Statement by the Republic of Maldives
On Agenda Item 65: Permanent Sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources
New York, 26 October 2015
Thank you Chairperson,
Few weeks ago, we have witnessed a beautiful moment in the era of history, where the Palestine flag was raised in the United Nations Headquarters. The raising of Palestine flag is not only historic, but it a momentous step forward that will pay the way towards the recognition of Palestine Statehood which would indeed be a milestone in the quest for the realization of the right to self-determination by the Palestinian People. It was a moment of hope.
I would like to thank the Secretary-General for the comprehensive report submitted for consideration under this agenda item, which once again confirmed that the continued occupation, the excessive use of force, settlement expansion, property destruction and exploitation of natural resources, not only violates the rights of the population, but also exacerbates their social and economic conditions.
Every year we gather in these very chambers to voice our unwavering support to our Palestine friends. Another year has passed, yet it’s with sadness we bear witness to new and continuing atrocities by those who choose to promote violence, hatred and fear. Distresses have been especially escalating regarding some of the measures and policies, particularly regarding the violations of the principle of non-discrimination and the right to self-determination of the Palestinian People.
Many question why a so-called “political” issue is being discussed in a committee that primarily talks about development. But we ask you: without sovereignty over your land, your natural resources, how can you determine policies for developing them? As we have determined in the 2030 Agenda, how can there be development without peace, and peace without development? When you are subject to a different legal system based on your religion, when you are treated differently in terms of civil status, rights and legal protection, where will you go to get justice against exploitation of your natural resources? So it is relevant to talk about these issues here: because development cannot be achieved by thinking about it in silos, but by thinking about it holistically.
As the Secretary General clearly highlights Israeli discriminatory policies and practices have included causing the deaths and injuries of civilians, including children, women and peaceful demonstrators, all of whom must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law. The report notes that in 2014, the Palestinian civilian death toll was the highest recorded since 1967. The Maldives strongly condemn the policies include the illegal settlement enterprise, collective punishment and disregard for human life and dignity, which affect all aspects of Palestinian society and economy.
The 2014 offensive in Gaza exacerbated the environmental conditions in the Occupied territories. Regular offensives have resulted in the territory being in a perpetual state of destruction, that has severe environmental impacts, such as the severe lack of water, and risks to public health.
The Secretary General’s report particularly notes the situation of water in the Occupied territories. The already alarming situation has not deteriorated with the only natural water source in Gaza being over exploited and contaminated with seawater and sewage. The Gaza offensive further damaged the water networks, placing the already vulnerable population under further risk. In the West Bank, Israel controls nearly all water resources, with the daily share per capita of water consumption nearly seven times that of Palestinians. This has led to situations where some communities are living on one-fifth of the 100 liters per capita per day recommended by the WHO. In the Occupied Syrian Golan, the situation remains dire, with Israeli settlers enjoying disproportionate benefits in terms of water and agricultural resources.
The situation of water is but just one example of the numerous ways that the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian territories and the Syrian Golan are being exploited.
Health risks have also intensified? from increased air pollution due to the heavy bombardment and remnants of explosive materials, which has also contaminated land and soil. Tight controls over work and entrepreneurial activities
We call on Israel to stop all actions harming the environment in the territories under its occupation, as well as its destruction of infrastructure, including water pipelines, and sewage and electricity networks. We are profoundly dismayed by the persistence of serious human rights violations by Israel. The Maldives remains firm in its condemnation of the illegal actions and constant provocations and human rights violations by Israel, the occupying power, that are relentlessly occurring in the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.
The Government of Maldives reiterates its strong and steadfast support for the rights of the Palestine, including the need for a two-state solution, as a fundamental step towards safeguarding the human rights of the Palestinian people and finally providing them with the right to self-determination. We call on an end to this shameful occupation that continues to exist 7 decades after we reaffirmed our faith in the equal rights of men and women, and of nations large and small, our united purpose to the principle of self-determination.