Statement by H.E. Riad Malki, Foreign Minister of the State of Palestine, before the Security Council Open Debate, 26 October 2020

Mr. President,

At the outset, I wish to thank Your Excellency Deputy Minister Vershinin for presiding over this meeting and for the leadership role of Russia in the pursuit of Middle East peace. Let me also thank my brother Mohamed Ali Nafti, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, and H.E. Dang Minh Khoi, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, for participating in this meeting. I also wish to thank Mr. Mladenov for his briefing and efforts.

Mr. President,

It is time to drop the old talking points.

It is ridiculous to claim that the Palestinians “never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity”, when in fact the PLO signed an agreement with Israel just months after the start of the first ever negotiations between the two sides, despite all the shortcomings of those accords, which history has proven.

It is preposterous to consider that Israel’s right to security could justify its occupation and oppression of an entire nation for decades, or justify denying us our right to self-determination and to a sovereign and independent State, and or justify denying our own right to security.

It is absurd to claim that it is the Palestinian side that does not want negotiations, when Israel is the one trying, on the ground every single day, to illegally preempt the negotiations on all final status issues.

It is ludicrous to claim that the obstacle to peace is Palestinian intransigence, when our positions are actually aligned with the international consensus and the resolutions of this Council, while Israeli positions and policies are flagrantly in breach of international law and UN resolutions.

The parties identified final status issues that should be negotiated based on internationally-agreed terms of reference and parameters by 1999. Here is Netanyahu’s stance on these issues: Jerusalem, including occupied East Jerusalem, shall be Israeli. Illegal settlements shall remain in place. Refugees shall remain refugees. Israel shall continue to control our borders. Israel shall control all of the Jordan Valley and with it most of our natural resources. These positions are contemptuous and unlawful, and they translate into a simple truth: Israel does not want to end its illegal occupation, it wants to make it permanent. And we are the ones labeled ‘intransigent’?

It is time to abandon the failed recipes of the past.

We cannot allow Israeli unilateralism to prevail while the world continues calling for bilateral negotiations.

It is no longer enough to call on parties to negotiate, this call must be accompanied by measures to incentivize respect for obligations and to dissuade from illegal unilateral actions.

It is no longer enough to say settlements are illegal, one must ensure accountability, distinction and non-assistance.

It is no longer enough to speak of a two-State solution, it must be accompanied with the recognition of the State of Palestine and support to its sovereignty over the territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.

We could have tried to find answers to Israel’s violence through violence, to be heard and considered relevant. We did not.

We could have adopted a disruptive behaviour, since constructive behaviour is underrated these days. We did not.

We could have contributed to transforming this political conflict into a religious one, fueling it so we are not the only ones to feel its flames. We did not.

Despite decades of Israel’s oppressive policies, and of measures aimed to bring us to our knees, politically and financially, President Abbas called in his message to the General Assembly, as he has before this Council, the UN Secretary-General to undertake, in cooperation with the Quartet, mandated by this body to advance peace, and the Security Council, preparations to convene an international conference, with the participation of all concerned parties, early next year, to engage in a genuine peace process, based on international law, UN resolutions and the relevant terms of reference.

This call is the ultimate demonstration of our commitment to peace and to a path based on inclusion not exclusion, legality not illegality, negotiations not diktats, multilateralism not unilateralism. I know many of your countries have already expressed support to President Abbas’s initiative and we look forward to continue working with all of you to see it materialize, including through meetings of this Council, such as this one held during Russia’s presidency. 

Mr. President,

Israel decided, only under pressure, to freeze its plans for formal annexation of areas beyond occupied East Jerusalem. But it has not renounced its decades-long policy aiming to control maximum Palestinian land with minimum Palestinians, in other words maximum Palestinian geography with minimum Palestinian demography. Its de facto annexation continues with the advancement in recent days of 5000 settlement units deep into the West Bank, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem. The international community must act to salvage peace, or we will all bear the consequences.

As long as Israel does not bear the cost of occupation, and instead continues reaping its benefits, it will never negotiate in good faith. The international community must address the shortcomings of the past, by linking its relations with the parties to their respect of their obligations under international law and the peace process, by helping them reach an agreement and implementing it and by enforcing a binding timeframe.

The international peace conference can generate the necessary momentum and mobilize the international community at large to help the parties negotiate a peace agreement that will forever change our region. Anything else is volatile, and it is futile.

Two-third of our people were forced into exile, and we did not surrender. Tens of thousands were killed, and we did not surrender. Hundreds of thousands were displaced, and we did not surrender. The equivalent of half of our male population, over 800,000 Palestinians, was arrested and we did not surrender. What makes anyone think we would surrender now?

Israel often wonders why we enjoy such international solidarity. It is because former colonial powers and liberation movements alike know these colonial policies well: violence, subjugation, intimidation, mass arbitrary imprisonment, discrimination, humiliation, fragmentation of the land, confinement of the occupied people, expansion of illegal settlements, exploitation. They cannot support such actions. History has taught them better.

The international consensus, UNRWA’s mandate and role, the Palestinian people’s resilience have all been sorely tested. And yet they prevail. It is now time to take the initiative. There isn’t a people too many in the Middle East, there is an independent state missing. You cannot solve the Middle East equation by denying this fundamental factor. You cannot end this conflict without freedom for the Palestinian people, and our freedom will never be compatible with Israeli soldiers in our streets, Israeli drones in our skies and Israeli control over our borders.

Ask Maher Al-Akhras who has been on hunger strike for over 90 days to denounce, at the peril of his life, the most arbitrary form of detention, the so-called administrative detention, ask Amer Snobar, barely 18, and beaten to death yesterday by Israeli soldiers who had apprehended him and kept hitting him on his head and neck with the butt of their rifles until he could no longer breathe, ask the mother of the child killed on his way to school, the athlete whose leg was amputated after a sniper acted as if he was playing a videogame, the owner of a house built by years of sweat and destroyed in an instant, and the farmer whose crops were burnt by settlers, they will all tell you “we will not coexist with occupation”. We want to end occupation, so we can coexist, so we can know justice, so we can be free, so our region can know true peace and security.

Thank you Mr. President.

Statement of Solidarity and Appreciation to the City of New York from 167 UN Member States and Permanent Observers upon the initiative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

As the world faces its gravest test since the founding of the United Nations, and countries grapple with the devastating consequences of COVID-19, we all recall the very reasons for joining this Organization. The existence of the United Nations stems from our understanding that global peace, prosperity and security cannot be achieved without global solidarity. COVID-19 stands as undeniable evidence that now, more than ever, we must work together to overcome the challenges we face.

New York City has been the home that has welcomed and nurtured collective action against global challenges. It is in New York City that multilateralism has found its most comprehensive expression. It is in New York City that the headquarters of the United Nations stand as our collective voice for peace, prosperity and solidarity.

Today this great city of New York is facing one of its biggest challenges in decades. COVID-19 has hit the City hard. Thousands of innocent lives have been lost. Thousands are struggling with the disease. The thriving, vibrant life of New York City has been disrupted.

We are fully confident that New York will overcome this crisis. New Yorkers will triumph over this challenge and will emerge stronger, more resilient. The heart of the City will beat stronger with determination, with achievement, with hope and with the promise of a better tomorrow.

We, members of the United Nations, stand in full solidarity with New York City and its great people.

We extend our deep appreciation and gratitude for the Heroes and Sheroes of New York City, who put their lives at risk every day, to save our own. Without the dedication and courage of New Yorkers: leadership, healthcare workers, police, fire fighters, and brave essential workers, this time of uncertainty would have been far more difficult. We salute them all.

We offer our deepest condolences for the loss of life that New York City has endured from the virus. Those who passed will remain in our hearts and prayers. Our thoughts and prayers are also with those who are battling this vicious disease.

We, the representatives of our Nations to the UN, have come to know the spirit of New York City. We know the strength of its people. We know that New Yorkers will win over this vicious enemy. We share our commitment, and stand in unity with the City of New York as we collectively work to defeat this unconventional enemy. And we will defeat it.

THANK YOU NEW YORK CITY

April 19th, 2020

Member States and Permanent Observers that have extended support to the Statement:

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Albania
  3. Algeria
  4. Andorra
  5. Angola
  6. Argentina
  7. Armenia
  8. Australia
  9. Austria
  10. Azerbaijan
  11. Bahamas
  12. Bahrain
  13. Bangladesh
  14. Barbados
  15. Belgium
  16. Belize
  17. Benin
  18. Bhutan
  19. Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
  20. Bosnia and Herzgovina
  21. Botswana
  22. Brazil
  23. Bulgaria
  24. Burkina Faso
  25. Burundi
  26. Cabo Verde
  27. Canada
  28. Central African Republic
  29. Chad
  30. Chile
  31. China
  32. Colombia
  33. Comoros
  34. Congo
  35. Costa Rica
  36. Cote d’Ivoire 
  37. Croatia
  38. Cuba
  39. Cyprus
  40. Czech Republic
  41. Denmark
  42. Djibouti
  43. Dominican Republic
  44. Ecuador
  45. Egypt
  46. El-Salvador
  47. Equatorial Guinea
  48. Eritrea
  49. Estonia
  50. Fiji
  51. Finland
  52. France
  53. Gambia (Republic of The)
  54. Georgia
  55. Germany
  56. Ghana
  57. Greece
  58. Grenada
  59. Guatemala
  60. Guinea
  61. Guyana
  62. Haiti
  63. Honduras
  64. Hungary
  65. Iceland
  66. India
  67. Indonesia
  68. Iran (Islamic Republic of)
  69. Iraq
  70. Ireland
  71. Israel
  72. Italy
  73. Japan
  74. Jordan
  75. Kazakhstan
  76. Kenya
  77. Kuwait
  78. Kyrgyzstan
  79. Lao People’s Democratic Republic
  80. Latvia
  81. Lebanon
  82. Lesotho
  83. Liberia 
  84. Libya
  85. Liechtenstein
  86. Lithuania
  87. Luxembourg
  88. Madagascar
  89. Malawi
  90. Malaysia
  91. Maldives
  92. Mali
  93. Malta
  94. Marshal Islands
  95. Mauritius
  96. Mexico
  97. Micronesia (Federated States of)
  98. Monaco
  99. Mongolia
  100. Montenegro
  101. Morocco
  102. Namibia
  103. Nauru
  104. Nepal
  105. Netherlands
  106. New Zealand
  107. Nicaragua
  108. Niger
  109. Nigeria
  110. North Macedonia
  111. Norway
  112. Oman
  113. Pakistan
  114. Palau
  115. Panama
  116. Papua New Guinea
  117. Paraguay
  118. Peru
  119. Philippines
  120. Poland
  121. Portugal
  122. Qatar
  123. Republic of Korea
  124. Romania
  125. Russian Federation
  126. Rwanda
  127. Saint Lucia
  128. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  129. Samoa
  130. San Marino
  131. Saudi Arabia
  132. Senegal
  133. Serbia 
  134. Sierra Leone
  135. Singapore
  136. Slovakia
  137. Slovenia
  138. Solomon Islands
  139. Somalia
  140. South Africa
  141. Spain
  142. Sri Lanka
  143. Sudan
  144. Surinam
  145. Sweden
  146. Switzerland
  147. Syrian Arab Republic
  148. Tajikistan 
  149. Thailand
  150. Timor – Leste
  151. Tunisia
  152. Turkey
  153. Turkmenistan
  154. Uganda
  155. United Arab Emirates
  156. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  157. United Republic of Tanzania
  158. Uruguay
  159. Uzbekistan
  160. Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
  161. Viet Nam
  162. Yemen
  163. Zambia
  164. Zimbabwe

Permanent Observers:

  1. The European Union
  2. The League of Arab States
  3. The State of Palestine

Statement by H.E. Dr. Riyad Mansour, Minister, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, before the United Nations Security Council, “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine Question”, 18 December 2019

Madam President,

I congratulate you for assuming the Presidency of the Security Council during this month. We thank the UN Special Coordinator, Mr. Nikolay Mladenov, for his presentation of the report of the Secretary General, and the briefer for her testimony.

Madam President,

As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Christmas, Palestinian Christians joined them in decorating trees, singing carols, and praying for peace in the holy land and across the globe. But the reality of occupation did not spare them, even in this special period of the year. Palestinian Christians from Gaza were barred by Israel from celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the two twin cities separated for the first time in history by a shameful wall.

As Palestinians prepare to welcome another year, their ordeal is nowhere close to an end. They continue to fear for their lives, for their families, for their homes and for their future. And yet, they find everyday the courage to persevere. They remain steadfast in the face of adversity and carry the hope to live and thrive on their own land, in dignity and freedom.

Madam President,

Allow me to draw here a map of our reality. Two words can summarize it: “Confinement” for Palestinians. “Expansion” for illegal Israeli settlements. The members of the Council may have in mind when I say the word confinement, and rightly so, the two million Palestinians besieged in the Gaza Strip. But Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have also been confined to the areas where they already lived in 1967.

In the so-called Area C, which represents 60% of the West Bank, and includes the resource-rich Jordan Valley, only 1% has been planned for Palestinian development, while 70% of that area is included within the boundaries of the regional councils of illegal Israeli settlements. Similarly, only 13% of East Jerusalem is zoned for Palestinian construction, much of which is already built-up, while 35% of land in East Jerusalem has been confiscated for Israeli settlement use.

The purpose of this policy is crystal clear: Acquiring maximum Palestinian land with minimum Palestinians. Illegal annexation of Palestinian land is not an unexpected result of the Israeli occupation, it is its overarching objective.

Madam President,

The Security Council adopted three years ago its resolution 2334, reaffirming the international consensus regarding just and lasting peace based on international law and identifying the obligations of the parties and of the international community at large. Had there been enforcement and accountability, I assure you the report of the Secretary General today would be extremely different. But instead, Israeli exceptionalism and impunity continued, emboldening Israel to pursue and entrench its illegal occupation, to the detriment of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights. Peace requires fulfilment of these rights and certainly not acceptance of their continued denial.

Madam President,

This morning, the General Assembly is adopting the resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State. This resolution garners the support of over 90% of the UN membership. Is this support an expression of a bias against Israel? Can resolutions about Palestinian rights, the peaceful settlement of the conflict, a shared Jerusalem, or against Israeli settlements be characterized as anti-Israel?

The General Assembly’s resolutions regarding Palestine are firmly rooted in the UN Charter, international law, human rights and the resolutions of this very Council. And yet, it is cynically called biased and one-sided, with Israel’s representative calling the Assembly, i.e. the countries comprising it, “morally bankrupt”. The General Assembly is more universal and representative today than at any point in history, so Israel can not celebrate resolution 181 and commend the General Assembly for adopting it 70 years ago, while dismissing all other resolutions adopted since. Israel’s very selective approach to UN resolutions and international law, claiming rights and dismissing obligations, should never be condoned nor encouraged.

The claim that the UN passes a disproportionate number of resolutions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a distortion that dismisses key facts and context. Any reference to the number of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly on the Palestine question must be seen in the context of the paralysis of the Security Council when it comes to this conflict. There lies the real imbalance, the real bias.

In the past decade, out of 636 Security Council resolutions, only 2 were adopted on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. TWO – 1860 (2009) and 2334 (2016). Likewise, out of 271 Security Council Presidential Statements in the past decade, only 3 PRSTs concerned Palestine/Israel. THREE. 

So claims that the UN is singling out Israel through an inordinate number of resolutions is selective and misleading at best, biased at worst, because such claims ignore the situation in this Council, where the opposite is true and any effort to address Israel’s blatant contempt of international law, the authority of the Council and its resolutions, including 2334, as just conveyed once again in the Secretary-General’s report, is obstructed.

The Security Council did not adopt any resolution regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict under Chapter VII – even though more than 50% of the resolutions adopted regarding other conflicts in these past 10 years have been under Chapter VII and even as the situation demonstrates the necessity for such endeavor.

The fate of the region lies to a great extent in the capacity of the international community to demonstrate that the international will to achieve peace is stronger than the Israeli will to colonize Palestinian land. We call on the Council and all States to act now to advance accountability and justice, freedom and peace, for the sake of the Palestinian people, the Israeli people, and future generations, for the sake of regional and global peace and security and the international rules-based order.

Madam President,

Before concluding, I wish to take a moment to convey our deep appreciation to the members of the Security Council whose terms will soon end and to recognize their service with principle and distinction throughout their tenures. We congratulate and thank Kuwait, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Peru and Poland.

Thank you, Madam President.