Statement by Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, at the United Nations General Assembly Vote on the Draft Resolution (A/69/L.87/Rev.1) on the Raising of Flags of Non-Member Observer States (Item 120: Strengthening of the United Nations System), 10 September 2015:

Mr. President,

On behalf of the State of Palestine, I am honored to address the General Assembly following its historic vote and adoption of the resolution on the raising of flags of non-member Observer States at the United Nations, namely the flags of the State of Palestine and the Holy See.

We are grateful to all of the Member States that supported this resolution and convey the deepest appreciation of the Palestinian people and their leadership for the honorable position they have taken on this most meaningful issue for our people. We also express special thanks to the cosponsors of the resolution for their consummate support for this initiative, consistent with their abiding support for the just cause of Palestine. The positive votes of Member States today constitute a reaffirmation of the longstanding, principled position of the international community in support of a just, lasting, comprehensive and peaceful solution to the question of Palestine and in support of the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and independence. 

The General Assembly has today sent an important message to our people that cannot be underestimated, for it comes at a very critical time in their long journey for freedom and dignity.

The Palestinian people are in despair as they continue to suffer under Israel’s nearly half-century foreign occupation and as more than 5 million Palestine refugees in camps throughout the region continue to endure repeated tragedies, all awaiting the realization of their rights. Hopelessness is dramatically rising as Israel, the occupying Power, persists in the illegal colonization and siege of our land and the cruel subjugation of our people, and as the political process remains stalled and turmoil, conflict and extremism are spreading in our region, undermining faith in the rule of law and the international system and in the prospects for peace.

Yet, even in the midst of these grim realities, we are proud to say that the will and spirit of the Palestinian people has not been broken. And, at this critical moment, as they have come to the international community once again peacefully appealing for support of this symbolic yet significant step to raise their national flag at the United Nations, we are grateful that this appeal has been so rightly fulfilled.

Today’s vote is a reaffirmation of the legitimacy of the national aspirations of the Palestinian people, of their existence among the nations of the world and their right to self-determination, to be a free people in control of their lives and destiny in their own independent State. The General Assembly’s adoption of this resolution will help to restore some hope to our people and leadership as they continue on the peaceful, non-violent, political, legal path – which they have chosen and remain committed to against all odds – to fulfill the rights of the Palestinian people, achieve a just and sustainable peace, and secure Palestine’s rightful place among the community of nations.

It is another step towards fulfillment of the promise of independence made to the Palestinian people nearly seven decades ago and repeatedly thereafter, yet which remains unfulfilled to the present day. It is another step towards redress of this historic injustice.

Today’s vote is also a contribution to the international efforts to salvage the two-State solution based on the pre-1967 borders and in accordance with the relevant resolutions of this United Nations and the Arab Peace Initiative; a solution that has been gravely damaged by the occupying Power, yet which we continue to strive for so that we may see the day when the State of Palestine and State of Israel live side by side in peace, coexistence and security, ushering the dawn of a new era in our region and in our global community.

Today – with your support for this peaceful and legitimate initiative – you have reaffirmed our people’s faltering faith in the international community’s commitment to their just cause and reaffirmed the centrality of the role of the United Nations in this respect.

Mr. President,

In 1974, the Palestine Liberation Organization, recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, received a standing invitation to participate in the work and sessions of the General Assembly as an observer. That was more than four decades ago. In 2012, this Assembly adopted its historic resolution 67/19 granting non-member Observer State status to Palestine. This resolution today is yet another significant step in affirming the international consensus in favor of Palestinian independence.

In this year of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, which has had the question of Palestine on its agenda since its inception, this step must be matched by concrete actions without delay and consistent with the relevant resolutions and the standing political, legal and moral responsibilities to end the occupation and achieve the rights of the Palestinian people and a peaceful settlement, all long overdue. The international community must rise to the urgency of this matter to advance peace in a region where all trends are tragically to the contrary. The Security Council in particular must uphold its Charter duties and cannot remain paralyzed, failing the cause of peace.

As we continue to exert all efforts towards that objective, we look forward with great anticipation to the day when the Palestinian flag will be raised at the United Nations – a moment that will surely be emotional and full of pride and unity for the Palestinian people. Of course, we know that raising our flag will neither end the occupation nor solve the conflict and we know that our application for admission to membership to the United Nations remains pending before the Security Council and that much hard work remains to be done. But raising the flag will signal to our people everywhere, who are watching us today, that their freedom is inevitable and that the international community supports them in their journey for justice, for their rights and for the independence of their State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.