SEVENTY-FOURTH SESSION, 7TH & 8TH MEETINGS (AM & PM)
GA/12190
26 SEPTEMBER 2019

Français

Terrorism, Climate Change, Situation in Middle East also Featured Prominently

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Several Heads of State and Government as well as ministers drew attention to escalating tensions in the Strait of Hormuz and recent attacks against Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities — pointing out that they risk deepening an already fraught situation across the Middle East — while also voicing grave concern that the entrenched conflict in the Occupied Palestinian Territory remains unresolved.

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Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, outlined recent developments in a conflict that featured in many of today’s 37 interventions.  Recalling that Israel’s Prime Minister recently announced his intention to annex parts of the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea, he said Palestine’s response — should the annexation proceed — will be to terminate all signed agreements with the Government of the occupation.  “It is time for the international community to uphold its responsibilities and bring an end to this Israeli aggression and arrogance,” he stressed, telling the Assembly:  “The responsibility for defending and preserving international law and peace is incumbent upon you.”

Israel Katz, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel, called on the Palestinian Authority to “stop encouraging and financing terrorism” and return to direct negotiations without preconditions.  The terrorist organization Hamas is holding two Israeli citizens and the bodies of two of his country’s soldiers, he said, calling on the United Nations to implement the decision to halt aid to Gaza until those matters are resolved.

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RUMEN RADEV, President of Bulgaria…Voicing Bulgaria’s support for all efforts to resume the Israeli‑Palestinian peace talks and for a two‑State solution as the only way to achieve peace, he said the conflict in Yemen also demonstrates that no comprehensive solution can be achieved by military means.

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MAHMOUD ABBAS, President of the State of Palestine, recalled that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, recently announced his intention to annex and apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea should he prevail in elections.  Rejecting that plan as illegal, he said Palestine’s response — should the annexation proceed — will be to terminate all signed agreements with the Government of the occupation.  “It is time for the international community to uphold its responsibilities and bring an end to this Israeli aggression and arrogance,” he stressed, recalling that the Assembly granted observer status to the State of Palestine in 2012.  He expressed gratitude for that legal and moral stance, as well as to all those nations that provide support to the Palestinian people, including through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

In that vein, he recalled that despite the obstacles and policies imposed by Israel’s occupation and those behind it, Palestine has become a full member and State party to more than 110 international instruments and organizations.  It has received recognition from 140 States and currently chairs the “Group of 77” developing countries and China at the United Nations.  As such, it deserves to become a full member of the United Nations and all its bodies and agencies.  While Palestine has long accepted the legitimacy of international law, those laws are now severely endangered as a result of Israel’s policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  “The responsibility for defending and preserving international law and peace is incumbent upon you,” he told the Assembly.

In East Jerusalem, he said the occupying Power is waging a reckless, racist war “against everything that is Palestinian”:  confiscating homes, carrying out assaults on the clergy, enacting racist laws and denying worshipers access to holy places.  Warning that such actions will lead to dangerous consequences with unfathomable implications, he urged the international community to reject Israel’s arbitrary decisions, especially the withholding and confiscation of Palestinian tax revenue.  Emphasizing that the Palestinian people will not surrender to Israel’s occupation “no matter the pain” imposed against them, he described recent moves by the United States as both unfortunate and shocking.  Among those, it declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel and moved its Embassy there — a blatant provocation to the sensitivities of hundreds of millions of Muslims and Christians — and immorally and inhumanely terminated all its contributions to UNRWA.

Warning that such policies have emboldened Israel to renege on all signed agreements, depriving the peace process of any credibility, he said Palestine has never missed an opportunity to hold serious negotiations with the Israeli side.  However, it has regrettably not found an Israeli partner for those efforts.  Calling for the holding of an international peace conference, in line with the initiative presented to the Security Council in 2018, he stressed that Palestine’s democratic process was paralyzed by a 2007 coup by Hamas, leading to an unbearable situation.  He declared his intention to announce a date for the holding of general elections in Palestine — including the West Bank and Gaza — upon his return from New York and urged the United Nations to monitor them.  He further renounced all acts of terrorism, especially those committed recently against Saudi Arabia and other Arab States.

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CHARLES MICHEL, Prime Minister of Belgium, said…On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the ground situation is “crumbling” amid persistent violence, mistrust and settlement activity.

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XAVIER BETTEL, Prime Minister of Luxembourg…Drawing attention to new political tensions between Israel and Palestine, and ongoing conflicts in Yemen and Syria, he said Iran must fully respect the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which Luxembourg — and the majority of the international community — continues to support.

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EVARISTO DO ESPÍRITO SANTO CARVALHO, President of São Tomé and Principe, said…In that regard, he urged the United Nations to create more binding mechanisms to ensure solidarity with the victims of war and terrorism and to create lasting solutions to both old and new conflicts — notably the Israeli-Palestinian, Syrian and Libyan conflicts — as well as the deployment of terrorist groups in the Sahel, East, Central and West Africa.

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AZALI ASSOUMANI, President of Comoros, said…Turning to the Middle East, he cited crises in Syria and Yemen and the issue of “our brotherly people in Palestine”, who are still deprived of their basic rights.  The illegal occupation and brutal repression visited upon them feeds into extremism of every kind.  It is therefore time for the United Nations, just as it worked for the existence of Israel, to create a Palestinian State which will live in peace with Israel, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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ISMAËL OMAR GUELLEH, President of Djibouti, said…Noting the resurgence of violence in the occupied Palestinian territories, he condemned plans by Israel to annex land in the Jordan Valley and north of the Dead Sea.

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ISATOU TOURAY, Vice-President of the Gambia…reiterated her country’s commitment to a two-State solution for the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

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ISRAEL KATZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Israel, noting he is the son of Holocaust survivors, stated his country is a real democracy for all its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish alike.  He added “but, first of all, Israel is the ‘nation-State’ of the Jewish people based on thousands of years of Jewish history and the right of the Jewish people to its own homeland”.  He called on all countries to follow the United States in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  Stating Israel has signed peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan and is working to advance relations with other regional Arab States, he called on the Palestinian Authority to “stop encouraging and financing terrorism”, recognize the right of the Jewish people to its own State and return to direct negotiations without preconditions.  Noting that “terrorist organization Hamas” is holding two Israeli citizens and the bodies of two of his country’s soldiers in Gaza, he said the United Nations must implement decisions made on the issue and not allow any State to provide aid to Gaza until they are returned to their families.

Stating that Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had attacked Israel, he accused him of brutally oppressing the Turkish people, slaughtering the Kurdish minority and supporting Hamas, saying “You are the last one that can lecture Israel”.  He said the main problem threatening stability and security in the Middle East is Iran, which threatens to destroy Israel, and uses “proxy terror organizations” Hizbullah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Houthis and Shiite militias against his country.  He stated the country had launched missiles at Saudi oil facilities to destabilize world oil supplies, a “serious escalation” done on the direct orders of Iranian leader Ali Khamenei.  “Iran is the biggest terror State and the biggest sponsor of terror in the world,” he said, calling on the international community to unite to stop it and prevent it from developing nuclear or ballistic weapons.  The United Nations must declare Hizbullah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to be terror organizations.

However, he noted the Middle East also presents opportunities for cooperation and advancing the economies of all countries.  He and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have developed the “Tracks for Regional Peace” initiative, connecting Arab Gulf States by rail through Jordan to ports in Haifa, and intend to connect the Palestinian Authority to the project to boost its economy.  “We have no conflict with the Gulf States and have common interests in the field of security against the Iranian threat,” he added, turning to the potential benefits of Israeli high-tech, innovation, agriculture and water technology.  The Gulf States also have capabilities that can help Israel.

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For information media. Not an official record.


Document Type: French text, Press Release
Document Sources: General Assembly, United Nations Department of Global Communications
Subject: Palestine question
Publication Date: 26/09/2019