– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly

2 December 2020



Distinguished delegates,

The question of Palestine was first brought before the General Assembly in 1947. Since then we have come to this hall, numerous times, and affirmed that the Palestinian people have the right to live like the rest of us.

We have underlined that they have the right to be free, and secure, and they have the right, to enjoy what is their own. The General Assembly has adopted numerous resolutions and decisions to that effect over the past seven decades.

Yet, nothing has changed. There is an ongoing attempt to deny the historical and legal rights of the Palestinian people. 

Illegal occupation continues. Unlawful settlement activities and annexation threats have accelerated. Use of force against civilians remains excessive.

There are attempts to change the status of Jerusalem. The blockade on Gaza remains in place, causing the people of Gaza to live in tremendous despair and insecurity.

Ongoing violations of international law, including humanitarian and human rights law, cause immense suffering for the Palestine people. They cannot enjoy their most basic freedoms. There are constant attempts to pressure Palestinians into accepting the status quo by enforcing hardship and humiliation.

Distinguished delegates,

I take this opportunity to reiterate my position once more.  It is time to stand for justice. It is time to respect the historical and legal rights of Palestine people. 

The continuation of illegal and unacceptable practices will only deepen the sense of injustice and breed desperation. This is in nobody’s interest.

Security and stability in the Middle East cannot be achieved without a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, between Israelis and Palestinians.

It is imperative that negotiations are resumed.

The United Nations cannot not remain complacent in this process. We must maintain our focus on the urgent need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In true solidarity with the Palestinians, we must start by collectively upholding international law. We must protect the established parameters of a lasting peace, and we must all implement all the various resolutions on the Palestinian question.

It is our shared responsibility to support Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict, on the basis of international law, and realizing the vision of two States living side by side, in peace and security, within recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines.

This requires unity, courage and resilience. The international community must fulfil its legal and moral obligation.

I take this opportunity to reiterate my position once more.  It is time to stand for justice. It is time to respect the historical and legal rights of Palestine people.

Volkan Bozkir

President of the UN General Assembly

Distinguished delegates,

I remain deeply concerned, by the financial shortfall faced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, at a time, when the needs of the 5.6 million Palestine refugees are increasing, because of the global pandemic.

I therefore urge donors to provide UNRWA with sufficient and predictable funding, for its vital core activities and emergency appeals. UNRWA needs predictable and sustained funding to ensure stability and security for Palestine refugees.

We must do our utmost to support them until a just, fair, agreed, and realistic solution to the plight of Palestine refugees is finally reached, within the framework of a two-state solution.

Thank you.