SEVENTY-THIRD SESSION, 10TH & 11TH MEETINGS (AM & PM)
GA/12068
27 September 2018

français

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As the General Assembly entered the third day of its general debate, African leaders underscored their countries’ efforts towards greater democracy and sustainable development, with calls for expanded multilateral cooperation and Security Council reforms.

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Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, urged the Assembly to declare null and void the “Nation-State Law of the Jewish People” adopted by Israel in July, saying it will lead to the creation of an apartheid State and nullify the two-State solution.  He criticized the President of the United States for, among other things, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocating the United States Embassy to that city.  Emphasising that there can be no peace without an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem — “not some place in East Jerusalem” — as its capital, he stated that economic and humanitarian support to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while welcome, cannot substitute for a political solution that will end the Israeli occupation and achieve independence for the State of Palestine on the ground.  Palestinians must be viewed as humans, he said, adding:  “We are not redundant.”

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MAHMOUD ABBAS, President of the State of Palestine, said he has returned to the General Assembly to appeal for the freedom, independence and justice for his oppressed people who have been suffering under the yoke of Israeli occupation for more than 51 years.  He recalled this year’s decision by the Palestinian National Council to suspend Palestinian recognition of Israel until Israel recognizes the State of Palestine.  That Council also decided to approach the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel’s treaty violations and acts of aggression by Israeli occupying forces.  The “Nation-State Law of the Jewish People” adopted by Israel in July is a racist law that will lead to the creation of an apartheid State and nullify the two-State solution, he said, calling on the international community and the General Assembly to declare it null and void, just as they condemned apartheid in South Africa.

He expressed shock at decisions taken by the President of the United States to close the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, D.C., recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, transfer the United States Embassy to that city, and end support to the Palestinian National Authority and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).  He called on the United States President to rescind those decisions, which went against international law and United Nations resolutions, and salvage the prospects for peace.  He recalled his proposal to the Security Council on 20 February for an international peace conference based on relevant United Nations resolutions and internationally-endorsed terms of reference.  Palestinians have never rejected negotiations and they continue to extend their hands for peace, he said.

There can be no peace without an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem — “not some place in East Jerusalem” — as its capital, he continued.  Noting that the State of Palestine will chair the Group of 77 developing countries and China in 2019, he called on all countries that have not yet done so — including the United Kingdom and the United States — to recognize the State of Palestine expeditiously.  Emphasizing that Israel, the occupying Power, has not implemented any relevant General Assembly or Security Council resolution, including resolution 2334 (2016), and that illegal settlement activity continues, he said the Palestinian people and their State are in more urgent need of international protection that at any time before.

While economic and humanitarian support to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is welcome, it cannot substitute for a political solution that will end the Israeli occupation and achieve independence for the State of Palestine on the ground, he pointed out.  Nor can it be an alternative to lifting the Israeli blockade or ending the division between the West Bank and Gaza.  Palestinians must be viewed as humans, he said, adding:  “We are not redundant.”

Israel and the United States must abide by their agreements with the Palestinians, who will otherwise be unable to uphold their commitments, he said.  Underscoring the role of the Quartet for Middle East peace, he said the United States alone cannot act as a mediator because it has too much bias towards Israel.  On Palestinian reconciliation, he said the State of Palestine cannot bear responsibility for the failure of Hamas to fulfil its obligations, and he urged the Assembly to ensure support for UNRWA.  Despite the injustice they face, the Palestinians will never resort to violence and terrorism.  He called on the Palestinian people to remain steadfast and to continue to make sacrifices until independence and self-determination are achieved, with East Jerusalem as their capital.

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BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Prime Minister of Israel,…Iran has attacked Kurds in Iraq, Sunnis in Syria, financed Hamas in Gaza and fired missiles into Saudi Arabia.

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He expressed Israel’s appreciation to President Trump and Ambassador Nikki Haley for their unwavering support for Israel at the United Nations, including Israel’s right to defend itself.  The United States has also backed out of a history‑denying United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and a morally bankrupt Human Rights Council.  It stopped funding an unreformed United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) that instead of solving the Palestinian refugee problem, perpetuates it.  President Trump stood up to what has long been a speciality at the United Nations:  slandering Israel.  Recalling the United Nations resolution comparing Zionism to racism had been repealed long ago, he said that opinion still lingers at the Organization.  Israel is accused of racism, yet its Arab citizens have the same individual rights as all other Israeli citizens.  Israel is also accused of apartheid.  “This is the same old anti-Semitism with a brand-new face,” he underscored.

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RALPH E. GONSALVES, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,…also called for practical resolutions to the pain and suffering of the Palestinians and the people of Yemen.

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JOSÉ MÁRIO VAZ, President of Guinea‑Bissau, expressed concern that many conflicts persist around the world and many people continue to suffer the destruction of war.  Millions die or are forced to abandon their homes in search of asylum, he said, emphasizing that “we cannot remain indifferent to so much suffering and despair”.  Spotlighting the plight of those seeking asylum in Europe as well as those in Palestine, Yemen and Syria — which continues to be a major source of concern for the international community — he said that on the African continent, internal tensions caused by terrorist groups especially in the Sahel region spread fear among populations and prevent Governments from focusing on development issues.

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AZALI ASSOUMANI, President of the Comoros, said…Attention is also urgently needed to address crises in Yemen, Syria and Palestine.  On the latter, he pledged his country’s support for the Palestinian people, calling on the General Assembly to shoulder its responsibilities to help those facing grave danger.

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MUHAMMAD JUSUF KALLA, Vice-President of Indonesia, said…The commitment to peace and stability in the Middle East will be questioned if the Palestinian‑Israeli conflict is not solved, he said, adding that Indonesia supports the two‑State solution and a truly independent Palestinian State.

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K. P. SHARMA OLI, Prime Minister of Nepal, said…While Nepal’s foreign policy aims for “amity with all and enmity with none”, the world is at an important juncture facing many challenges including poverty, terrorism, climate change, food insecurity, forced displacement and intra‑State conflicts, he said.  In that context, people struggling for rights, liberty, freedom and justice, including in Syria, Yemen and Palestine, must be heard.

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ISMAEL OULD CHEIKH AHMED, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mauritania, noted…Turning to the question of Palestine, Mauritania calls for a viable solution leading to a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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AUGUSTINE PHILLIP MAHIGA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, said…Moving on to other parts of the world, he hoped for the total removal of the embargo against Cuba and a renewed opportunity to resolve issues in Western Sahara and in Palestine.

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MAHMOUD ALI YOUSSOUF, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Djibouti, said…Turning to the issue of Palestine, he said there is no alternative to the two-State solution, and that the plight of Palestinian refugees calls upon all our consciences.

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Right of Reply

The representative of Iran, speaking in exercise of right of reply, said the Israeli regime has a long history of following an opportunistic policy to mislead others.  It aims to divert attention from its inhumane and savage actions towards Palestinians and other Arab nations.  Israel’s “showman” misses no opportunity to tell monstrous lies and distort reality.  This is meant to distract attention from his regime’s killing of defenceless women and innocent children.  He attempts to mask Israel’s face as the last apartheid regime in the world.  “This is the only regime in the world that openly practices racism,” he said.  No amount of lies will ever cover up the criminal nature of Israel, which is led by a corrupt leader who pretends to be progressive and democratic.  He compared Israel’s fanaticism to that of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and the Nazis.  A democracy for racists that crushes the true owners of Palestine is a mockery and a tyranny, he added.  Israel is the enemy of democracy in the Middle East.  Israel has violated 300 Security Council resolutions, and the United States has used its veto power a total of 44 times to shield Israel from Security Council resolutions.

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For information media. Not an official record.