72 UNGA: Statement by the Ambassador of Cuba, H.E. Mr. Humberto Rivero Rosario, at the General Debate of the 72nd Session, on Item 38 "The Question of Palestine" and Item 37 "The Situation in the Middle East" New York, 30 November 2017.

Mr. Chairman,

Cuba endorses the statement by the Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

We thank Ambassador Fodé Seck, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, for the report prepared and for having the opportunity to listen to his presentation.

Cuba expresses its deep concern about the situation in the Middle East region, devastated by violence, interference in internal affairs, foreign aggression and long-term conflicts, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

It is time to pay off the historical debt to the State of Palestine and to restore the inalienable rights of its people, violated by Israel for half a century of occupation, collective repression and punishment, destruction and confiscation of Palestinian lands and property, of forced displacement and settlements of settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The numerous violations of international law, in particular humanitarian law and human rights standards, by Israel, the occupying Power, during fifty years of foreign military occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Syrian Golan since 1967, are still occurring and have even increased during the period under review.

The Security Council must take concrete measures to put an end to this historic injustice by urgently ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory and other Arab territories since 1967.

The nearly one-decade blockade of the Gaza Strip must be stopped immediately. The critical situation resulting from the air, land and sea blockade presupposes the almost total isolation and great deprivation of the 2 million Palestinian civilians living in the area. In Gaza, a serious humanitarian crisis persists and socio-economic conditions have fallen to the lowest levels since the beginning of the occupation in 1967, which has generated an extremely difficult and unsustainable situation that requires an immediate solution.

A two-State solution and a comprehensive, just, peaceful and lasting settlement to the Palestinian question will not be possible, as long as Israel continues to violate its obligations under international law and the Charter of the United Nations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; as well as relevant resolutions of the United Nations, among them Security Council resolution 2334 (2016).

Mr. Chairman,

Cuba also demands to put an end to the occupation of the Syrian Golan.

We reiterate that any measure or action that has been taken or is about to be taken in order to modify the legal, physical and demographic status and institutional structure of the occupied Syrian Golan, as well as Israel's measures to exercise its jurisdiction and administration in that territory, constitute violations of international law, international agreements, the Charter of the United Nations and UN resolutions, including Security Council resolution 497 (1981) and the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as a challenge to the international community.

Mr. Chairman,

In this complex scenario we cannot forget that we must also seek solutions to situations that arise in the geographical environment and also affect the possibility of achieving peace. A comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the question of the city of Jerusalem is necessary, taking into account the legitimate concerns of the Palestinian and Israeli sides, as well as bearing in mind that to impose Israel's legislation, jurisdiction and administration, whether in Jerusalem or in the occupied Syrian Golan, are not only null and void actions, but also constitute obstacles to the peace process.

Mr. Chairman,

As our Minister of Foreign Affairs recalled in his message of solidarity with the Palestinian people today, "Cuba has historically maintained its firm support and solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people, based on a principled, clear and unequivocal position, in favor of self-determination and of the establishment of an independent Palestinian State. We will continue to defend the right of the Palestinian people to have a free, independent and sovereign State, with its capital in East Jerusalem and the pre-1967 borders, as well as the right of return of Palestinian refugees."

The Cuban Minister also pointed out in his message of solidarity that "the international community must not remain impassive in the face of abuses and violations against the Palestinian people. We support all actions that allow the commencement of a political negotiation process that guarantees the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the achievement of a just and lasting peace for all the peoples of the region."

Mr. Chairman,

In November 2012, the General Assembly adopted the historic decision to grant Palestine the status of Observer State in the UN. As we offer our support at that time, Cuba will continue to support the admission of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations, as it is the manifest desire of the vast majority of States. The historical debt to the Palestinian people is huge and must be paid off

Allow me to conclude this statement by reiterating Cuba's unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people and its determination to continue supporting it in its legitimate struggle for justice, dignity, peace and the defense of its inalienable right to self-determination and sovereignty.

Thank you very much