His Excellency Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed, Foreign Secretary of the Republic of Maldives
Open Debate of the Security Council
on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
22 October 2015
It is an honour to speak before you today on an issue of profound importance to the Government and people of the Maldives. I would like to extend my thanks to His Excellency José Manuel Garcia-Margallo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and President of the Security Council for the month of October, for convening this timely debate on the question of Palestine. My delegation wishes to further express our sincere appreciation to Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for his recent visit to the region, which is yet another in the series of visits, in continuation of his tireless efforts in search of peace.
In two days time, we would be marking the seventieth anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations. The UN has been a force for good for the entire humanity. It has helped in ending conflicts and in making peace. It has saved millions of people from oppression, from colonialism, and from military occupation. Yet, the UN has been helpless in ending Israel's subjugation of Palestinians. Israel's continued illegal occupation of Palestine epitomises a deep malaise in the international system that we have to address.
For decades the international community has sought the realization of a two-state solution, reaffirmed by UN resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Oslo Accords, the Arab Peace initiative, and the Quartet Roadmap.
These efforts attempt to succeed against a system of institutionalized occupation and apartheid. It tries to alter the mind-sets of generations who have grown up under occupation, whose reality is one of fear, hatred and violence. These efforts have failed a people, a nation, a region, and the entire international community.
The recent violence that has broken out in Jerusalem and across the occupied territories paint a bleak picture. In the past weeks, we have seen violence and counter-reprisals escalate sharply. That the Old City in Jerusalem has been shut down to Palestinians is clear illustration of the gravity of this moment. The sanctity of Haram-al-Sharif must be restored: granting Palestinians their rightful access as a first step to further the peace process. Israel must stop altering the Islamic and Arabic character of the city.
Each year, thousands of Israeli settlers move into the occupied territories illegally. The combination of increasingly belligerent political rhetoric, coupled with the enforced physical and demographic changes to the occupied Palestinian territories continually reduce the chances for peace, the window for which is steadily closing.
The Secretary-General, on his current trip to the occupied Palestine highlighted this, when he said "what is missing, is the resolve to restore a political horizon for talks, and a political process that delivers real results and hope." It is the sad reality that today there is an absence of hope, that despair has grabbed hold of a people being left with nothing to lose. And the conditions for further violence are being fermented.
It is not a coincidence that the second intifada broke out six weeks after the collapse of the Camp David Summit, nor is it an accident that violence broke out last summer following the collapse of the US-led peace effort. In the absence of hope and in the face of oppression, there is only violence and hatred. Such hatred has bred extremism, fostered radicalism, and has consumed the entire region.
The Maldives has repeatedly called for the community of nations to be more vigilant in addressing the issues of borders, refugees, settlements, and Jerusalem, in search for comprehensive and sustained peace. The Maldives reiterates its support for the full recognition of the State of Palestine, independent with its pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. We have underscored the importance of greater involvement by the international community, particularly, this Council, in the settlement of a negotiated peace.
And once again the Maldives urges the Security Council to fulfil its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. We urge the Council to take firm measures necessary to end Israel's illegal occupation of, and its apartheid practices in, Palestine. It is time that the Council demand the end of the illegal occupation and the oppression of Palestinian people. The United Nations must take the lead in steering the peace process from passive rhetoric to pragmatic action.
The right to life in peace is as much a right for each and every Palestinian, as it is for each one of us here.