We appreciate the holding of this open debate of the Security Council and we support the statement by the delegation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
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 historic debt to the Palestinian State 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 in the occupied Palestinian territories.
It should be remembered that, as our Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban Revolution, said on October 12, 1979 at the United Nations, I quote:
"Stripped of their lands, expelled from their own homeland, dispersed throughout the world, persecuted and murdered, the heroic Palestinians are an impressive example of abnegation and patriotism and are the living symbol of the greatest crime of our age."
The Security Council must take concrete measures to end this historic injustice by urgently putting an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory and other Arab territories since 1967.
The nearly one-decade blockade of the Gaza Strip, bringing a deep socio-economic and humanitarian crisis to two million Palestinian civilians, must be stopped immediately, and obligations under international humanitarian law must be fulfilled.
A two-state solution and a comprehensive, just, peaceful and lasting settlement of 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, including Security Council resolution 2334 (2016).
Cuba also demands the end of 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 change 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.
Cuba notes the initiatives to resume direct peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis and the recent agreement to provide water to the Palestinian territories.
Cuba will continue to defend the right of Palestinians to self-determination, to have a free, independent and sovereign state, with East Jerusalem as its capital and with the pre-1967 borders, and the return of Palestinian refugees. We will also continue to support the entry of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations.
We hope that in the context of the fiftieth anniversary of the Israeli occupation, the tenth anniversary of the blockade of the Gaza Strip, the Security Council will live up to its responsibility and debt to the Palestinian people.
Thank you very much