Remarks by H.E. Halit Çevik, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations at UN General Assembly Informal Session on the “Question of Palestine”

Halit Çevik 06.08.2014

Thank you, Mr. President, for convening this meeting.

I would also like to thank Ms. Pillay, Mr. Krahenbühl, Mr. Serry and Ms. Kyung-Wha Kang for their briefings. The facts they presented on the humanitarian conditions in Gaza point out to a most dire, unsustainable and unacceptable tragedy. These facts clearly indicate that the Israeli operation in the Palestinian territory constitutes a collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

The targeting of the only power plant of Gaza, as well as schools, homes, hospitals and mosques is in contravention of human conscience and international law. We also strongly condemn the repeated Israeli attacks targeting UNRWA schools that shelter Palestinian civilians displaced as a result of Israel’s operations. The international community must take the necessary steps to ensure Israel is held accountable for these attacks. Israel must understand that its security cannot be ensured by military means but through dialogue.

Mr. President,

Since the beginning of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, we have been in contact with relevant parties towards achieving a ceasefire. We have supported and contributed to the realization of the visit of the Palestinian delegation to Cairo under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority.

We welcome yesterday’s announcement of a 72-hour ceasefire, as a result of the constructive attitude of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo. We hope that the ceasefire will be observed and the calm will be utilized towards the establishment of a sustainable ceasefire. All parties should recognize that this requires the lifting of restrictions in Gaza.

As the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to worsen by each passing day and displacement figures are rapidly on the rise, alleviating gross humanitarian needs should be our immediate concern. It is essential to employ efforts for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip through cooperation between the Palestinian unity government and the UN for the delivery of essential humanitarian aid. Turkey has already accelerated its humanitarian aid to Palestine, though its humanitarian and development agencies.

Mr. President,

Turkey supports the inalienable rights of the State of Palestine to enjoy fully the privileges of statehood, including becoming a member to the UN, other international organizations and joining international treaties.Taking this opportunity, we would like to call upon Israel to get back to the negotiating table with a genuine desire to put an end to the decades’ long search for peace.

Thank you.