Statement by H.E.Mr. Feridun Sinirlioğlu, Permenant Representative of Turkey to the U.N. on Middle East Open Debate

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 18.10.2018
Madam President,
There was a moment in history when we were all hopeful that there would be peace between Israel and Palestine.
This is no more the case. The hopes for a just and lasting settlement have never been lower.
But this gloomy picture could have been avoided. It was not inevitable.
It is the result of deliberate steps.
Madam President,
We see an increasing pressure on the daily lives of Palestinians.
Gaza is still under blockade.
Israeli security forces use increasingly excessive force against Palestinian civilians.
There are restrictions for the Muslims who want to visit Al-Haram Al-Sharif.
Recently, we have seen the displacement of Bedouins of Khan al Ahmar and the introduction of the Jewish Nation-State Law, which disregard the basic rights of the Palestinian people.
The aim is to pressure Palestinians into accepting the status quo by enforcing hardship and humiliation.
Madam President,
We also witness a systematic effort to undermine the inalienable rights of the Palestine people.
This is an attempt to change the terms of reference in the Middle East conflict.
This is an attempt to destroy the hopes for a two-state solution.
Madam President,
We are entitled to our own views. But we are not entitled to our own facts.
According to international law, the Palestinians have the right to their own state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. This cannot be changed.
According to UN resolutions, Palestinians have the right to return to their homeland. This cannot be withheld.
Refugee status of the people of Palestine is a legitimate right. It cannot be a used as a bargaining chip.
Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are illegal. They cannot be ignored.
These are facts and based on international law.
Madam President,
UNRWA is the most recent target of the efforts to collectively punish the Palestinians.
Services provided by UNRWA are vital to meet the basic needs of the Palestine refugees and to show that they are not forgotten.
The Agency is also playing a critical role for the stability of the region.
Last month, schools for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children across Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria were re-opened.
Who is going to benefit if the Palestine refugees are subjected to more difficulty?

As the chair of the UNRWA Advisory Commission and the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA, Turkey is proud to support the Agency’s work.
We have increased our annual contribution.
We have also requested traditional donors to increase their contributions and we have been working to expand the donor base of UNRWA.
During the high level week, we co-hosted a landmark meeting where we mobilized 122 million US Dollars.
We expect all countries to step in and help UNRWA.
Madam President,
It is high time to stand up for justice and protection of established parameters of a lasting peace in Palestine.
The international community must fulfill its moral responsibility.
Turkey is ready to do its part.