STATEMENT DELIVERED BY MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF TURKEY, H.E. MR. MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETING HELD UNDER AGENDA ITEMS 37 AND 38: THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST; QUESTION OF PALESTINE (20 May 2021, New York)

H.E. MR. MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU 20.05.2021
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General,
Excellencies, Esteemed Delegates,
—Let me begin by thanking the President of the General Assembly for his leadership in convening today’s timely meeting.
-I wish Allah’s mercy for the Palestinian victims, including women and children, who have lost their lives due to Israeli aggression. I also express our heartfelt condolences to the Palestinian people.
-I also wish speedy recovery to our wounded brothers and sisters, whose number has reached thousands.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
—A tragedy has been taking place in Palestine for many years. A heart-breaking tragedy is continuing before our eyes.
-Through repetition, the perpetrators of this tragedy want us to become insensitive to
o These outrageous crimes,
o The oppression of the Palestinian people, and
o Violations of their basic human rights and freedoms.
-However, we will not remain silent in the face of unspeakable atrocities and brutality.
Because we know that silence in the face of injustice equals to being accomplice to the crimes committed.
-He who remains silent in the face of injustice is a mute devil.
—In order to effectively address the current situation, we should first and foremost diagnose its root causes correctly:
• The continuing Israeli provocations in Jerusalem,
• Desecration of Al Aqsa Mosque,
• Violation of freedom of worship; and,
• Forced evictions of the Palestinian people from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah triggered the current crisis.
-All these acts of aggression took place during the Holy Month of Ramadan, a time of prayer and peaceful reflection for Muslims.
-In Gaza; not only high-rise civilian buildings, but also schools and hospitals were targeted.
-They even did not hesitate bombing buildings used by UNRWA, Red Crescent and media outlets.
-Gaza’s most renowned medical doctors were killed due to Israeli airstrikes.
-Let me be clear: Such acts of aggression amount to war crimes.
-We have to assign the blame where it belongs:
-Israel alone is responsible for what is happening today in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza!
-Repetition of such tragedies cannot be prevented unless and until Israel is held accountable for its crimes and its sense of impunity is put to an end.

Mr. President,
-Sustainable peace and stability in the Palestinian territories can only be achieved if and when the illegal and inhumane Israeli occupation finally ends.
-In fact, recent Israeli aggressions are part of its policies to subject the Palestinians to ethnic cleansing and advance its annexation plan.
-Likewise, Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza has effectively turned this land to the largest open-air prison in the world: We are talking about of a land of 365 square kilometers with more than 2 million people.
-Have a look; these maps set forth the truth. This is the map that shows how Palestinian lands have been seized and occupied since 1947.
-Obviously, all delegates present here today are able to see this map each day, because our Palestinian brothers are constantly displaying these maps under the UN roof.
-But let us have the world take a close look at this map. Let us see and remember how Israel has stolen and seized Palestinian lands since 1947.
-This very map is the synopsis of the continuing occupation and suffering since 1947.
-In so doing, Israel aims to further erode the established parameters for the two-state solution and create a new fait accompli.
-Therefore, what needs to be done now is not only help establish a ceasefire, but also mobilize international efforts to end Israel’s occupation and blockade over Palestinian territories.

Mr. President,
-It is unfortunate and disturbing that the UN Security Council once again failed to deliver.
-At a time when the world needed it most to protect international peace and security, the position of the Council has once again been that of inaction and dysfunction.
-This is the reason of the call of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “The world is bigger than Five”.
-If the Council and its members claim to hold moral high ground, they should have categorically condemned Israel’s indiscriminate attacks against innocent civilians and taken action to stop its ethnic cleansing.
-It is high time for the international community to come up with effective legal and moral means to stop Israel’s attacks on Palestinians.
-Impediments before the access of humanitarian aid into Gaza for thousands of displaced Palestinians should be removed.
Mr. President,
-In the past, given the inaction of the Council, the UN General Assembly was able to adopt landmark resolutions on the protection of Palestinians and the status of Jerusalem.
-These two issues remain at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today.
-The international community has a responsibility to protect the Palestinian people.
-The resolution this esteemed body adopted on June 13, 2018,
• Called for consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population,
• Also called for ending the closure and restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip; and
• Urged the provision of immediate and unimpeded humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians in Gaza.

-In line with this decision, we have to work for the establishment of an international protection mechanism for the Palestinian civilians.
-These efforts should include physical protection through establishment of an international protection force with military and financial contributions of the willing countries.
—Ensuring Israel’s accountability for the crimes it committed is also vital to prevent reoccurrence of such acts of aggression.
-We believe that human rights mechanisms of the United Nations and the International Criminal Court have important roles in this regard.

Mr. President,
-It is also the responsibility of the international community to end this cycle of violence.
-In order to achieve peaceful co-existence between Palestinians and Israelis, peace process and the two-state vision should be revitalized.
-The status of Jerusalem, as the center of three Abrahamic religions, is the most important component for a lasting solution.
-I would also like to emphasize one point.
Those who criticize Israeli government's aggression are immediately accused of anti-Semitism and they are tried to be silenced.
However, we believe that anti-Semitism is a crime against humanity just like Islamophobia and Christianophobia.
There are many Jews all over the world who criticize Israel's cruelty and aggression today: in my country, here in the USA, in Israel. Are these Jews also happen to be anti-Semitic?
Therefore, I urge you not to immediately make anti-Semitic accusations to cover up your crimes or to silence those who criticize. We will in no way remain silent in the face of this persecution.
Dear Ministers and Delegates,
-It is also high-time for the Palestinians to resolve their differences and achieve reconciliation.
-Only a united Palestine could own up the Palestinian cause and effectively address the sufferings of Palestinian people.
-Elections should be held without further delay. It should also not be forgotten that Israel is the one that is preventing the holding of the elections.
Mr. President,
-Legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for freedom and dignity can no longer be repressed.
-A just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can no longer be delayed.
-Turkey will continue to stand by the Palestinian people for the realization of their legitimate aspirations and protection of their rights and freedoms.
Thank you, Mr. President.