75 UNGA: Statement by Ambassador Pedro L. Pedroso, under Items 37 and 38 On the situation in the Middle East and The Palestinian Question. New York, 2 December 2020.

Mr. President,

My delegation is honored to speak under agenda item 37, "The situation in the Middle East", and under agenda item 38, "The Palestinian question".

We take this opportunity to acknowledge the work carried out by the Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Ambassador Cheikh Niang, during this complex year 2020. Despite the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee was able to adapt to the new reality with the purpose of fulfilling the mandate entrusted by the Member States.

Mr. President,

While the world's governments are working tirelessly to tackle the pandemic, Israel continues with its occupation of the Palestinian territory, its policies of annexation, the increase of the illegal and colonizing practices and measures, including the construction and expansion of settlements within the occupied Palestinian territory, punitive demolitions, the confiscation of resources from Palestinian institutions, the forced displacement of hundreds of civilians and the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which worsen the emergency situation of the public health system and the socio-economic and humanitarian situation in Palestine, particularly in East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, making it difficult to counter the spread of the COVID-19.

A little over a month ago, 75 years since the creation of the United Nations, were observed. That date also marked 73 years since the Palestine partition in 1947 and 53 years since the illegal Israeli military occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territories. Despite the fact that more than half a century has elapsed, the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East continue to be an unresolved issue of the United Nations. The Palestinian and Arab peoples suffering the Israeli occupation continue to wait for us.

Mr. President,

It is disturbing that, in the face of this serious threat to international peace and security, the Security Council remains silent. We reiterate our call to the Security Council to fulfill its responsibility under the UN Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security and to call for the immediate end to the occupation of the Palestinian territories and to Israel's aggressive policies and colonizing practices, in compliance with the resolutions on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, particularly resolution 2334 (2016).

The repeated obstruction of the United States, accomplice of Israel's occupation and aggression, is plunging this body into disrepute.

The international community cannot remain silent in the face of the upsurge in violence and the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force against Palestinian civilians, in flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter and International Humanitarian Law. Israel must be required to respect international law, including humanitarian law and all relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, inclusive of resolution 2334 (2016).

Mr. President,

We reaffirm our unrestricted support for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the creation of two States allowing their people to exercise their right to self-determination and to establish an independent and sovereign State, on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of return for the refugees.

We express to the government and the people of Palestine our unwavering solidarity and support for Palestine's admission to full membership in the United Nations. We also support the call made again by the President of the State of Palestine to convene an international peace conference.

We reject the unilateral decision of the United States government to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to establish its diplomatic representation in that city, in disrespect for its historical status. We denounce the withdrawal of the financial support for the Palestinian Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East, as another attempt to choke the Palestinian people.

In like manner, we reiterate our opposition to the so-called "deal of the century", drawn up by the current US administration, which does not envisage the establishment of a Palestinian state, ignoring the two-State solution, which has been historically supported by the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, the ICO and other international actors.

Mr. President,

Cuba reiterates its strongest condemnation of the decision of the United States government to recognize the occupied Syrian Golan as Israel´s territory, which constitutes a serious and blatant violation of the United Nations Charter, International Law and the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 497 of 1981. This maneuver by Washington, which violates the legitimate interests of the Syrian people and the Arab and Islamic nations, imposes serious consequences for the stability and security in the Middle East and will further escalate tensions in this unstable region.

  We will continue to support the demand of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic to recover the Golan Heights, and we call once again for Israel´s total and unconditional withdrawal from the Syrian Golan and from all occupied Arab territories.

Mr. President,

Just 24 hours ago, we commemorated the "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People". Let us make the United Nations relevant to the Palestinian people with actions, not words; let us support without any restrictions actions that allow for the implementation of a political process of negotiations in which the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are guaranteed and a just and lasting peace is attained for all the peoples of the region.

Thank you very much.