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 by H.E. Minister Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, before the United Nations Security Council, Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine Question, 21 July 2020

Mr. President,

We appreciate your presence among us today, which highlights the importance of the matter at hand especially at this critical juncture. We also express our appreciation as to Mr. Mladenov and to the briefers, Mr. Shikaki and Mr. Levy, for their important presentations.

Mr. President,

As we celebrate Nelson Mandela Day, we must honor, through action, the struggle Mandela dedicated his life to. As highlighted in the important vision presented by the Secretary-General in his statement on this occasion, Mandela devoted his life to fighting inequality and injustice, regardless of its sources, and in solidarity with all its victims.

This included solidarity with the Palestinian people, with Mandela stressing “We know too well our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. There is a reason why those who have fought against colonialism and Apartheid remain the strongest advocates of the Palestinian cause. They recognize the similarity of our chains, but also our common aspiration to freedom, and we are proud to have them by our side in our ongoing just struggle.

Mr. President,

In times of war and times of peace, Israel has relentlessly entrenched its control over Palestinian land and Palestinian lives. Immediately after the start of the 1967 occupation, it initiated its first illegal settlements. In 1980, even as it concluded a peace agreement with Egypt, it unlawfully annexed Jerusalem. In 1993, as we concluded the Oslo Accords, it decided to speed up its settlement activities, with the number of settlers now being 7-fold what they were at the time. During the 2nd Intifada, it built a wall to cement its de facto annexation, as pronounced by the ICJ.

Regardless of what the Palestinian people did, and of what the international community said, Israel never changed course. Whether there were negotiations or not, violence or not, international efforts or not, it pressed on, and impunity from accountability under the law guaranteed that the benefits of occupation would far outweigh its cost. Its strategic objective has never changed: grabbing maximum Palestinian geography with minimum Palestinian demography.

In a week from now, we will commemorate 40 years since the unlawful annexation of East Jerusalem. Since then, Israel has launched a full-fledged war against Palestinian presence in the City. It is a cold-blooded and systematic endeavor through a well-oiled machinery of illegal laws, policies and practices. Discriminatory zoning and planning has isolated Palestinians within 13% of their own City, the area of East Jerusalem already built-up in 1967. The occupying Power has created a coercive environment with constant home demolitions, revocation of residency cards, preventing family reunification, all designed to achieve the forcible transfer of Palestinians. It has closed down Palestinian institutions, continues preventing elections and regularly arresting the Palestinian Governor of Jerusalem.  Its settlers have besieged the City from inside out. It is a slow, silent and yet violent process of dispossession and annexation.

Since then, Israel has not declared its annexation of any other part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It feared the consequences of such action, especially given the strong international reaction to its decision, including by this Security Council, as witnessed in 1980 and again in 2017. It kept waiting for a crack in the international system to formalize what it had illegally advanced on the ground. It finally thought it had reached this long-awaited moment, where it could reveal its true and not so well-hidden intentions.

However, something happened in these last few weeks that, if furthered, may allow us to shift course towards peace. The firm positions expressed by so many governments, including Security Council members at Ministerial level, intergovernmental organizations, including the Arab League, EU, NAM, OIC, parliamentarians, civil society actors, legal scholars, independent human rights experts, the Elders, women leaders and peoples of conscience worldwide demonstrated the global commitment to justice and international law and human rights. It is a formidable international front against annexation and occupation and for peace that must be sustained.

Stopping annexation is a critical battle that we must win, but we should not forget the war that Israel has been waging for decades. Israel may abandon declaring de jure annexation, but it will not abandon its annexation plans. They are being implemented as we speak, one military order at a time, one demolished house at a time, one confiscated parcel of land at a time, one Palestinian family displaced at a time, one settlement unit at a time. 

The Prime Minister, the soldier, the settler, the bureaucrat, the parliamentarian, the judge in the military court, they all conspire towards that objective Israel has pursued obsessively: grabbing maximum Palestinian geography with minimum Palestinian demography.

The world cannot unsee what Israel has so starkly revealed. It has no intention whatsoever to end its 53-year occupation and make peace. Israel wants its illegality to be considered an irreversible reality, asking for recognition instead of displaying contrition. We tell Israel: what is irreversible, as Mandela said, is our march to freedom.

A people that has been uprooted from their homeland, dispossessed, exiled, occupied, colonized, annexed and deprived of their fundamental human rights cannot continue to be blamed for their plight and inability to bring an end to it, while they continue, against all odds, to seek a solution through the most peaceful, legitimate means, until now to no avail.

The South African Nobel Peace Laureate Chief Lutuli declared “Who will deny that thirty years of my life have been spent knocking in vain, patiently, moderately, and modestly at a closed and barred door? What have been the fruits of moderation? The past thirty years have seen the greatest number of laws restricting our rights and progress, until today we have reached a stage where we have almost no rights at all”.

We could, 27 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords, almost repeat what he said word by word. But we believe that the international community can and must reward moderation and sanction extremism before it is too late.

Mr. President,

Who are the rejectionists? Those adhering to UN Security Council resolutions or those violating them? Those accepting the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders or those destroying it? Those calling for international involvement, including through the Quartet and other multilateral efforts, to foster peace and hold the parties accountable, or those who seek endless “talks” with no results? Those who have presented maps and clear positions on all final status issues or those fleeing and violating any commitment?  

Who are the delusional ones? Those seeking just and lasting peace that ensures the rights, dignity and security of all, or those who believe that Palestinians must accept, after a century of struggle for freedom, to live in Bantustans and surrender to perpetual injustice? Those who pursue an end of occupation to allow for peaceful and normal relations in the region, or those who believe it is possible to achieve acceptance by the region and security while denying the rights of an entire nation and undermining regional peace and security? Those advocating respect for international law and UN resolutions, or those who use religious extremism, supremacist theories, and unhinged nationalism to justify violating them.

Mandela’s legacy is under threat in many parts of our world, and nowhere is this more true than in Palestine. 40 years ago, this Council stated, after the annexation of Jerusalem, its determination to examine practical ways and means, in accordance with the Charter, to secure the full implementation of its resolutions, in the event of non-compliance by Israel. Time for action by all is long overdue, and indispensable to ensure the triumph of freedom and dignity, justice and peace.

The law matters. Principles matter. Accountability matters. This is the lifeblood of the international community and the basis for peaceful relations and stability and security worldwide. Palestine is no exception.

I thank you, Mr. President.

Statement by H.E. Minister Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, Security Council open high-level video conference on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, 27 May 2020

Mr. President,

Allow me at the outset to thank the Estonian Presidency for convening this important high-level debate and for placing at the center of its Presidency the lessons of the Second World War, which served as the foundations for the establishment of the multilateral rules-based order. At a time when this order is threatened, it is important to remember why it was built and what the alternative would be.

We thank the Secretary-General for his report and for his central role in helping preserve this order at this critical juncture, including when it comes to the defense of international law and the protection of civilians.

Mr. President,

I must address the situation of the Palestinian people, which OCHA characterizes “as a protracted protection crisis driven by lack of respect for international law, and a lack of accountability for violations”, and let me do so by stating some hard truths.

  1. There is no right to security of the occupying Power at the expense of the security and protection of the occupied people, or at the expense of a people’s right to self-determination. There is no right to security that justifies permanent occupation or the illegal acquisition of land by force and its colonization. There is no right to security that justifies a blockade imposed on two million people for 13 years and the oppression of an entire nation. International law draws a clear line between legal action and war crimes and crimes against humanity. Allowing any country to blur this line places civilians in harm’s way and undermines peace and security.
  2. Are the Palestinian people entitled to the protections availed by the UN Charter, international humanitarian law, international human rights law? The answer must be yes. Is anyone under the illusion that Israel, the occupying Power, has any respect for its obligations under these instruments? Israel has demonstrated time and time again its contempt for the rule of international law and for Palestinian rights and lives. Can one rely on Israeli courts to ensure the occupied people of the protections they are entitled to? The Israeli NGO B’Tselem, explaining its decision to no longer cooperate with the military law enforcement system, stated that it reached “the realization that there is no longer any point in pursuing justice and defending human rights by working with a system whose real function is measured by its ability to continue to successfully cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators”. So Israel cannot be trusted to ensure accountability for violations planned at the highest level and perpetrated with the virtual guarantee of total immunity.
  3. The ICC was established to fill the gap left when national courts are unwilling or unable to hold perpetrators of grave crimes accountable and fail to deliver justice. The situation in Palestine corresponds exactly to this reality. Attacks and threats against the Court for fulfilling its mandate are intolerable and should be strongly rejected. The efforts to prevent the Court from exercising its jurisdiction in the Occupied Palestinian Territory aim at effectively denying Palestinian victims – millions of civilians – any avenue for justice while guaranteeing to Israel that there will be no accountability for its crimes, thus enabling their recurrence.
  4. While some misguidedly state that Israel suffers from being singled-out in the UN, the reality is that Israeli exceptionalism, which has effectively guaranteed its total impunity for actions deemed as grave violations of the law by the international community, is the main reason for the perpetuation of its violations and crimes.
  5. The Security Council and the General Assembly have called for international protection of the Palestinian people, and the Secretary-General made concrete recommendations in this regard in his report of 14 August 2018, and yet the Palestinian people continue to be denied this most elementary right, as the occupying Power has granted itself veto power over any effective action to provide protection for the Palestinian civilian population. The international community cannot continue tolerating this situation.
  6. Now with the threat of further unlawful annexation looming, and as existing violations and crimes against the Palestinian people continue unabated, the price of impunity continues rising, and the Palestinian people continue paying it. This must change. The cost of occupation should fall on the occupying Power, not the occupied people, and only when this cost outweighs the benefits of occupation, will Israel be compelled to respect the law and work for peace.
  7. The fate of the Palestinian people cannot be left to the mercy of the occupying Power. The international community cannot abdicate its obligations, especially as Israel systematically breaches its own. We call on the Council to fulfill its mandate under the Charter, and we call on all States that believe in the rule of international law, to uphold the law in a situation where its breach has been condemned and yet tolerated for too long, prolonging this illegal Israeli military occupation and its crimes against our people and preventing the achievement of peace. Third parties have the obligation to respect and ensure respect for international law, including by not recognizing the situation created by illegal actions, not rendering aid or assistance in maintaining the illegal situation, and by holding the State, entities, companies and individuals responsible for such violations accountable.

Mr. President,

In his report on protection of civilians in armed conflict, the Secretary-General identifies respect for the law and accountability for serious violations as the two most pressing challenges to strengthening the protection of civilians. He rightly notes that the normative framework and the tools to uphold it already exist. What is needed is the political will to use these tools to enforce the law. The international community displaying such political will not only help end the prolonged suffering of the Palestinian people, but will also help achieve peace in our region and beyond. Impunity is the enemy of peace. Accountability is the only path towards it.

I thank you.

29 April 2020 – Letter by Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour to the President of the Security Council

Excellency,

During the recent VTC meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question, held on 23 April, the Israeli Representative once again accused me of antisemitism. This accusation is too grave, even when used in such outrageous and untruthful manner, to be left unanswered.

Such accusations have been repeatedly used to taint legitimate criticism of Israel’s violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory with the aim to silence or delegitimize anyone speaking out and must be directly challenged. This has become a systematic policy that has even targeted Security Council members, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as international figures, who – in upholding their moral, legal, political and/or humanitarian obligations – dare to denounce Israel’s violations of the Palestinian people’s rights and its colonization of their land.

Israel has blatantly dismissed resolutions adopted by the Security Council and the General Assembly,  the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, and statements, including by its closest allies, as stemming from antisemitism instead of acknowledging that such legislations, decisions
and declarations reflect on facts and are grounded in the rules that were created to save successive generations from the scourge of war by preventing and deterring violations, regardless of the identity of the victim and of the identity of the perpetrator.

Antisemitism is one of the most despicable forms of racism, that has culminated in one of the greatest tragedies of our time. Our multilateral rules-based order has been established in response to the horrors of the Second World War, including the Holocaust. The UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice, international criminal law, all were designed in response to these tragedies and to prevent their recurrence and the human suffering
and turmoil they caused. 

We honor the victims by upholding the rule of international law, not undermining it. We honor them by denouncing war crimes, not by using their memory to shield perpetrators. We honor them by ensuring accountability, not by perpetuating impunity.

Antisemitism and all other forms of discrimination and racism must be condemned and confronted wholeheartedly, never justified or overlooked. We all need to fight antisemitism while rejecting the instrumentalization of the accusation of antisemitism to shield illegal actions from criticism and accountability. 

We pay tribute to all those, from every creed, race, color, and background who have fought for justice anywhere and everywhere, including in Palestine. We will remain steadfast in our struggle against the ills of oppression, occupation, dispossession, discrimination and injustice and will not be silenced by those who accuse us in a failed attempt to justify the crimes they are responsible for. Let them know that when it comes to our stance for justice, we stand undeterred.

History has taught us what it means to live in a world without rules. What it means to be able to allow anyone to justify widespread and systematic denial of rights. What it means to look away when others are suffering from injustice and oppression. The representatives here at the UN have a particular duty to uphold that collective memory so that the words of our UN Charter can live on, including our determination “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small”. 

I have dedicated my life to the fight for justice, equality and freedom for the Palestinian people and beyond and to the fulfilment of that very pledge of the Charter. I have fought racism in all its ugly forms. I have served this multilateral rules-based order with commitment and principle. I doubt that my accuser can say the same. 

I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter made available to the members of the Security Council for their immediate, valuable consideration and also distributed as an official document of the Security Council.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Dr. Riyad Mansour
Minister, Permanent Observer
of the State of Palestine to the United Nations

14 February 2020 – Israeli Provocations and the U.S. Plan

Excellency,

I write to draw your attention to recent critical developments and rising tensions, including in particular as a result of the relentless crimes, provocation, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric of Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people, their rights and their leadership.

On 28 January 2020, US President Donald Trump proposed a plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the provisions of which breach international law and the internationally-endorsed terms of reference and parameters for the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting solution, as enshrined in the relevant United Nations resolutions, and undermines the inalienable rights and national aspirations of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and independence.

The plan attempts to legitimize Israel’s illegal occupation, colonization and annexation of Palestinian land, deeming crimes such as the settlements, the wall and forced displacement of thousands of Palestinians as mere ‘realities’ that must be accepted; endorses Israel’s illegal annexation of Occupied East Jerusalem; and validates further annexation schemes, effectively dismantling the two-State solution and turning the rules-based order on its head.

Insisting on an adherence to international law and the principles of equity and justice and respect for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, the State of Palestine, the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the African Union and many other countries and organizations around the world have rejected this plan, stressing that it is unacceptable as a basis for peace and would only prolong the conflict and the injustice.

This message was firmly conveyed by President Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, in his address to the Security Council, on 11 February 2020, and was echoed by the overwhelming majority of Council members that reaffirmed the global consensus consistent with the longstanding, internationally-endorsed terms of reference and parameters for a just solution in accordance with international law, the relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid principles and the Arab Peace Initiative.

It is obvious that the unveiling of this unjust, provocative plan has emboldened the extremist right-wing Israeli government to intensify its illegal policies and measures, including threats and plans to annex large parts of the West Bank, including all Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley, in grave breach of international law and with zero regard for consequences. Incitement and inflammatory statements every single day by Israeli officials illustrate that the occupying Power has abandoned all restraint and aims to only fuel an already burning fire through illegal actions and decisions over the coming weeks. Among such provocative statements, all made in the aftermath of the presentation of the US plan, are the following:

Deputy Minister Avi Dichter (28 January 2020): “Now we have the duty to immediately apply the Israeli sovereignty on all the Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria. The Jordan Valley will be our eastern border. The basic law which states that the entire united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, was recognized today also by the United States of America. We must not wait for the moves of the Palestinian Authority.”

Minister Zeev Elkin (28 January 2020): “For sure it is a historic day and an undeniably historic period. Applying Israeli sovereignty immediately to at least 30% of Judea and Samaria (including the Jordan Valley and all areas of jurisdictions of Israeli communities) yes and yes! Establishing a Palestinian state in the heart of the country that will be a terror state and lead anti-Israeli incitement, emphatic no and no!”

Minister Naftali Bennett (29 January 2020): “Now the battle moves from the White House in Washington to the cabinet room in Jerusalem. We should not postpone this until after the elections, and should not agree to partial sovereignty—we should take everything now. In the coming days the order to apply sovereignty over the entire settlement areas should be brought to the cabinet table.”

Member of the Knesset Ayalet Shaked (29 January 2020): “…it is forbidden to accept the existence or the creation of a Palestinian state. Our starting point is that the creation of an Arab State in Judea and Samaria is dangerous and irresponsible.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (30 January 2020): “I say to the prime minister: if you return from Washington and ask to convene the Knesset plenum to capitalize on the historic willingness of the US administration to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria—I will convene the plenum at once! No matter the criticism, no matter how many harsh attacks, the right thing will be done.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (14 February 2020): “Irrespective of Palestinian acceptance or rejection, we are getting American recognition over parts of our homeland, while the Palestinians must make considerable concessions just to enter talks!”

Such reckless declarations by Israeli officials and pursuit of such schemes underscore yet again the true nature of Israel’s colonialism, expansionism and lawlessness, the fuel of this more than half-century illegal foreign occupation. Israel’s lip service to peace has always been only a tactic, never a long-term objective. Such statements prove again that Israel’s professed commitment to the two-State solution is only a facade. The occupying Power has systematically enlarged and entrenched its extremist settler population in order to impose its vision of ‘Greater Israel’ on all of historic Palestine, working diligently to further its annexation of large areas of land in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in flagrant disrespect of the United Nations Charter, UN resolutions and all relevant provisions of international law.

Moreover, Israeli officials are aggressively transforming their provocative words into criminal action plans for formal annexation, with the Prime Minister brazenly announcing that Israel is “already in the process of mapping the territory that according to the Trump plan will be part of the State of Israel…This won’t take a lot of time and we’ll complete this.”

Such policies, combined with decades of “de facto” annexation of Palestinian land by the occupying Power, decades of failure by the international community to hold Israel accountable in that regard, and the current license for illegality presented by the Trump plan, are destroying the two-State solution and the essence of previously signed agreements. They have paved the pathway to an apartheid situation that no people would tolerate.

The international community must not remain silent in the face of such blatant crimes, and the urgency of action cannot be overstated. On 11 February, Middle East peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned the UN Security Council that unilateral steps and plans for annexation “would have a devastating impact on the prospect for a two-state solution. They would close the door to negotiations, have negative repercussions across the region, and severely undermine opportunities for normalization and regional peace… In the absence of a credible path back to negotiations,” he added, “we all face a heightened risk of violence.”

In this regard, we are also compelled to draw your attention to the dangerous escalation of Israeli violence against the Palestinian people following the announcement of the Trump plan. Since late January, killings, injuries, imprisonment of Palestinian civilians and attacks against the blockaded Gaza Strip have intensified and continue unabated.  In the recent period, Israel’s use of willful and lethal force against Palestinian civilians has resulted in the tragic killing of five Palestinians, among them Badr Nafla, age 19, Yazan Abu Tabekh, age 19, Tareq Badwan, age 24, Mohammed al-Haddad, age17, and Shadi el-Banna, age 45. It is clear that, to Israel, Palestinian lives, their aspirations, their human dignity, do not matter.

We call on the international community to put an end to this travesty of justice. Here we recall the appeal by President Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, during his address to the Security Council on 11 February, “I tell the world: be careful not to kill the hope of the Palestinian people. I came here to preserve hope, don’t take that hope away from us.”

We are grateful to all States, including the members of the Security Council, and the international organizations that have, at this critical moment, reaffirmed their principled positions on the need for serious and immediate efforts to uphold the UN Charter, international law, and the relevant resolutions as the most viable and direct path to achieve a just, lasting, comprehensive and peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to the Palestine question as a whole.

Statements alone, however, will not bring an end to the endless humiliations and aggression that the Palestinian people continue to endure, nor will they prevent Israel from further advancing and actualizing its settler colonial ambitions. Beyond statements, the international community has a duty to act, including the Security Council and the General Assembly, in accordance with their resolutions and the permanent responsibility of the United Nations until a just solution is achieved. Accountability is imperative.

All colonization and annexation must be stopped and reversed. States must not recognize as legitimate changes resulting from illegal Israeli policies and measures and acts of aggression in Occupied Palestine. An end must be brought to this illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – the territory comprising the State of Palestine on the pre-1967 borders – and the Palestinian people must exercise their long-overdue right to self-determination, independence and sovereignty and must realize justice.

For the sake of the Palestinian people, the Israeli people, the prospects for their peace and coexistence and for Middle East and global peace and security, as well as for the sake of preserving the credibility and authority of the United Nations and the rules-based order against the threats they face, the international community must salvage the foundations of peace. This is a collective responsibility.

This letter is in follow-up to our 679 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which constitutes the territory of the State of Palestine.  These letters, dated from 29 September 2000 (A/55/432-S/2000/921) to 10 January 2020 (A/ES-10/xxx-S/2019/xxx) constitute a basic record of the crimes being committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people since September 2000.  For all of these war crimes, acts of State terrorism and systematic human rights

violations being committed against the Palestinian people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. 

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Dr. Riyad Mansour

Minister, Permanent Observer

of the State of Palestine to the United Nations

Statement by H.E. President Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, Delivered before the United Nations Security Council on The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine Question on 11 February 2020

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I come before you to appeal on behalf of 13 million Palestinians for a just peace, nothing more, nothing less. I come before you to reaffirm the Palestinian position of rejection of the US-Israel deal, supported by the positions of the League of Arab States, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and African Union, which all categorically rejected this deal, in addition to the statements by the European Union, Russia, China and Japan and the countries of the world, as well as, and I want to particularly mention them, the statements by the Secretary-General, all reaffirming commitment to the international terms of reference and United Nations resolutions.

This broad rejection of the deal stems from the unilateral positions contained in it, and the fact it clearly violates international law, United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative; ignores the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination, freedom, independence in their own State; and attempts to grant legitimacy to illegal measures such as the settlements and expropriation and annexation of Palestinian land.

I stress here that this deal or any part of it should not be considered as an international basis or reference for negotiations as it constitutes a US-Israel preemptive deal aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause. The fact alone that it denies Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem warrants its rejection. The fact that it transforms our people and land into fragmented, isolated communities warrants its rejection. The fact that it deprives us of control over our land, borders, water, and airspace warrants its rejection. The fact that it erases the question of Palestine refugees warrants its rejection.

This plan destroys the basis on which the peace process was launched. It disregards the signed agreements based on the vision of two States on 1967 borders. It will not bring security or peace to our region. We therefore cannot accept it and will confront its implementation on the ground.

Here is the conclusion of the plan that was presented to us (shows conceptual map), and the “State” that it gives us, and that looks like Swiss cheese. Who among you would accept such a State?

This deal, ladies and gentlemen, contains diktats, consecrates occupation and annexation by military force, and would lead to an Apartheid system, an anachronistic reality being implemented today in Palestine. It rewards occupation instead of holding it accountable for the crimes it has committed for decades against our people and land.

I want to express our gratitude for the positions expressed by countries, regional and international organizations, parliaments, and Members of the Security Council that have risen along our side to defend the international consensus, based on international law and relevant UN resolutions. I also want to thank Israelis – yes Israelis – who expressed rejection of this deal in various ways. 300 Israeli officers have declared rejection of the deal, they say we now fight for justice (shows the petition). We also salute the demonstrations in Tel Aviv against this deal. We also express appreciation to the members of US Congress and Senate as well as US organizations and free voices that have expressed such rejection, and we value their commitment and their support to peace and to international legitimacy (shows letters by 107 Members of Congress and by 12 Senators, including 3 Presidential candidates).

And we salute our Palestinian people, and Arab and Muslim peoples and all peace-loving nations around the world. Palestinians have come out in thousands, hundreds of thousands, in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, despite freezing temperatures, to say no to this unjust plan. So it is not as some may say that it is only Abu Mazen and a couple of people who reject the plan. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets to say no; tens of thousands around the world also came out to say no. To those who still insist that this deal is fair, we say it is not.

I come before you today to say that peace between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples is still possible and achievable. I have come here to build an international partnership to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, which remains our strategic objective.

This deal does not constitute an international endeavor. It came from one country with the support of another with the aim of imposing it on the world and against international legitimacy as enshrined in hundreds of United Nations resolutions, including tens of Security Council resolutions. This deal is unacceptable.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the Council,

I must ask: why the insistence to unilaterally draft this US-Israeli plan, despite the fact that we were in a dialogue with the US administration all of 2017 and discussed all final status issues, including in a long dialogue between President Trump and myself. We spoke at length about the international legitimacy, the vision of two States. He told me he was ready to immediately announce that he adhered to this vision. We spoke of the 1967 borders, Jerusalem, security and all other issues that were not settled in Oslo.

I was pleased with this dialogue with him, only then to be surprised by the announcement of Jerusalem “undivided capital of Israel” and the transfer of the US embassy and calls to the rest of the international community to follow suit; the closure of the PLO office in Washington; the cutting of assistance to us, $840 million worth of aid; the termination of funding to UNRWA. I don’t know who gave such dreadful advice. The President Trump I know is not like that, and I don’t know where these actions came from.

Let me recall that the Madrid Peace Conference, the Oslo Accords, the Washington negotiations, as well as the Annapolis Conference for peace, were all on the basis of the international terms of reference and United Nations resolutions and called for negotiations on all final status issues, including Jerusalem, which was an issue for negotiation not imposition or preemption, and not a grant to be given to Israel. No, this is an occupied territory. Who has the right to give it away? This Council is the highest authority in the world and we accept your rulings and decisions.

All throughout, ladies and gentlemen, we remained committed to implementation of all agreements concluded with Israel, and acted responsibly, and that is why we achieved the respect of the world. 140 countries have recognized the State of Palestine and we have become an integral part of the international system as an observer State. We have not been able to become a Member State because of the prospect of a US veto. We joined over 120 Conventions, agencies and organizations, and we, the observer State, chaired the Group of 77 and China for the year 2019. We do exist.

And we continue building the national institutions of our State based on the rule of law and the international standards for a modern, democratic State, as well as on transparency and accountability, including fighting against corruption. Indeed, our country is at the forefront of the efforts to fight corruption, and this young State still under occupation is corruption free and those who say otherwise can come and see for themselves. I invite the Security Council to send a fact-finding mission to Palestine on this and all matters.

We have worked to empower women and youth and spread the culture of peace among our people, all our people. We tell them we reject war and terror, violence and terror worldwide, and we have concluded protocols with 83 countries first and foremost with the United States, as well as Canada, Russia, Japan, and others, to fight terrorism. We are not terrorists. And, regardless of what we endure, we will remain committed to the fight against terrorism.

We held elections three times, as we believe in democracy, but Israel refuses to let us organize elections. Why? Because they prevent us from organizing elections in Jerusalem, despite the fact that we held elections there in 1996, 2005 and 2006. Now as Jerusalem is being considered the “undivided capital of Israel” we are being prevented from holding elections there. That is not acceptable. East Jerusalem is ours and West Jerusalem is theirs, and both countries can cooperate together.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the Council,

They say we missed the opportunities for peace. This is not true. Abba Eban happened to say one day that “Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. Where did he come up with this, I do not know. And Kushner is repeating it. What is the opportunity that we have missed? Don’t use such silly slogans.

We have accepted all United Nations resolutions, starting with Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, all the way to 2334, adopted three years ago by your Council. We became an active actor on the international arena. In 1993, we concluded the interim Oslo Accords and remained committed to all its provisions and to the exchange of letters between us and Israel, which provide for mutual recognition. In Oslo we recognized the right of Israel to exist, as stated by Yasser Arafat, and Rabin recognized the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. What opportunities did we miss?

We were receptive to the efforts of successive US administrations and engaged with them, as well as with international initiatives and all invitations for dialogue and negotiations. Yet, at no point in these efforts was the bare minimum of justice for our people based on international law and United Nations resolutions ever presented. And, now, this current government representing the occupying Power is actively undermining all international efforts.

We have dealt with every opportunity seriously as peace is in the interest of our people and of the peoples of the world.

Several countries invited us, Russia, Japan, Belgium, Netherlands, to meet with Netanyahu on their soil and Netanyahu never honored such an invitation. I went three times to Moscow and Netanyahu never came. So who does not want peace?

So tell me what opportunities have we missed?

At the same time, Israeli governments and Israeli settlers continue destroying any prospect for peace, accelerating their colonial settlement activities all over the occupied West Bank, constructing settlements unchecked, alter the character of occupied Jerusalem, pursuing their aggression against Muslim and Christian holy sites, expropriating land, and continuing their war and blockade against our people in the Gaza Strip. They are unfortunately backed by the might of the United States, which has undertaken a number of decisions in breach of international law that have been rejected by the rest of the world and also by US Congress members and many organizations working for peace, including American Jewish organizations. 

The US Congress, in its decision number 326, opposed the policy announced by US Secretary of State Pompeo and of the US President on annexation and settlement activities and reaffirmed the two-State solution and the right of our people to self-determination. These are not solely our positions, but the positions of the US Congress.

I must also stress that we refuse to forgo political solutions for economic assistance, that invention they pursued in Bahrain, Warsaw, and elsewhere, saying they will give us 50 billion dollars, but where is the political solution? We refuse that. A political solution comes first. And if it is followed by economic assistance that is fine, but economic assistance is not the primary issue. We thank all countries that support us and without conditions to build our Palestinian institutions that will carry us towards our independent State with God’s will.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the Council,

In these difficult times and before it is too late, I want to address President Trump to tell him the US plan cannot achieve peace and security by erasing international legitimacy. Who can erase international legitimacy? In this highest body, who can ignore this? The plan presented by President Trump does that and denies the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, and removes East Jerusalem from under Palestinian sovereignty, and will not lead to the implementation of the vision of two independent sovereign States, Israel and Palestine.

I therefore appeal to President Trump to show fairness and justice, to support the implementation of United Nations resolutions, to preserve the chance of achieving genuine peace between Palestinians and Israelis. There can be no imposed peace.

Let us achieve peace together, and we managed to do so without intervention in Oslo and without knowledge of any State, and whoever says I knew, I challenge them. We reached an interim agreement and were ready to honor it for five years until we concluded a final peace agreement, but they assassinated Rabin. Why did they assassinate Rabin? May he rest in peace.

From this chamber, I call on the Quartet, composed of the United States, the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United Nations, as well as the members of your august Council, to convene an international peace conference, with a view to implementing United Nations resolutions, first and foremost resolution 2334, as well as the vision of two States and the Arab Peace Initiative, that we insist on as part and parcel of the international legitimacy, and of resolution 1515, through the establishment of an international mechanism with the Quartet and any other countries to oversee negotiations between the parties. But in all honesty, we will not accept the United States as sole broker as we have tried this before.  

I call on the international community in its entirety to pressure Israel, the occupying Power, to end its occupation practices and policies that aim to annex Palestinian land. What right do you have to annex our land? You will destroy the chances of peace.

In this historic moment, I extend my hand for peace once again before it is too late, and I hope to find a real partner for peace in Israel, any person who believes in peace, so we can achieve genuine peace that will bear fruit for the present and future generations of Palestinians and Israelis and for the countries and people of the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our Palestinian people can no longer withstand the Israeli occupation of our country, and the situation as a whole is explosive. To prevent that, we need to renew hope for our people. Do not deny hope to our people and the peoples of the region to live in freedom, independence and peace, and the hope that the free world will rise for its rights. Do not kill that hope for our people.

I want to show you a map of Palestine and the changes that have occurred on the ground since 1917, 1937, 1947, 1948 until 2020. What I see breaks my heart. Is this what we deserve? Is this what the Palestinian people deserve? Why were we there and now find ourselves in these islands? (shows maps)

On this occasion, I address the Israeli people to tell them that the pursuit of occupation, settlements, military control over another nation will not bring security or peace. We only have one choice, to be partners and neighbors, each in our independent sovereign State. Let us uphold together this just choice before it is too late.

I reiterate that our conflict is not with the followers of the Jewish faith. We are not against Jews. We Muslims are not against Jews. The Muslim that says I am against the Jews is an infidel. If one says he is against Jews or the Torah, he is an infidel, not a Muslim. We are not against Jews; we are against whoever oppresses us regardless of their religion. And, our struggle is not against Jews, but against those who occupy our land. We will therefore continue to pursue our struggle, during which we have endured great sacrifices with thousands of martyrs, prisoners, and wounded, in order to end this occupation and achieve our independent State. We reaffirm that our people will not kneel. We want our rights, and we salute all those who help us achieve them. We will not surrender to this occupation, however long it takes and no matter what sacrifices we have to endure.

And I conclude by saying once again: I am ready to resume negotiations, as I have always been, if there is an Israeli partner ready to negotiate, under the auspices of the Quartet, and based on the international terms of reference, and I am serious in what I say. I am ready to remain here in the house of international legitimacy to start these negotiations immediately.

Let me also state once again that we will not resort to violence or terrorism, despite the aggression against us. We are believers in peace and in fighting violence, and we are ready to cooperate with any country to fight terrorism. We are against terrorism and violence, by whomever, and we will resort to peaceful popular resistance.

Look at what is happening now in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, thousands have taken to the streets to say no to the deal. It is not my position alone, the entire Palestinian people say no to the deal.

Finally, I tell the world: be careful not to kill the hope of the Palestinian people. I came here to preserve hope, don’t take that hope away from us.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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”, 28 October 2019

Mr. President,

I wish to begin by expressing our congratulations and appreciation to the Republic of South Africa for its most able leadership of the Security Council in this month of its presidency.

We thank the UN Special Coordinator and Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Nikolay Mladenov, for his briefing on the current situation in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem.

Mr. President,

Every month, we come before the Security Council appealing for it to act to ensure implementation of its resolutions on the Palestine question, certain that only such action can bring us all back from the brink, stopping the senseless, painful human suffering being caused by this man-made crisis and salvaging the prospects for a just peace. Yet, every month we are compelled to listen to reports of a worsening situation, as Israel, the occupying Power, intensifies its illegal occupation and colonization of our land and a political horizon for a peaceful solution remains obstructed.

It cannot be that the role of this august Council is reduced to that of a gathering for the airing of grievances, statements of sympathy and solidarity, as important as they are, and helpless hand-wringing. The Palestinian people and global community at large expect, and await, more. The Security Council’s Charter mandate to maintain international peace and security surely requires more.

As the calls to preserve multilateralism against current threats grow, shoring up the Security Council’s role in the peaceful resolution of conflicts must be front and center. This requires urgent action to uphold and enforce international law, aimed at halting violations, deterring future violations, and fostering an environment conducive for the pursuit and achievement of peace.

In the case of Palestine, the Council’s relevant resolutions – from resolution 2334 (2016) to all the resolutions preceding it – provide a solid basis for such action. The international consensus is firm, and attempts to alter or negate it have failed. Indeed, we have often heard that, when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is no need to reinvent the wheel; international law is clear, the parameters of a just solution are clear, and there is no alternative to the vision of two-States based on the 1967 lines and in accordance with international law, the relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid principle of land-for-peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap.

But, in the absence of serious action to give tangible meaning to this consensus, the alternative is rapidly unfolding before our eyes and it is one of an apartheid State in control of the lives of millions who are being oppressively, violently and unjustly deprived of their fundamental rights, even the right to live as free and equal human beings.

Mr. President,

After over 52 years of this illegal occupation and the cruel exile imposed on millions of Palestinians for over seven decades, it is clear that he failure to achieve a solution is not for lack of attention to the conflict or lack of resolutions; it is for lack of genuine efforts to uphold the rules, decisions and humanitarian commitments repeatedly pledged.

As concluded by the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in his latest report, “no occupation in the modern world has been conducted with the international community so alert to its many grave breaches of international law, so knowledgeable about the occupier’s obvious and well-signaled intent to annex and establish permanent sovereignty, so well-informed about the scale of suffering and dispossession endured by the protected population under occupation, and yet so unwilling to act upon the overwhelming evidence before it to employ the tangible and plentiful legal and political tools at its disposal to end the injustice.”

Without accountability, the deplorable situation we have faced will surely only worsen, paving the way for more suffering and insecurity for all, with innocent civilians, among them children and women, bearing the heaviest and most heartbreaking weight of the international community’s negligence.

Indeed, despite decades of global attention, none of Israel’s violations in Occupied Palestine have stopped. Whether the colonization or de facto annexation of our land by all means, the settlements and wall being the most insidious; the inhumane 12-year blockade and collective punishment of 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, inflicting devastating poverty and despair; the killing and injury of defenseless Palestinian civilians by the occupying forces and extremist settlers; the destruction of homes and properties and forced displacement of Palestinian families, especially in Occupied East Jerusalem, with 140 homes demolished in the City in 2019 alone, rendering homeless 238 Palestinians, more than half of them children; the dangerous provocations and assaults at holy sites; the imprisonment and detention of thousands of our civilians; or the blatant theft of our natural and financial resources – all continue unabated.

The fact is that the occupying Power has been led to believe it has carte blanche to act as a State above the law, going so far as to openly threaten to annex our land in flagrant breach of the universal prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force. With or without a formal government, Israeli politicians and candidates shamelessly compete as to who can be more brutal and punishing to the Palestinians and who can cater more to extremist Israeli groups, who will never be satiated, as evident in their daily terror campaign against our civilians, incitement, and rabid land grabs.

Nothing else could be expected in the absence of consequences for such grave violations by this most protracted foreign occupation in modern history. Only accountability can change this.

Mr. President,

We thus once again appeal to the Security Council and all States to act. We urge you to mobilize the political will to fulfill your obligations by taking practical measures, in line with international law and the relevant resolutions, the guarantors of just and sustainable peace and security.

The Security Council must shoulder its responsibilities and act immediately in line with its resolutions to bring about a halt to this occupation’s crimes, avert further destabilization, protect innocent civilians, and salvage the chances for peace. States, inter-governmental organizations and civil society must also uphold their respective roles and responsibilities.

Should Israel continue to defy the Council and will of the international community, it must bear the consequences of its violations. All legitimate political and legal tools and measures available – including sanctions and prosecution in courts – must be pursued to ensure accountability.

This must include action pursuant to the call for distinction in resolution 2334 (2016) and other relevant resolutions, including, inter alia, resolution 478 (1980) on Jerusalem and resolution 465 (1980), in which the Council clearly called on all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with its settlements in the territories occupied since 1967.

We urge States to take concrete steps in this regard, in both multilateral and bilateral frameworks, in conformity with their legal obligations and affirmed support for the two-State solution. We reiterate our call for release of the database on businesses engaged in activities related to the illegal settlements, which was mandated by the Human Rights Council and will help States to uphold their obligations.

States also have a duty of non-recognition of any decisions or measures altering or purporting to alter the geographic, demographic, character or status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, in violation of the law, including the 4th Geneva Convention. All such decisions and measures must be deemed unlawful, null and void and should incur consequences if not rescinded. Also, the legal and historic status quo at the holy sites in Occupied East Jerusalem, including Al-Haram Al-Sharif, must be respected, as well as Jordan’s custodianship for the Muslim and Christian holy sites.

Lastly, we reiterate our call for continued principled support for the rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and freedom. Until they are realized, we continue our appeals for humanitarian assistance to alleviate the plight of our people, including Palestine refugees, and to ensure that they are not left behind. We recognize with deep gratitude the generous international support in this regard through UNRWA and urge strong backing for renewal of its mandate, an important expression of responsibility and solidarity and an indispensable source of hope and stability until a just solution for the Palestine refugees is realized based on resolution 194 (II).

Only such determined, collective and coordinated action can move us from deadlock to progress towards finally bringing an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, fulfilling the Palestinian people’s right to independence in their sovereign, contiguous, democratic State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace and security, the cornerstone for peace and security in the Middle East, as per the longstanding international consensus.

For the sake of peace, the benefit of all peoples of the region and the authority of international law, we must together act to change course, restore hope and attain a just and comprehensive peace. Failure to do so will have far-reaching repercussions, unraveling decades of efforts and resources invested for our shared, noble goals of peace, stability and human dignity. We must not let another generation suffer this injustice.

I thank you, Mr. President.

كلمة معالي وزير الخارجية والمغتربين لدولة فلسطين د.رياض المالكي أمام مجلس الأمن في جلسته حول الحالة في الشرق الأوسط، بما في ذلك قضية فلسطين، التي تصادف تقديم الأمين العام تقريره الدوري العام حول تنفيذ القرار 2334 (2016) في تاريخ 20 سبتمبر 2019

أتوجه في البداية بالشكر الجزيل والامتنان العميق لرئيس مجلس الأمن والوفد الروسي على قيادته القديرة للمجلس، وعلى عقد هذا الاجتماع الهام. كما نشكر مبعوث الأمين العام، السيد نيكولاي ملادينوف، على تقديمه لتقرير الأمين العام حول تنفيذ قرار مجلس الأمن 2334، وبدوري أرحب بمعالي الوزير، أيمن الصفدي، وزير الخارجية وشؤون المغتربين للمملكة الأردنية الهاشمية الشقيقة. 

 السيد الرئيس،

نستمع اليوم للتقرير العاشر للأمين العام حول تنفيذ القرار 2334، وللأسف فإنه لا يشتمل إلا على المزيد من الجرائم والانتهاكات والسياسات التعسفية الاسرائيلية غير القانونية، ولا يبشر بأي تقدم يذكر بشأن تنفيذ بنود القرار، مثله مثل ما سبقه من تقارير. وهذا يجعلنا نتساءل، ألم يكن هدف المجلس من إسناد هذه المهمة للأمين العام هو متابعة تنفيذ هذا القرار على الأرض، وقياس مدى التزام الأطراف ببنوده، وعليه أخذ ما يلزم من إجراءات للدفع نحو سبل تنفيذ القرار؟ نحن لا نعتقد أن هدف المجلس من طلب تقرير دوري من الأمين العام كان لمجرد الاستماع لحجم انتهاكات القانون الدولي وعدد الضحايا في صفوف المدنيين دون الاستجابة لها ودون الوقوف عند التحذيرات التي تحملها هذه التقارير والتي تنذر بغياب فرص إحلال السلام العادل وتكريس الاستيطان والعنف والتحريض. 

لا نتوقع أن يخبرنا الأمين العام في تقريره القادم بأي خطوة إيجابية نحو تنفيذ القرار 2334 طالما لا يوجد أي دافع أو رادع لإسرائيل يجعلها تعيد النظر في فرض احتلالها العسكري على أرضنا الفلسطينية، والكف عن استهداف المدنيين الفلسطينيين، والتراجع عن نهجها الاستيطاني التوسعي الاستعماري الذي يئد الأمل في إنهاء الاحتلال غير القانوني لأرضنا، و يجعل حل الدولتين على أساس حدود 1967 حلا شبه مستحيلا. 

السيد الرئيس، 

لم تلتزم إسرائيل بقرارات هذه المنظمة أو ميثاقها، ولم تحترم يوماً حقوق الشعب الفلسطيني، ولم تعترف أبداً في حقه الطبيعي في تقرير مصيره وفي حقه بقيام دولته الفلسطينية الحرة المستقلة على أرضه. وأمعنت بكل تكبر وتصلُف بانتهاك القانون الدولي وقرارات الشرعية الدولية بشكل دائم ودون اكتراث، ظناً منها بأنها تتمتع بوضعاً استثنائياً يمنحها “الحق” في الاعتداء على أرض وحقوق الغير، ويحفظها من النقد ويُحصنها من المساءلة.     

إن استهتار إسرائيل بحقوق الشعب الفلسطيني وأمن المنطقة ككل وصل إلى حد تقديم أراض وطننا الغالي كهدية وعرضها كرشوة للجماعات اليمينية المتطرفة في إسرائيل لكسب أصواتهم الانتخابية.  فإن إعلان نتانياهو نيته ضم الأرض المحتلة في الأغوار وشمال البحر الميت ما هو إلا اعتراف المجرم بجريمته. فهل يفلت من العقاب؟

إن محاولات إسرائيل الممنهجة لتغيير التركيبة الديموغرافية والجغرافية للأرض الفلسطينية المحتلة منذ يونيو 1967، بما في ذلك القدس الشرقية، هي محاولات غير قانونية ومرفوضة ولن تغير من الوضع القانوني للأرض الفلسطينية كأرض محتلة، ولن تضفي على احتلال إسرائيل لأرضنا أي صفة شرعية أو قانونية. فلقد باتت نية هذا الاحتلال مكشوفة وهي الاستيلاء على الأرض المحتلة بالقوة وضمها وتهجير الفلسطينيين قسرا ونقل مستوطنين قوة الاحتلال إليها، وهو ما يشكل انتهاكا جسيما للقانون الدولي الإنساني وجرائم حرب بموجب ميثاق روما. 

اسرائيل هي السلطة القائمة بالاحتلال التي تفرض حصارا غير قانونيا على قطاع غزة وتبني جدار التوسع والضم العنصري في الضفة الغربية وتعزل القدس الشرقية المحتلة وهي التي تقتل عمدا ممرضة وصحفيا، وهي التي  تخطف طفلا نائما في فراشه ليلا أو تقنصه وتصيبه في رأسه أو قلبه جبنا، وهي التي تحرم طفلة في خان الأحمر من مقعد دراستها، وهي التي تهدم بيت العائلة في صور باهر٬ والتي تمنع شابا من غزة من السفر للخارج لإكمال دراسته أو امرأة من الحصول على العناية الصحية الملحة، وهي التي تمنع رجلا من الصلاة في القدس وتحمي مستوطنين استولوا على بيت عائلة فلسطينية وأقاموا به غطرسة وجورا، وهي التي تقوم بالممارسات الاستفزازية في الحرم الشريف والأماكن المقدسة، وهي التي تطرد تواجدا دوليا يوثق ممارساتها العنصرية في الخليل، وتقيم الحواجز العسكرية ونقاط التفتيش التعسفية بين أقصى شمال أرضنا المحتلة وحتى جنوبها، وتقتحم القرى الفلسطينية ومخيمات اللاجئين بحثا عمن يرفض ظلمها وقمعها ويطمح للحرية والكرامة للزج به في سجونها ومعتقلاتها، وهي التي تقرصن أموالنا وتنهب مواردنا الطبيعية، وترفض بعد ذلك كله أي نقد يوجه لها في الأمم المتحدة والمحافل الدولية.

ولا ينتهي الأمر عند ذلك، فتقوم إسرائيل، السلطة القائمة بالاحتلال، بخلق حقائق جديدة على الأرض تهدف إلى تغيير ماهية وطبيعة قضايا الحل النهائي، ومحاولات تركيع الشعب الفلسطيني، ومعاداة قيادته وابتزاز حكومته، والتنصل من كل الاتفاقيات الثنائية الموقعة والتفنن بوضع المزيد من الشروط العبثية، ليصبح المطلوب في نهاية المطاف من الطرف الفلسطيني التحلي بالواقعية العملية والقبول بما هو متبقي أو متوفر، وكأنه يمكن التصديق بأن هذا هو الطريق الذي يجب أن نسلكه من أجل تحقيق السلام العادل والدائم بين شعوب المنطقة وضمان عيش أجيالنا القادمة في أمن منشود. هل يوجد منكم من يقبل بمثل هذه التسوية؟ حقوقنا ليست مجرد طموحات وليست للمساومة، وشعبنا عزيز النفس ووطننا غالي وقضيتنا العادلة ليست للبيع والشراء. 

السيد الرئيس،


في واقع الأمر، خطة سلام تعتبر تواجد إسرائيل على أرضنا ليس احتلالاً، وحل الدولتين شعاراً مستهلكاً، وترى أن قرارات الشرعية الدولية ومرجعيات السلام المتفق عليها بالية عفى عنها الزمن، والتوقع بعد ذلك كله من المجتمع الدولي كافة ومن الفلسطينيين شعباً وقيادةً القبول بذلك، هو في حد ذاته شرطاً يتناقض مع متطلبات السلام.   

إن أي عملية تفاوض جادة لا بد لها من أن تنطلق على أساس إنهاء الاحتلال الإسرائيلي الذي بدأ في عام ١٩٦٧، بما في ذلك القدس الشرقية، ضمن اطار زمني محدد وتهدف لمعالجة كافة قضايا الحل النهائي ضمن الإطار المرجعي المتفق عليه دولياً والذي يتمثل في قرارات الشرعية الدولية ومرجعيات مدريد، بما فيها مبدأ الأرض مقابل السلام، ومبادرة السلام العربية وخارطة الطريق التي وضعتها اللجنة الرباعية، على أساس حل دولتين، وتحقيق استقلال الدولة الفلسطينية على حدود ١٩٦٧ وعاصمتها القدس الشرقية وبرعاية دولية كما ورد في خطاب الرئيس محمود عباس امام مجلسكم الموقر في فبراير 2018.

هذا ليس ” شرطا فلسطينيا”، أو كما يدعي البعض “حجة” للتهرب من الحوار ورفض المفاوضات وعرقلة السلام. إن ذلك هو الحل الذي أجمع عليه العالم بأسره، ونجدد اليوم قبولنا والتزامنا به. إن وجود إطار مرجعي للتفاوض أساسه القانون الدولي هو متطلب بديهي يفرضه المنطق على أي عملية تفاوضية وعلى أي مبادرة سياسية لحل أي نزاع، ولا يجب أن تكون القضيةُ الفلسطينيةُ استثناءً لذلك ولا يعقل أن يتم التعامل مع قرارات مجلس الأمن بانتقائية حسب الأهواء والمصالح. 

Mr. President,

While important, it is not enough to proclaim there is no plan B, we need to identify the means for plan A to prevail. And we need to beware of the alternative reality Israel is creating on the ground. Let us properly name it to be able to combat it, it is not a one state reality, it is an apartheid reality.

The will of the peacebuilders needs to triumph over the will of the bulldozers. In this regard, allow me to commend the firm and consistent positions expressed by Security Council members and the international community at large which have demonstrated how deeply rooted and how solid the international consensus for just and lasting peace is. I also wish to thank all those who provide support to the Palestinian people, including to Palestine refugees through UNRWA. We also commend the strong response by the Arab world, the OIC and freedom and peace loving nations around the globe to provocative statements regarding annexation of Palestinian land. And I also seize this opportunity to thank Jordan for its role in support of the rights of the Palestinian people and as custodian over the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, including its role in preserving the historic status quo over Al Haram Al Sharif.

The UN Security Council in adopting its resolutions, including 2334, was motivated by the pursuit of international peace and security, in fulfilment of its mandate. But stating the law is not enough, we must find the avenues to act to ensure its enforcement. Each country present here in the United Nations can make a further contribution to peace by upholding its obligations including under this resolution:

1) By supporting our inalienable rights, including to self-determination, and their fulfilment and by providing humanitarian and development assistance to the Palestinian people

2) By not recognizing illegal actions undertaken by Israel, including those that seek to alter the character and status of Jerusalem

3) By not rendering aid or assistance to illegal settlement activities

4) By distinguishing, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967

5) By ensuring accountability as impunity is the greatest obstacle to peace. 

Make no mistake about it, the real bias regarding Israel in the UN is the one shielding it from accountability. Impunity is the greatest obstacle to peace as it allows the occupying power to reap benefits from its occupation instead of facing consequences, incentivizing illegal actions instead of ensuring compliance with the law. A State that feels it is above the law will be tempted to continue acting as an outlaw State. For the sake of peace, and for the benefit of all peoples of the region, and for the authority of international law, we need to urgently and collectively act to change course, restore hope, and achieve a just and lasting solution to the conflict. We seek justice not vengeance. Freedom not conditional liberty. Peace not Apartheid.

23 July 2019 – 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”

Mr. President,

We thank the Peruvian Presidency for convening this important meeting and for your able leadership of the Security Council’s agenda.

We also thank Under-Secretary-General Rosemary Di Carlo for her briefing on the situation, one that regrettably worsens every day that action to ensure justice is delayed and that a political horizon for a peaceful solution remains obstructed.

Mr. President,

We have come to this chamber time after time, appealing to, calling on and imploring on the Security Council to act – to alleviate the human suffering, to salvage peace prospects and to contribute to making that peace a reality. We remain convinced that such action – in line with international law, the Council’s resolutions and its Charter responsibility for international peace and security  – is the only way to bring an end to this grave injustice.

Respect for the law and human rights and establishment of justice are the only way forward. Those who would tell us otherwise are setting us up for decades more of suffering and insecurity for all – Palestinians, Israelis and the entire region.

After more than 52 years of Israel’s illegal occupation of our land, its gross, violent denial of our people’s rights and their constant dispossession and displacement, it is past high-time to redress this situation, justly and permanently. This is a blatant situation of belligerent, colonial foreign occupation – attested to by any measure of the law and by this Council, the General Assembly, the International Court of Justice, countless regional and global organizations, academia, and the international community in nearly its entirety – and it must be brought to an end. [Read more…]

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, Quarterly Open Debate “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestine Question”, 29 April 2019

Mr. President,

I thank the German and French Presidencies of the Security Council for their skillful joint leadership over these past two months.

I also thank Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, for her briefing and able guidance of the Department. We also recognize the ongoing efforts of UN Special Coordinator Nikolay Mladenov and his team, as well as the vital role and support of UNRWA and the efforts of OCHA, UNICEF, UNDP and all UN Agencies on the ground, at this critical time.

Mr. President,

We meet at a moment of great uncertainty and volatility. The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, is rapidly declining, despair is rising and a peace horizon is being nullified by an occupying Power that insists on imposing its illegal agenda at any cost.

The outlook has become even grimmer after an Israeli election further entrenching the extreme right that has come to rule Israel as a racist, apartheid State under Prime Minister Netanyahu. The absolute support given to Israel by a Permanent Member of this Council has only emboldened its flouting of the law, further fueling its human rights violations against our people and colonization of our land. [Read more…]