73 UNGA: Statement by Cuba on Item 55 "Report of the Special Committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the occupied territories". New York, November 13, 2018.

Mr. Chairman,

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

Our delegation welcomes the work done by the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arab of the Occupied Territories.

The report submitted today shows the work done by the Committee, the problems faced during its work and the working goals and objectives towards the future.

We would also like to recognize the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967, Mr. Michael Lynk, for his detailed report, which contains numerous concerns in relation to human rights situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Mr. Chairman,      

Cuba wishes to express once again the deep concern over the turbulent situation in the Middle East region, especially the Palestinian question and the negative consequences for the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian people continue to deeply suffer more than 51 years of illegal foreign occupation and of illegal Israeli policies and practices in serious violation of international law, including humanitarian law and human rights.

The unilateral declaration by the President of the United States of the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which Cuba rejects, constitutes a serious and flagrant violation of the UN Charter, of International Law and of the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.

As we have expressed, the intention of the United States Government to modify the historical status of Jerusalem violates the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people and of the Arab and Islamic nations.

Mr. Chairman,            

The reports submitted, among others by the Secretary General, are not encouraging: the occupation of the Palestinian territory continues; as well as the confiscation of Palestinian lands and properties; the construction and expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; the forced displacements; the colonizing and illegal policies and practices, and the collective punishments against the Palestinian people.

After 51 years of occupation, Israel also continues to fail to comply with the Security Council resolution demanding its withdrawal from the Syrian Golan, while ignoring Council Resolution 497 (1981).

Cuba reaffirms that any measure or action that Israel has taken or is about to take with a view to modifying the legal, physical and demographic status and institutional structure of the occupied Syrian Golan, as well as measures to exercise its jurisdiction and administration in that territory, are null and without legal effect.

We also reaffirm that all these measures and actions, including the illegal construction and expansion of Israeli settlements in the Syrian Golan since 1967, constitute violations of international law, international agreements, the UN Charter and the resolutions of the United Nations, including resolution 497 (1981) of the Security Council, and the Fourth Geneva Convention, and are also a challenge to the international community.

Cuba demands the total and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from the Syrian Golan and from all the occupied Arab territories and advocates maintaining a constructive and respectful dialogue among the peoples of the region.

It is still regrettable that the Security Council, the organ in charge of maintaining international peace and security, has not been able to reach an agreement that will definitively put an end to the aggressions and colonizing practices against the Palestinian and Syrian peoples of the occupied Golan. The Security Council must adopt, without further delay, concrete measures to put an end to this historic injustice.

In like manner, the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has been going on for over a decade, which is plunging more than two million Palestinian civilians into a deep socio-economic and humanitarian crisis, must be stopped immediately.

Mr. Chairman,

Cuba takes note and encourages initiatives to resume direct peace negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. It also appreciates the efforts that are being made to promote reconciliation and intra-Palestinian unity.

We reaffirm our full support for the entry of Palestine as a full member of this Organization and we call on the Security Council to act in this regard. If not, the General Assembly should act with determination to decide the case.

Our country will continue to support a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, based on a two-State solution, which allows the Palestinians the right to self-determination, to have a free, independent and sovereign State, with its capital in East Jerusalem and with the pre-1967 borders; as well as the right of refugees to return.

Thank you very much.