The delegation of Cuba wishes to thank you for your decision to convene this plenary meeting for the joint debate of items 37 “The situation in the Middle East” and 38 “Question of Palestine”, after the request of the delegations of Niger and Algeria, in their capacities as Chair of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and Chair of the Arab Group, respectively, as well as that of the Chair of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Our delegation strongly supports the remarks made by Azerbaijan on behalf of NAM, as well as the positions expressed by Niger and Algeria, on behalf of the OIC and the Arab Group.
The statement released to the media yesterday, 18 May, by Mr. Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories could not have been more dramatic and highly worrying.
This General Assembly must act immediately and resolutely to put an end to the Israeli military aggression, particularly in the Gaza Strip, which has been under siege for over 13 years. Israel´s indiscriminate and disproportionate bombings have claimed the lives of hundreds of Palestinians, including entire families and a considerable number of children. The occupying power is viciously wrecking houses, hospitals and civil infrastructure, which constitutes a flagrant violation of all the norms of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.
It is alarming that, due to the repeated obstruction of the United States, in complicit silence with Israel, the Security Council has been unable to speak out and condemn the escalation of violence and the tragic events that are regrettably repeated in the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem and after taking days to convene a public meeting on this issue, which not only affects the Middle East region, but also international peace and security, has not even issued a statement of condemnation.
The paralysis of the Security Council has led Israel to believe it has been given green light to commit its crimes with impunity. The occupation, annexation policy, an increase in illegal and colonizing practices and measures continue, including the construction and expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, punitive demolitions, confiscation of resources from Palestinian institutions, the forced displacement of hundreds of civilians, the blockade on the Gaza Strip and the threat to annex the Palestinian territories of the Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Cuba condemns in the strongest terms all the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. We call on Israel to put an end to its despicable practices and to respect the Charter of the United Nations, international law and relevant Security Council resolutions.
This aggression must stop immediately. The world is insulted by the Zionist barbarity and the veil of impunity that the United States draws over these crimes by supporting the Israeli regime.
We ratify our unrestricted support for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which allows the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and establish an independent and sovereign State within the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital and guaranteeing the right to return of refugees.
The international community has a legal, political and moral obligation to fully support the Palestinian cause. If the Security Council continues to be hindered from carrying out its duties under the Charter of the United Nations, it is incumbent upon this august Assembly to take the necessary steps to put an end to impunity and barbarity.