Second Committee of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Agenda Item 60: Permanent sovereignty of Palestinian people in Occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and of Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.

Statement by:

Mr. Hassan Hussain Shihab, First Secretary

New York, 4 November 2014

Mr. Chairman,

Let me start by thanking the Secretary-General for the comprehensive report A/69/81 submitted for consideration under this agenda item.

Mr. Chairman,

The Maldives has continuously spoken out against discrimination and unequal treatment of vulnerable people. Each year my delegation raises its voice on the plight of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the Occupied Syrian Golan.

In July this year, we saw the continuation of this discrimination by the horrendous attack on Gaza causing numerous deaths and destruction.  The aftermath brought further deterioration to the poor living conditions of the daily Palestinian life.  Every such wave of aggression and brutality has significant and dire impacts on the social and economic sectors as well as the Palestinian natural resources and the environment.

The Secretary-General's report clearly highlights that the Israeli occupation has entailed institutionalized discriminatory measures, including laws, policies and military orders. Israeli government was reported as continuing to carry out numerous violations of international law and UN resolutions. The Report notes the accelerated construction of Israeli settlements, the construction of the wall, the exploitation of Palestinian natural resources, the increased demolition of homes, economic institutions, agricultural lands and infrastructure, and the revocation of residency rights of Palestinians.  Israel's continued policy of closures and severe restrictions on the access to goods and persons in particular the Gaza blockade are underscored as a distinct collective punishment to the Palestinian people.

Mr. Chairman,

The persistent discriminatory allocation to such basic needs as water is appalling. Currently Israel controls 100 percent of the Western Aquifer Basin and abstracts 94 percent of its water, while Palestinians abstract only 6 percent. The Secretary General's Report reveals that approximately 1 million Palestinians in the West Bank consume 60 litres of water per capita per day or less, significantly below the WHO recommendation of 100 litres per day, while Israeli settlers consume six times that amount. In Area C, approval is required from the Israeli civil administration, even for such small-scale projects as wells and rainwater collection.

The Secretary General further notes the deterioration of food security with an estimated 57 percent of households being food insecure. The public health system in Gaza remains fragile, dependent on donor aid which can be affected by the closer of the borders. The blockade has led to the stalling of investment in educational infrastructure in Gaza. There is a shortage of schools with an estimated 250 new schools being needed in 2012. An estimated 10,000 Palestinian students in the West Bank attend classes in tents, caravans or tin shacks, with minimal protection from the heat or cold. Students and teachers are vulnerable to harassment, threats and violence on their way to and returning from school, and at times while at school, by Israeli settlers and Israeli security forces. This is the level of discrimination that are practised and reinforced through policy adversely affecting each and every Palestinian in the occupied territory.

In his Report, the Secretary General documents Israel's illegal occupation of the Syrian Golan, and its continuous expansion of settlement activities while at the same time, exploiting natural resources there. Syrian residents of the occupied Syrian Golan continue to suffer from discrimination in terms of access to land, housing, basic services and water allocation.

Mr. Chairman,

The plight of the Palestinian people can only be solved with the end of occupation and the recognition of the State of Palestine.  The Maldives believes wholeheartedly in a two state solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side and at peace.  The Palestinian people have a right to self-determination, the establishment of an independent State based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and sovereignty over their territory and resources.

Thank you.