Archives for February 2021

4 February 2021 – Remarks by H.E. Minister Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, at the first annual meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People

Excellencies,

Mr. Secretary-General António Guterres

Chair of the Committee, Ambassador Cheikh Niang of Senegal

Vice-Chairs of the Committee Bureau, Afghanistan, Cuba, Indonesia, Namibia, Nicaragua

Members and Observers of the Committee

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasures seeing you all, nearly a year since we last met in person.

I am honored to address you on behalf of the State of Palestine and wish to reaffirm our gratitude to the Chair and Bureau and all Members and Observers of the Committee for their steadfast support for our just cause and the pursuit by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights. Your principled solidarity is deeply appreciated and needed now more than ever and we are ready to fully cooperate to implement the Committee’s forward-looking programme of work for 2021.

Mr. Secretary-General, we are honored by your presence at our meeting today and thank you for your strong support to the Committee. We deeply appreciate your dedication a just and lasting peace and your tireless advocacy, consistently striving for an active and meaningful role for the United Nations, as per its Charter and in implementation of its resolutions, the foundations of a peaceful solution.

Excellencies, Dear Friends,

The past year brought immense challenges and changes for the international community, sparing no one and deepening existing vulnerabilities, inequities and suffering around the world. For the Palestinian people, bearing the burden and hardships of decades of occupation, oppression and displacement, those challenges and changes have been even more trying and painful.

As the international community confronts the COVID-19 pandemic and array of other crises, from poverty and hunger, to climate change, to conflicts and the grave humanitarian, socio-economic and security consequences they are wreaking, the goal of ‘building back better’ must be broad and inclusive. We appeal that Palestine not be the exception to these lofty goals.

As we look towards the future, we must learn the lessons of the past to redress all that has diminished multilateralism and undermined respect for international law, not only impairing our collective abilities to overcome prevailing crises, but exacerbating them.

Building back better makes it imperative to revive global cooperation to address the greatest challenges. The UN clearly remains at the center of these efforts, which must include action to resolve protracted conflicts and prolonged injustices – the longest on the UN agenda being the Palestine question, whereby an entire people is being deprived of the freedom, rights, dignity, equality and the peace and security that all peoples yearn for and are entitled to.

This Committee is the essence of multilateralism and the commitment to international law as the keys for resolving this conflict. The foresight of those who preceded us and established the Committee in 1975 should be recognized, for long before us they sought peaceful, diplomatic means, in a spirit of dialogue, collective responsibility and action, as the path for a just solution.

That same spirit is what is most needed today and being widely summoned to tackle other urgent global issues based on the rule of law and our common values and goals. So, we regret the dismissal and even maligning of this Committee by some – including by false accusations of bias or being anti-Israeli – denying to it the support it deserves for its positive, peaceful, multilateral mandate, as enshrined in the relevant General Assembly resolutions.

So, today we once again urge all States to support and cooperate with the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People as we seek together to realize peace. We need to mobilize collective efforts to achieve a just solution that guarantees the rights of the Palestinian people and establishes lasting Palestinian-Israeli peace and security.

The basis of that solution is reflected in the longstanding international consensus, a consensus that  remains strong despite cynical attempts in recent years to undermine and dismantle it. It has been repeatedly reaffirmed in this Assembly and in the Security Council, most recently at the high-level debate of 26 January convened under the Presidency of Tunisia, with the broad calls for serious efforts to bring an end to the Israeli occupation since 1967, to achieve the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders in accordance with international law and the relevant UN resolutions, and to realize the rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and including a just solution for the Palestine refugees on the basis of General Assembly resolution 194 (III).

We have the tools to achieve these noble goals. General Assembly resolutions and Security Council resolutions over the decades, including resolution 2334 of December 2016, have set forth the terms of reference and parameters for a just solution that have global backing. What is missing is the will.

We appeal today for:

  • the will to learn from past mistakes and avert repeated failure;
  • the will to uphold the law in all circumstances and to hold Israel, the occupying Power, accountable for its flagrant and systematic violations – whether settlement colonization of our land, displacement, collective punishment and blockade of our people, or racist, discriminatory policies that amount to apartheid – with a view to ending them and the suffering caused to the Palestinian people and to salvaging the two-State solution;
  • and the will to implement UN resolutions, without exception or bias, for the promotion of human rights and a just peace and security.

We appeal to the international community to act. We urge you, Secretary-General, to continue your efforts to mobilize international action, including in terms of UN engagement within the Quartet and with regional and other partners, including for the convening at the earliest possible date of an international peace conference, as called for by President Abbas, to revive a credible process to justly resolve the Palestine question and realize Palestinian-Israeli peace.

We welcome the appointment of your new Special Coordinator and Special Representative, Mr. Tor Wennesland, and are ready to work with him as well to address the needs of the Palestinian people at this critical moment, in cooperation with UN agencies on the ground, and to overcome the persistent impediments to peace. We call for international support for these efforts, including urgent funding for UNRWA, to address the dire situation on the ground, alleviate hardships, and restore hope.

Excellencies,

There are those who say that the problems are too many, the obstacles too great and that now is not the time for grand initiatives for peace. Such views contradict the mandate and purpose of this Committee and indeed the purposes and principles of the UN. For those denied their freedom, rights and dignity – the essence of human existence and survival – nothing is more urgent. How can we ever say that the time is not right to protect human rights, to end conflict, to make peace?

We appeal to all to join us in working for a just solution that will allow the Palestinian people to fulfill their inalienable rights, including to self-determination and the independence of their State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side on the basis of the pre-1967 borders with Israel and all of its neighbors in peace and security, a peace that will be the true cornerstone of peace and stability in the Middle East.

In closing, I wish to again thank the Secretary-General for joining us today; to congratulate the Chair and Bureau on their re-election; and to reiterate our thanks to the Committee, as well as the Division for Palestinian Rights, for their tireless efforts in support of and solidarity with the Palestinian people; and also all the States, intergovernmental organizations and civil society groups extending their support to the Committee and solidarity to our people, looking forward to working with all of you to revive hope and make real progress towards a more just and peaceful future.