Mr. President and dear Ministers,

It is time to pay off the historical debt to the State of Palestine and to restore the inalienable rights of its people, violated by Israel for more than half a century of occupation, collective punishment, destruction and confiscation of land and property, forced displacement and colonial settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The blockade of the Gaza Strip for almost a decade, which plunges more than two million Palestinians into a deep socio-economic and humanitarian crisis, must be stopped immediately.

As long as the present situation of the Palestinian people persists, it will always be a duty and a priority for the Non-Aligned Movement to assume the defense of the legitimate rights of that people and to strongly condemn the military occupation of their territories.

Cuba will continue to defend the right of Palestinians to self-determination, to have a free, independent and sovereign state, with its capital in East Jerusalem and its pre-1967 borders, and the return of Palestinian refugees. We will also continue to support Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations.

Mr. President,

A two-state solution and a comprehensive, just, peaceful and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question will not be possible as long as the occupying power continues to violate its obligations under International Law and the Charter of the United Nations in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem; as well as the relevant United Nations resolutions, including Security Council resolution 2334 (2016).

The situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, requires urgent measures to ensure full respect for International Law and International Humanitarian Law.

It is thus imperative that the Security Council fulfills its responsibilities under the Charter and guarantees the end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory. It is unacceptable that the Security Council should continue to be held hostage to veto or threatened by the use of veto by the United States.

Mr. President,

Only the end of colonization, the release of Palestinian prisoners and the recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return, will enable a political process of negotiations to guarantee the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and a just and lasting peace for all the peoples of the region.

Thank you very much.

Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations.