Statement by Turkey, UNSC Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

Rauf Alp Denktaş 24.07.2019
Mr. President,

There was a moment in history when we were hopeful for peace in Israel and Palestine.
That is hardly the case anymore: The hopes for a lasting solution are dim. But frankly this gloomy picture could have been avoided. It was not inevitable.

Mr. President,

Today, despite the continuous international calls, the expansion of illegal settlements continues throughout occupied Palestinian territory.

The dramatic escalation of settlement activities that intend to create new realities on the ground continue to be concerning. It is an attempt to undermine the two-state vision and the possibility of coexistence.

Parallel to settlement expansion and excavation works, there is also an effort to destroy the demographic character and history of the old city of Kudüs / Jerusalem. The ongoing destructive excavation tunnel work to open the so-called “pilgrimage road”, is the latest example of such efforts. In Kudüs, Palestinians are also facing eviction orders and daily incursions into their neighborhoods.

Their residency statuses are terminated, in violation of international norms. Only, yesterday, residential buildings of Palestinians, including inhabited homes were destructed in Sur Bahir.

I draw your attention to the fact that these demolitions are occurring for the first time in areas under the authority of the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Agreement. This is a breach of international law and relevant Security Council resolutions.

The situation in Haram al-Sharif is also concerning. For the first time in years, hundreds of settlers entered Haram al-Sharif during Ramadan.

We saw attacks against Muslims worshipping in Al-Aqsa Mosque. Instead, with its blessed place in the heart of us all, Kudüs should be a city of peace and harmony, not a place of violence and provocation.

Mr. President,

All these illegal steps must stop immediately. Peace requires Israel to show political will and refrain from provocative and detrimental actions. The international community, in particular the Security Council, cannot turn a blind eye to the blatant disregard of international law.

The Council needs to take action. That action should be based on the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the two-State solution based on 1967 borders, with Palestine and Israel living side by side. The rights of the Palestinian people, including to self determination, are not up for negotiation. For decades, the basis 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 modalities cannot be changed: Economic projects and plans cannot replace the need for dignity, justice, and freedom. And no project can succeed without a just peace.

Mr. President,

Unfortunately, the plight of Palestine refugees is compounded by financial crisis of the UNRWA.

Until a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict is achieved, the work of UNRWA remains vital. It is our collective and moral duty to support the Agency.

As the chair of the “UNRWA Advisory Commission” and the “Working Group on the Financing of UNRWA”, Turkey will continue to contribute to the Agency’s work. We call upon all actors to do the same.

Mr. President,

It is high time for all UN members to stand up for justice and protection of established parameters of a lasting peace in Palestine.