H.E. Ambassador Ahmed A. Al-Jarman
The Permanent Representative
I have the honor on behalf of the delegation of the United Arab Emirates to express to Your Excellency our thanks and appreciation for your stewardship of this important meeting, I would also like to acknowledge the tireless efforts exerted by His Excellency, Ambassador Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
We meet at this time each year to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People and renew commitment to the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People, in particular their right to self-determination and establish their independent state like all peoples. You may remember that November 29 is the day on which the General Assembly adopted Resolution No. 181 of 1947 which divided Palestine into two states and led to the occurrence of the plight of Palestine in 1948, which resulted then in the loss of thousands of Palestinians of their homeland.
Today, after more than six decades of the issuance of this decision, we find that this case remains unresolved and it is going through a critical and very serious stage in spite of all international and regional sustained efforts made so far for its settlement, including the recent intensive efforts sponsored by the United States which resulted in resumption of direct talks between the Palestinian and Israeli sides on the second of last September after seven rounds of indirect primary talks. But soon thereafter we have seen these talk are hampered, as an inevitable result, of the ongoing illegal settlement activities pursued by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Palestinian territories. The most serious activities were reflected in the construction of more than 600 housing units in 60 illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the last General Assembly in spite of the decision announced by the Israeli government last November to freeze settlement activities. Israel also started building about two thousand new settlement units within the last hours before the expiry of this decision, bringing the total number of Israeli settlements in the West Bank to 144 settlements, mostly located in the occupied East Jerusalem.
This expansion of Israeli settlements raises serious concerns at the regional and international levels, in particular because it is based on demolition and confiscation of Palestinian houses and territories, which they inherited from their ancestors, and the displacement and expulsion of further numbers of original Arab inhabitants, especially in East Jerusalem. A testimony of that is the serious information indicated by the recent statistics of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs which confirmed that 242 Palestinian houses have been demolished in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank by the Israeli government.
The aggressive Israeli acts against the Palestinian people are not only limited to the serious expansion of illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories and transfer of Israeli settlers to these settlements, but they have gone to include repeated military incursions into Palestinian territories, placing restrictions on the movement of Palestinian citizens and illegal detention, granting impunity to radical settlers who are responsible for acts of violence against the Palestinians, continuing the blockade of the Gaza Strip, blocking repair, maintenance and rebuilding plans of Palestinian homes and institutions destroyed during the Israeli war against Gaza in 2009, including the blocking of infrastructure projects relating to electricity networks and sewage treatment plants as well as educational, health and social institutions which are supervised by the UNRWA, and other United Nations programs and international organizations.
Therefore, the United Arab Emirates, which renews its strong condemnation of all these rejected Israeli practices, as they are considered a flagrant violation of the provisions of the UN Charter and international law as well as international legitimacy resolutions and international humanitarian law especially the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, wishes to express its concern about the continuing inability of the international community in addressing these violations and their serious consequences.
While we reaffirm the primary and joint responsibility of the United Nations and its specialized agencies towards resolving the question of Palestine, we demand in particular the Security Council and the Quartet members to shoulder their responsibilities towards addressing the Israeli violations, and adopting a set of procedures and concrete measures to pressure Israel and compel it to implement the relevant international resolutions, including those calling for halting its illegal settlement campaign in the Palestinian territories, removing the separation wall, and ceasing measures of extreme violence and closures and the siege imposed by Israel against the Palestinian people, in order to prepare the right climate for resuming direct negotiations in compliance with its obligations under the principles of Oslo Conference, the understandings of Sharm el-Sheikh, the methodology of the road map, and other relevant United Nations resolutions.
While we look forward to see Israel abide by its recent decision to withdraw from the northern part of the Lebanese Al Ghajar village in accordance with resolution 1701, we wish to emphasize that a just, permanent and comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian question and the Middle East problem can be achieved only through a full and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from all the Palestinian and Arab territories it has occupied since 1967, including Al-Quds Al-Sharif, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese area of Shaba, and through the fair settlement of the Palestinian refugee problem, and halting daily repeated breaches of Lebanese sovereignty.
In this regard, we hope that peace efforts being made currently are strengthened towards the reinvigoration of Arab-Israeli peace negotiations in the region, in fulfillment of commitments under international law and the resolutions of international legitimacy and in accordance with the principle of land for peace based on 1967 borders and the Arab Peace Initiative to achieve the systematic vision of establishing two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure borders and mutual recognition, to bring stability, prosperity, cooperation and development to the people of the entire region.
In conclusion, the UAE, which will continue its support for the Palestinian people and its National Authority led by President Mahmud Abbas in its endeavors towards putting an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine, calls upon the international community to increase all kinds of support, including political and economic support, to alleviate the humanitarian suffering of the Palestinian people and enable them to rebuild and reconstruct their national institutions. We hope that all members vote in favor of the draft resolutions under agenda items related to the Palestinian question and the situation in the Middle East.
Thank you, Mr. President.