Statement by Turkey at the General Assembly Meeting on “The Question of Palestine (agenda item 38)

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 02.12.2020
Mr. President,

First I would like to pay homage to the memory of my dear brother and friend Saeb Erakat. He was a committed and true defender of peace on the basis of two-state solution.

Last Sunday was the Day of International Solidarity with the Palestinian people.

On this occasion, we reiterate our strong support for Palestinians’ just cause towards gaining freedom on their own land.

We salute the struggle and perseverance of our Palestinian sisters and brothers against illegal occupation and unacceptable oppression.

Unfortunately, the injustice faced by Palestinians has been deepening over the last years.

Systematic expansion of illegal settlements, disproportionate use of force against innocent civilians, threats of annexation, blockade of Gaza and attempts to erode historical and legal status of Jerusalem seriously undermine the prospect of a two-state solution.

Under these conditions, it is unfair and unacceptable to ask Palestinians to compromise and accept unilateral "peace plans" that defy established parameters.

A negotiated settlement leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital is the only way for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.

Recognition of Palestine by more countries is vital for preserving the two-state vision.

Mr. President,

Steps towards unlawful annexation of Jerusalem and its surroundings threaten the legal status of the city, its demographic composition and multicultural and multi-religious character.

International community must refrain from condoning these illegal actions.

The final status of Jerusalem will be part and parcel of the comprehensive solution of this conflict.

The illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip entered its thirteenth year. Latest UNCTAD report on the cost of blockade reveals staggering economic losses: cumulative cost of the blockade together with the military operations amount to 16.7 billion USD. This is equivalent to six times the value of GDP of Gaza. Today Gaza has the world’s highest unemployment rate. Half of its population lives below the poverty line. This devastating economic downturn is compounded by a colossal 43 per cent growth in both population and population density.

UNRWA continues to operate in difficult circumstances and the challenges it faces have increased due to COVID-19. UNRWA is indispensable for providing vital health, relief and emergency assistance to millions. Due to the funding shortfall, UNRWA is forced to curtail critical vaccination campaigns and withhold staff salaries. It is our collective and moral duty to step up our support to the Agency.

Mr. President,

Revitalizing the Middle East Peace Process is essential for fulfilling our long overdue promise to the Palestinian people of a life in dignity. It is also indispensable for the stability of our region.

International community has a key role to play: collectively we must help revitalize negotiations for two-state solution in accordance with international law and relevant UN resolutions.

We must all support President Abbas’ proposal for convening an international conference to launch a genuine peace process.

Thank you.