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New York, 29 November 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the General Assembly, I would like to thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, its Chair and Vice-Chairs for the invitation to address you here today.

We meet to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – as we have done every year since 1978. The date of 29 November was chosen because of its meaning and significance to the Palestinian people. On this day, in 1947, the General Assembly adopted resolution 181, which partitioned the territory known as the “Mandate for Palestine” into two states; one Jewish and one Arab.

However, as we are all sadly aware, the resolution did not translate into a just and lasting solution. We continue therefore to observe this day in order to show our enduring commitment and solidarity to the peoples of the region.

And by doing so, we also reaffirm the permanent responsibility of the United Nations to remain seized of the question of Palestine until it is resolved in all its aspects.

In this regard, I commend you, Mr. Chairman, for what you and your Committee have done to remind us of this shared responsibility.

I also commend and pay tribute to the United Nations in general, and in particular the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), as well as to non-governmental organizations and civil society, for their invaluable efforts on the ground. I encourage all Member States to continue to support their efforts.

Violence, human suffering and mistrust have dominated Palestinian-Israeli relations for far too long. How shall we explain to the coming generations our inability – during 63 years - to end the dramatic situation inflicted to the peoples of the region?

If we want to move forward, we must restore hope and a sense of positive direction to the peoples of the region. Now more than ever, the parties must step up their efforts to engage each other in honest negotiations and overcome deadlocks. Violence and acts of terror must cease. International law and UN resolutions must be respected, and actions which could aggravate the situation and increase suspicion and mistrust must be stopped. Now is time for peace.

Everything must be done to alleviate the daily suffering of the Palestinian people. Access and mobility are crucial for dealing with unemployment and poverty.

We, the international community, must also intensify our engagement in helping the parties to end a conflict which for far too long has tormented the region and its peoples. We must spare no efforts to assist both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to decades of confrontation, conflict and violence. This is in the interest of the parties, in the interest of the region, and in the interest of international peace and security.

Let us reaffirm our commitment to the Middle East peace process, and continue to mobilize international assistance for the Palestinian people. They deserve a life in dignity, and a future of peace and security.

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