Statement by Palestinian Rights Committee Chairman at Security Council open debate – CEIRPP document

Translated from French

Statement to the Security Council by H.E. Mr. Fodé Seck, Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

(United Nations Headquarters, New York, 15 January 2015)

Mr. President,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would first like to congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Security Council in January. My congratulations also go to the Permanent Representatives of Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, whose countries have been elected to the Council. I wish them every success in the fulfilment of their mandate.

Mr. President,

Allow me to take this opportunity to express in the strongest terms the Committee’s condemnation of the terrorist attacks in Paris on 7 January 2015, and, furthermore, the equally abhorrent attacks that have occurred, in particular, in Nigeria, northern Cameroon, northern Mali, Pakistan and of course the Middle East.

The Committee, through me, would like to express its deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the peoples and Governments in mourning.

Mr. President,

The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People observed with great interest the debate organized by your august Council on 30 December 2014. At that meeting, although the Council failed to take concrete action, as had been recommended by the Committee in its statement, all Council members reaffirmed their commitment to the principle of a peaceful settlement of the conflict, on the basis of the two-State solution and the exercise of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people in a sovereign, viable and independent Palestine living side by side in peace and security with Israel.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the important role played by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as the representative of the Arab countries on the Council, and to encourage it to persevere in its commendable efforts to help find a solution to the conflict, bearing in mind that the status quo is no longer tenable.

Excellencies, members of the Council,

Considering the collapse of direct negotiations and the failure by the Security Council to act, the State of Palestine saw fit to accede to a number of international treaties, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to strengthen efforts to address violations of international law and international humanitarian law and, therefore, to combat impunity.

The Committee regrets that, in response, Israel chose to violate its own commitments to the Palestinian people by withholding – for how much longer? – the tax receipts that it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords. This attitude is counterproductive, as is Israel’s threat to impose further punitive measures. And it is also regrettable that the international community, including this Council, has remained silent and inactive in this regard.

However, at the current session of the United Nations General Assembly, Member States reaffirmed their strong commitment to a solution to the conflict based on the established principles and decisions of the United Nations.

More States have also recognized Palestine, most recently Sweden, while a number of parliaments have voted for such recognition, among them Belgium, France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, as well as the European Parliament, thereby reflecting the will of international public opinion to see a permanent solution to the conflict.

Mr. President,

The Committee welcomes the progress made to date on the ground regarding, in particular, the reconstruction of Gaza, under the interim tripartite mechanism, but nevertheless believes that more needs to be done, and done more quickly.

More goods and services need to be allowed to enter because tens of thousands of Gazans are still living in tents and damaged homes, exposed to the harshness of a wet and unusually cold winter.

While commending generous donor assistance in this regard, the Committee urges Israel to live up to its responsibilities as the occupying Power, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

Mr. President,

The General Assembly very wisely declared 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in order to strengthen Member States’ support for the cause of the Palestinian people and further the chances of a peaceful resolution of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed as we saw, over the course of the Year of Solidarity, the collapse of direct negotiations in the spring, followed by a rapid deterioration of the situation, leading to the devastating war that broke out last summer in Gaza.

The parameters of the problem remain the same: Israel continues to occupy Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is ongoing; Palestinian religious buildings are being attacked; and, in 2014, there were no fewer than 36 attacks on mosques and churches, in addition to the total destruction of 73 mosques and one church in Gaza during last summer's crisis. Provocative acts and incitement to violence by settlers and some Israelis are commonplace.

Mr. President,


Ladies and gentlemen,

Deeply concerned at this alarming state of affairs, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People wishes to associate itself with the many statements made today emphasizing that the status quo cannot continue, as it represents an unacceptable situation fraught with threats to international peace and security. Looking forward, the Committee hopes that the Security Council, the highest body responsible for ensuring international peace and security, will shoulder its responsibility under the Charter by giving itself the means to resolve this long-lasting conflict once and for all.

Thank you.


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