate holders were similarly not granted access. The Maldives affirms that these missions by the Special Rapporteur are essential to comprehensively and independently undertake a fact-finding mission towards constructing an analysis on the true human rights condition on the ground.

Mr President,

The Maldives notes with concern, the increasing house demolitions by the Israeli Military offensive in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and the new Israeli legislation being developed, which would enable the confiscation of privately owned Palestinian lands and legally repurpose more than 100 outposts in the occupied West Bank for Israeli settlement.

Enacting this legislation could violate international law, while undermining the Palestinian right to self-determination, violate their rights to property, freedom of movement, and development. Similarly the situation in Gaza remains dire and there is an urgent need to recover and reconstruct the thousands of houses destroyed. However the continuing Israeli blockade of Gaza has prevented this long overdue reconstruction and continues to obstruct the movement of persons and goods including critical humanitarian aid. The Maldives therefore urges the UN community to identify concrete steps to remove this blockage and allow the improvement of such conditions.

The Maldives welcomes the continued work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East in the provision of emergency humanitarian assistance, in spite of serious financial challenges. In the last year relief was provided to over 1.2 million refugees primarily in the occupied Palestinian territory and Syria. And we urge the international community to support the organization in its humanitarian work.

Mr President,

Twenty-three years ago the first Oslo Accord was signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Both countries recognized each other and laid the groundwork towards a solution based on two independent States. However, the reality is that two years have passed since the process of negotiation had been interrupted leading to indisputable marginalization of the two-state solution.

The Maldives calls on all parties involved to work coherently to unblock the peace process. In order for the two states to coexist, making progress towards reconciliation without preconditions is essential. The Maldives is a firm supporter of the two state solution recognizing the sovereign and independent State of Palestine, based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and encourage the resumption of direct negotiations between the parties in order to achieve lasting peace.

On 29th November, the countries of the world come together to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. The Maldives urges the international community to move beyond rhetoric towards enacting steps towards concrete, lasting peace in the region, to stand in support with the Palestinian people.

Thank you.