Statement delivered by 

HE Dr Ali Naseer Mohamed, Permanent Representative  

at UNSC Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Question of Palestine

18 October 2018 

I thank you, Madam President, 

I wish to thank Bolivia for convening today’s Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Question of Palestine.  

It has been more than half a century since the General Assembly recommended a two-State solution with clearly defined borders between the State of Palestine and Israel.  

This Council, through Resolutions 476 and 478 (1980), declared that Israeli occupation of Palestine, as illegal; the annexation of the Holy City of Jerusalem as illegal; the shifting of the Israeli capital to Jerusalem as illegal. The Council also declared it illegal for any country to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and therefore shifting Embassies to Jerusalem is illegal. Through the Resolution 2334, the Council called upon Member States to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territories of the State of Israel and the territories of Palestine, occupied since 1967 as well as reaffirmed the illegality of Israeli occupation and settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  

And yet, the Question of Palestine continues to remain unsettled. As responsible members of the international community, all States, especially the key players in the conflict, must uphold the letter and spirit of the Resolutions that the Security Council adopts. The legitimacy of this Council is fundamental to the credibility to the United Nations and the maintenance of international peace and security. Just last month, Israel’s High Court rejected a petition to prevent the demolition of a village in West Bank, which will result in the displacement of hundreds of people. This will not only leave them homeless but without a livelihood, without a school for their children and without access to basic healthcare.  

As the people of Palestine continue to live in unjust conditions in their own homes, we have heard the international community on many occasions, calling upon the people of Palestine to be resilient. If we continue to just express sentiments, instead of holding those accountable for multiple breaches of international law and international humanitarian law, we are masking our own failures and abandoning our responsibility to the people we claim to help.  The Maldives has always believed that an independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its Capital, established on the 1967 borders, living side-by-side, in peace and harmony with Israel, is the best, and the only solution to the conflict. We call on Israel to fully implement the Resolutions of this Council and respect the legal obligations under the United Nations Charter. We all must act in good faith and respect the international norms that we have forged to sustain peace in the Middle East. 

In Syria, we are in the seventh-year in the conflict and one of the crucial moments in Syria’s north-west Idlib province, where an outbreak of conflicts will result in the worst humanitarian catastrophe of this century. In such an event, more than three million people will be displaced with nowhere to seek shelter, find food or access to healthcare. It is our view, that all actors involved in the conflict should prioritise the fundamental human rights of the people affected, over and above anything else, and to allow humanitarian relief for those who need it most. 

The already complex conflicts in Middle East are being worsened by terrorist groups who are inflicting destruction and tearing the social fabrics of the societies in the process. They do not recognise borders, do not distinguish between the young, or old, women or men, nor respect any religion or culture. We must tackle the enabling factors of terrorism through international cooperation, sharing of information, and through strategies that focus on combating violent extremism. 

The Security Council, can and should act to address the conflicts in the Middle East. We urge the Council to use the tools and mechanisms that are already in place within the United Nations system to pursue dialogue, and to resolve these conflicts. The Government and the people of the Maldives will always support a peaceful and a lasting solution to the Question of Palestine, and to the conflicts in the Middle East.

I thank you Madam President.