Statement by Turkey at Security Council Open Debate on “the Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question”
Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 29.04.2019
For numerous times, we came here and stated that the Palestinians have the right to live like the rest of us.
They have the right to be free and secure. And they have the right to enjoy what is their own.
Yet, nothing has changed.
There is a systematic effort to undermine the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
The illegal occupation continues.
Illegal settlement activities continue.
Israeli security forces use disproportionate force against Palestinian civilians.
Gaza is still under blockade.
Since the Great March of Return demonstrations, humanitarian circumstances have become even worse. Thousands of people shot deliberately at their knees by Israeli forces were left with devastating wounds.
Humanitarian organizations on the ground report that many of the wounds have become infected, preventing reconstructive surgeries that are rarely available in Gaza.
Violence still continues and recent weeks have seen a further escalation of tension in the area.
Inaction in the face of persistent non-compliance with international law and UN resolutions further encourage Israel.
The international community, in particular the Security Council, cannot turn a blind eye to the situation.
There is an urgent need to revitalize the peace process.
The only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the two-State solution based on 1967 borders, Palestine and Israel, two states, living side by side.
The rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination, are not up for negotiations.
For decades, the bases for peace negotiations have been the relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Roadmap.
This was explicitly reaffirmed in resolution 2334.
These terms of reference cannot be changed.
What is needed now is to define a timeframe to realize the two-State solution with an independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Unfortunately, the plight of Palestine refugees is compounded by financial crisis of UNRWA.
In the absence of a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Agency’s mandate remains vital to the refugees, for the region and beyond.
It is our collective and moral duty to support the Agency and extend its mandate later this year.
As the chair of the UNRWA Advisory Commission and the Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA, Turkey will step up its efforts to contribute to Agency’s work and calls upon all actors to do the same.
Recently, one member state decided to recognize Israeli “sovereignty” over the Golan Heights.
This decision is null and void.
It is in contravention of Security Council Resolution 497. It violates international law.
Unilateral steps will not change the facts: The Golan Heights is occupied by Israel.
Annexation of territory by force is prohibited under international law, including the UN Charter.
And under the Law of State Responsibility, states are obliged not to recognize the annexation of territory as a result of force.
In each and every open debate on the Middle East, we are obliged to focus on a gloomy picture.
But these problems are not inherent to the history or culture of the region.
They are there because of the lack of justice and fair treatment. For a lasting peace, justice must be served and we should contribute to that by collectively upholding international law.
This requires unity, courage and resilience, particularly on the part of the Security Council.