Mr. Seck (spoke in French): On behalf of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people, I would like at the outset to pay tribute to the professionalism with which the delegation of Kazakhstan has conducted the work of the Security Council this month, and to welcome this open debate, which allows us to discuss the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine.

I reiterate the deep concern of the members of the Committee over recent developments on the ground that continue to undermine hopes for a peaceful settlement to the question of Palestine. Certainly, the almost unanimous support of the members of the Security Council in December for draft resolution S/2017/1060, on Jerusalem, and the General Assembly’s subsequent adoption of resolution ES-10/19 on 21 December 2017, at the tenth emergency special session, demonstrated the already obvious, unwavering commitment of the international community to a peaceful solution to this dispute. That resolution declared null and void any decision or action intended to alter Jerusalem’s character, status or demographic composition and called on all States to refrain for the time being from establishing diplomatic missions in the holy city. The Committee is convinced that, pursuant to the relevant United Nations resolutions and the long-standing international consensus, that Jerusalem remains a final-status issue to be resolved through negotiations.

The Committee is also concerned that Israel, as the occupying Power, has recently adopted measures imposing changes to the status quo on the ground. Those measures include the adoption of a law earlier this month by the Israeli Parliament that would prevent any future Israeli Government to cede any part of Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem, to an independent Palestinian State in the framework of negotiations. Furthermore, the central committee of the ruling majoritarian party in Israel recently adopted a resolution calling for the imposition of Israeli law on all settlements in the West Bank, de facto annexing them. If that resolution were to become law, it would close the door to a negotiated solution and constitute a violation of successive Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2334 (2017). In addition to being illegal under international law, those decisions undermine the two-State solution and, in that respect, must be rejected by the international community.

It is incumbent on the international community, especially our Council, to assume its responsibility to uphold the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence as a sovereign and viable State, with East Jerusalem as its capital. As the Committee remains resolutely committed to a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine, it condemns all forms of violence and incitement to hatred and extremism, regardless of the perpetrators or motives. For that reason, the Committee invites the international community to pursue its long­standing efforts to support, inter alia, inter-Palestinian reconciliation, guarantee the financial viability of Palestinian institutions and strengthen Palestinian capacity-building to prepare them to manage an independent State, freed from the occupation.

In that connection, the Committee calls on Members, in accordance with the relevant General Assembly resolutions, to strengthen support and assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, whose humanitarian and development work is indispensable to millions of Palestinian refugees. As key pillars, those institutions bring hope and stability to the Palestinian people, especially the young, in a region that is experiencing severe convulsions.

As the Committee continuously repeats, there is no alternative to the two-State solution, the international community must continue and scale up its action with all stakeholders so that the people Palestinian people, like all other peoples, including the Israeli people, can enjoy an independent and sovereign State within viable and internationally recognized borders, living in peace and security alongside its neighbours, including the State of Israel. In that spirit, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will continue to deliver on its mandate to achieve those ends.