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General Assembly - 63 Session - Question of Palestine
25 November 2008 / 10:55



H.E. Ambassador Ahmed A. Al-Jarman
The Permanent Representative




Mr. President

On behalf of the United Arab Emirates, I have the honour to thank His Excellency Ambassador Paul Badji, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, for the statement he made yesterday. I would also like to associate myself with the statement also delivered on that day by the Permanent Representative of Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Despite the passage of more than 60 years since the General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II) on the plan to partition Palestine into the States of Israel and Palestine, and more than 40 years since the adoption of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) on resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as the dozens of other international resolutions calling upon Israel to end its occupation of Arab and Palestinian territories, Israel regrettably, continues to refuse to abide by the will of the international community. To date, the Palestinian people continue to suffer under the yoke of Israeli aggression and occupation and to endure a worsening humanitarian catastrophe resulting from being deprived of their most basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

My delegation has studied closely this year’s valuable report of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (A/63/35). We are concerned about the serious and deplorable information it contains as regards the ongoing actions of the Israeli occupation army, including its military incursions and operations in Palestinian population centres, which have resulted in many deaths and injuries, as well as its deliberate acts of extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions. Israel’s actions also include the destruction of homes, public institutions and facilities, imposing a siege on the Gaza Strip and impeding the delivery of fuel, food and other humanitarian assistance — all of which threaten to cause a widespread humanitarian crisis.

In the period covered by the report, the Israeli occupation has also isolated Al-Quds and partitioned villages and cities of the West Bank through the use of barriers, military checkpoints and other obstacles. The occupation has also carried out a serious systematic campaign to confiscate Palestinian land and expand settlements and has continued to build the wall of separation deep into Palestinian territory. It is estimated that there is now Israeli infrastructure on 40 per cent of the West Bank, in blatant violation of the provisions of international law and contrary to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice calling for the immediate dismantling of the wall.

While strongly condemning those grave Israeli practices and considering them to be the main reason for the unprecedented deterioration in the socio-economic and humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, the United Arab Emirates would like to emphasize that the continuing impotence and silence of the international community vis-à-vis those violations has served to encourage the Government of Israel to continue its policies of aggression in the region and its determination to hold on to occupied territory and impose a fait accompli, at the expense of the rights and future of the Palestinian people. That is contributing greatly to the stagnation in the current political process between the Palestinians and Israelis in the context of the Annapolis understandings. It is also fostering an environment of frustration and despair among Palestinians, in the region and throughout the world.

Bringing about a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the Palestinian question requires that the United Nations, the Quartet and all others involved abide by their responsibilities in implementing relevant resolutions of international legitimacy. We therefore call on the Security Council to once again assume the role entrusted to it and to make every necessary effort to compel Israel, the occupying Power, to cease its aggression, withdraw from all occupied Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967 and enter into serious and time-bound negotiations to resolve the issue of refugees on the basis of resolution 194 (III) of 1948, as well as all other issues relating to settlements and final status issues, including the status of Al-Quds, borders, water and security. Those negotiations should also result in self-determination for the Palestinian people and allow them to achieve their legitimate aspirations, including the establishment of their independent State on their national territory, with Al Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, in accordance with the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative.

My Government believes that lasting comprehensive peace in the Middle East is indivisible and requires a just resolution of other outstanding Arab issues. That requires Israel’s full compliance with international legality, as well as demonstrating a serious desire for peace by resuming Israeli-Syrian negotiations to return the Golan to Syria and by respecting the sovereignty and stability of Lebanon by completely withdrawing from the Shab’a farmlands and the village of al-Ghajar.

In conclusion, the United Arab Emirates has always supported the Palestinian people and its just cause. It pledges to continue its humanitarian relief and economic assistance to help the Palestinians deal with the occupation of their homeland and to alleviate their daily suffering. My Government expresses its concern for the obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian assistance; it is also concerned about Israel’s policy of erecting closure obstacles and blockades at Palestinian crossings, as they only lead to greater deterioration of the humanitarian situation and deprive the Palestinian people of basic services. In addition, such policies have caused increased stagnation in the political process between the Palestinians and Israelis and undermined the outcomes of the Annapolis peace conference, thus deepening the state of despair and frustration in Palestine and in the region.

The United Arab Emirates calls upon the international community to provide the necessary protection for the Palestinian people and their border-crossings, support their institutions and to redouble all types of humanitarian and development assistance that have been pledged to the Palestinian Authority to enable it to undertake its responsibilities in reforming and building its national institutions.

By the same token, we back all regional and international efforts to force Israel to adopt a series of confidence-building measures, including full respect for the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized boundaries.