Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
I bring you warm greetings from the Secretary-General, who has asked me to share with you his message for this year’s worldwide observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People:
“Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains one of the most intractable challenges facing the international community.
Regrettably, over the past year, there have been no positive developments, and the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate.
The intensification of illegal settlements, demolitions of Palestinian homes and the pervasive suffering in Gaza must stop.
The establishment of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, as stated in Security Council resolution 2334.
These actions threaten to undermine the viability of establishing a Palestinian state based on relevant United Nations resolutions.
At the same time, the indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli civilian populations must cease.
I call on Israelis and Palestinians, and all their supporters, to take steps that will restore faith in the two-state solution. There is no viable alternative.
It is a dangerous illusion to think that the conflict can be managed or contained in perpetuity.
Only constructive negotiations between the parties, in good faith, with the support of the international community and adhering to long-standing United Nations resolutions and long-agreed parameters, will bring about a just and durable solution, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.
What is needed, first and foremost, are leadership and political will.
The efforts of civil society and those on all sides who seek to bridge the gap between Israelis and Palestinians also need to be supported.
On this International Day of Solidarity, let us reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rights of the Palestinian people.
The United Nations will not waver in its commitment to the Palestinian people as we strive to achieve their inalienable rights and build a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”
Let me now add a few words of my own.
The General Assembly resolution [partitioning] Palestine into two States was adopted  years ago.
This past September marked 26 years since the signing of the Oslo Accords, which were intended to lead to the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State based on the 1967 lines.
Sadly, as we all know, that has not happened.
The two-State solution, the only viable resolution to this conflict, remains as distant as ever.
While we work for a resumption of negotiations, we must address the immense suffering of civilians in Gaza where some two million Palestinians live in poverty and unemployment, with restricted access to healthcare, education and basic services, and impacted daily by Israeli-imposed closures.
We must maintain and increase our response to the Palestinians’ urgent economic and humanitarian needs.
Palestinians in Gaza, like people everywhere, have the right to protest peacefully.
Israeli security forces have a responsibility to exercise maximum restraint.
At the same time, indiscriminate launching of rockets and incendiary devices towards Israeli civilian populations should stop.
Despite the challenges, efforts towards peace must continue.
The United Nations continues to support Egypt’s work towards Palestinian reconciliation.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency remains a vital stabilizing factor in the Middle East and needs our continued support.
We welcome the recent recommendation of the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly in favour of renewing UNRWA’s mandate.
We also call on Member States to intensify their support and financial contributions for the Agency.
Speaking to the General Assembly two months ago, President Abbas announced his intention to set a date for Palestinian elections.
It will be essential for those elections to take place across the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in occupied East Jerusalem and Gaza, in line with relevant legislation, international best practices, an agreed national political platform and existing agreements, including the Oslo Accords.
I join the Secretary-General in stressing the need for bold action.
We must reject those who seek to deny the historic links of Palestinians or Israelis with the land.
And we must revive negotiations on the two-state solution – the only way to fulfil the legitimate national aspirations of both peoples.
The United Nations will continue to work with the parties and all partners towards this essential goal.