Mr. President,

On this historic occasion in 1947, the General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II) on the partition of Palestine, thus, creating one of the most complex and elusive challenges that the modern world has faced so far. Yet again, we find ourselves in this very hall, lamenting the lack of progress in a now moribund peace process, and decrying the deficiency of international political will to help realize what was conceived all those years ago – a story of two states, a world where both Palestine and Israel could co-exist, within secure and recognized borders.

As we mark the ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”, I wish to reiterate the solidarity of my Government and that of all Maldivians, for the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination. Even in this difficult hour, as smoke rises from the ruins of Gaza, and the grave humanitarian crisis is once again laid bare for the world to see, the Maldives will not waver in its steadfast support for Palestine nor will it regress in condemning the serious injustices committed in the occupied territories, as recent as last week.

Mr President,

The Maldives welcomes the statement by the President of the State of Palestine; His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas delivered yesterday afternoon in the General Assembly. We commend his extraordinary vision, and his leadership of the Palestinian people in the face of an endless struggle for freedom.

My Delegation wishes to express its appreciation to the Secretary General for his efforts, in the compilation of the report in accordance with General Assembly resolution 66/17, we would also like to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for its report and the commendable achievements of the Committee over the past years.

The observations in the reports of the General Assembly once again demonstrate that a peaceful settlement to the Question of Palestine, and the wider Arab-Israeli conflict lies in a two-state solution`, living side by side on the basis of pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the shared capital of the two states. It also shows that efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement are being quickly eroded away by the lack of trust between the two sides to resume direct negotiations, as well as an alarming lack of confidence in the peace process itself.

Mr President,

The Maldives strongly backed the initiative by the Palestinians last year for full membership in the United Nations.We did so, while fully adhering to the view that it was long overdue for Palestine to be an equal amongst nations, and to join an international family that has passionately supported the struggle of all Palestinians.

Furthermore, we hold a strong belief in the conviction, that their right to self-determination must be fully realized. Statehood will bring a sense of leadership, responsibility and compulsion that surrounds the business of governance. The restoration of Palestinians rights would also alleviate to some extent their socio-economic problems, a crumbling infrastructure and decades of psychological and material damage endured under occupation.

While an independent, viable and sovereign State of Palestine is the ultimate objective; we believe that granting the status of a Non-Member Observer State in the General Assembly, is a landmark achievement. In this regard, my delegation was pleased to join the list co-sponsors on the draft resolution L.28, entitled “the Status of Palestine in the United Nations” that was adopted by this Assembly with an overwhelming level support and endorsement by the UN membership.

Mr President,

My Government hails the recent ceasefire that came into effect between Hamas and Israel. We commend the Egyptian Government, the United States and the United Nations for their exemplary leadership in preventing a further escalation of the crisis. Military strikes on highly populated areas in Gaza took the lives of many innocent civilians including women and children, while adding to the layers of destruction and rubble left by years of hardship, an illegal Israeli blockade and ground invasions in recent memory. We also call upon Hamas to cease all rocket attacks on the State of Israel, and to respect and uphold the ceasefire agreement to avoid further bloodshed and suffering.

Israel’s expansion of illegal settlements undermines peace efforts, and is at the crux of the current stalemate faced by the global community. Despite international outrage and a multiplication of calls to cease all settlement activity immediately, Israel as the occupying power, continues to operate with total impunity, making a mockery of international humanitarian and human rights law. The forced eviction of Palestinians, and the demolition of their homes to make way for Israeli settlers, could not be described as anything other than an outright and an illegal seizure of territory by an occupying power. In the interest of pursing meaningful negotiations and a lasting peace, the onus is on Israel, as the occupying power to demonstrate its obligations under international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, to cease all illegal settlement activity in the occupied territories.

Mr President,

In conclusion, I wish to reiterate the commitment of` the Government of Maldives to support all international efforts to seek a just and comprehensive settlement to the question of Palestinian Statehood, including all final status issues.

The urgency of achieving this crucial objective is evident, as the Palestinians find themselves surrounded by Arab freedom movements in neighboring countries. Both fight for common goals, a sacred belief that their destiny should be squarely in their own hands, and for a better world for future generations. Both also believe, that the responsibility to govern would bring pragmatism and accountability for their own actions.

The resolution that was adopted yesterday is an important step in that direction. It is time for the Palestinians to achieve statehood, and to decide their future free from occupation, intimidation and aggression.

I thank you Mr President.