The United Nations has underlined its unwavering commitment to the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle to achieve self-determination, independence, and sovereignty.
Senior officials joined ambassadors and other representatives from the international community in New York on Wednesday to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, officially observed each year on 29 November.
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was also commemorated today at a Special Meeting held at the United Nations Office at Geneva. Tatiana Valovaya, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, chaired the meeting and read out the message of António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, who said that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remained one of the most intractable challenges facing the international community. Regrettably, over the past year, there had been no positive developments, and the situation on the ground continued to deteriorate. The intensification of illegal settlements, demolitions of Palestinian homes and the pervasive suffering in Gaza must stop. The establishment of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity and constituted a flagrant violation of international law, as stated in Security Council resolution 2334. These actions threatened to undermine the viability of establishing a Palestinian State based on relevant United Nations resolutions.
The state of Palestine, reading out a statement on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the State of Palestine, said that for over 70 years, the Palestinian people had been martyred and imprisoned while defending their history, their homeland, and their holy sites. The state of Palestine had accepted the path of negotiations, dialogue, political engagement, and peaceful popular resistance as the means to resolve all final status issues and to achieve a peace agreement that led to independence ended the occupation and ended the conflict. However, all the while, Israel, the occupying power, had only pursued delaying tactics and bad faith actions since the conclusion of the Oslo agreements and to this very day. Moreover, the Israeli Prime Minister had expressed his rejection of the two-State solution and actively pursued annexation and settlement activities in Palestinian occupied land to undermine this solution.
The President of the State of Palestine rejected the declaration by the United States Secretary of State that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, did not contravene international law. Such unlawful statements and decisions by the United States only emboldened the Israeli Government in perpetuating its occupation and in accelerating its settlement activities and in further committing crimes as determined by the Rome Statute. It was time for concrete measures to provide protection to the Palestinian people and to fulfill their right to self-determination, freedom, and independence on the land occupied in 1967, and with East Jerusalem as its capital.
“Despite decades of disappointment and setbacks, we remain committed to a multilateral order that respects and ensures respect for international law,” he said in a message read by Palestinian Permanent Observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour.
“The State of Palestine will continue engaging in efforts aimed to advance the rule of international law, including through the building of our national institutions, spreading the culture of peace and empowering our people, especially women and youth.”
The roughly eight million Palestinians live primarily in territory occupied by Israel, but also across the Middle East in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
UN General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande called for action to ensure critical humanitarian support.
“This must be tackled by strengthening the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), to ensure that it can meet the humanitarian needs of over 5.4 million Palestinian refugees. It is important that we collectively safeguard the Agency against the political and financial challenges it faces,” he said.