Security Council Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East 25 July 2012

ERTUĞRUL APAKAN 25.07.2012
Mr. President,

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to imperil prospects of peace and stability in the Middle East. At a time when we need a spirit of reconciliation and political determination, Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territory undermine the two state solution and the established parameters for a just and durable peace. This situation is neither feasible nor acceptable.

The settlement activities of Israel continue unabated. Israel, with an unprecedented indifference, not only persists on its illegal practices, but also attempts to legitimize them. The report issued by the former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy is yet another example. Israeli actions unfortunately defy all moral and value systems. The latest news about the intention of the Israeli Ministry of Defense to demolish eight Palestinian villages on South Hebron Hills, to use the territory as a military exercise area, and resettle its inhabitants elsewhere is worrisome.

Mr. President,

Turkey supports the rightful aspirations of the Palestinian people for an internationally recognized statehood. The Palestinians should be able to exercise Their rights in accordance with the UN resolutions, Madrid principles, the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative. Turkey thus welcomes the Palestinian appeal for membership to the United Nations, submitted by President Mahmoud Abbas on 23 September 2011, and praises the Palestinian reconciliation efforts fostered by Egypt. A united Palestinian front will draw wider support from the international community.

Turkey also respects the right of all people to live in peace and security and rejects use of force and means of terror. That said, we condemn the suicide bombing which targeted Israeli tourists in Bulgaria on 18 July 2012.

Mr. President,

The illegal blockade on Gaza is now in its sixth year. The grave situation in housing, health and other primary services in Gaza is no doubt an embarrassment for the international community, but the responsibility lies first and foremost on its perpetrator.

Let me quote the statistical figures of OCHA which can help visualizing the level of suffering in Gaza: 80% of the Gazans are aid recipients. 44% of them are food insecure. 71.000 new housing units are required to meet the urgent demand. There are electricity outages up to 12 hours a day. Over 90% of the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption.

This collective punishment should come to an end without further delay. Israel is yet to bear its responsibilities regarding the attack carried out against the civilian humanitarian aid convoy in high seas, which resulted in the death of nine civilians.

Mr. President,

Before I conclude my words, I would also like to refer to the situation in Syria. With the continuous assaults of the Government forces, the number of casualties only last week have reportedly surpassed 1.200, highest ever since the beginning of the crisis. The total number of deaths have accumulated to over 19.000. We are deeply concerned over the reports that the Government of Syria uses fighter jets to attack population centers.

As the number of Syrians seeking shelter in Turkey exceeded 40.000, Turkey will continue to support the People of Syria in this dire period. We call one more time, an end to the violence in Syria and the implementation of the six-point plan of Joint Envoy Annan as of immediate effect.

As the shooting down of the Turkish military aircraft in international airspace, displayed, the crisis in Syria increasingly poses a threat to the regional peace and security.

Mr. President,

The socio-political transformation in the Middle East, triggered by the rightful aspirations of its people for a better life, exposed us to a volatile situation whereby strong commitment to principles of democracy, respect of human rights and rule of law is essential. These principles also apply to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people are under jeopardy. Thus, while welcoming the efforts of the Secretary General and Special Coordinator Mr. Serry, we call on the international community to give its decisive support to a just and lasting solution based on the international recognition of the Palestine with 1967 borders, East Jerusalem at its capital, living side by side with Israel in peace.

Thank you.