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The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of the Republic of Iceland.
Based on the same principle that led Iceland to recognize the Baltic States in 1991, today we support the Palestinian struggle for statehood. Based on that very same principle, Iceland feels that the international community should welcome Palestine as a new Member State in the United Nations, based on the pre-1967 borders — exactly the same criteria as those laid down by the European Union, the Quartet and lately, also by President Barack Obama in his strong speech in May.
I have been to Gaza. I have talked to the people: the fishermen who no longer can ply their trade, the young people who are unemployed, the families that need a roof over their head. I have also been to the West Bank. I have seen with my own eyes how the land of the Palestinians has literally been cut to pieces by horrible walls of separation. That is wrong. That is unjust. That is against every moral code that Iceland has ever stood for as a guardian of human rights.
We must remember that Palestine today is really doing just the same thing as Israel did in 1947, and Iceland and so many other States at the time supported Israel’s action. Israel took its case to the United Nations and emerged with statehood. Palestine deserves the same. And I think it is hypocrisy to suggest otherwise. In the middle of the democratic revolution brought on by the fresh breeze of the Arabic Spring and inspired, not least, by women and young people, it would be foolish to deny Palestine its right to statehood. Such denial would act against reconciliation in the region.
It will, perhaps, not come as any surprise to Members here, but Iceland will therefore vote “yes”, when a resolution on Palestinian statehood comes to a vote in the General Assembly. Furthermore, the Icelandic Government is determined to fully recognize Palestine and will next week submit to the Parliament of Iceland a resolution on the recognition of Palestine as a sovereign and independent State.
The Acting President: I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. Mourad Medelci, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria.
Recent developments on the Arab stage will not fail to directly affect the situation prevailing in the Middle East. Continued Israeli occupation of Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, as well as the lack of genuine prospects for just and lasting peace in the region are, in that regard, a source of deep concern for Algeria. The stalemated peace process in the Middle East, the continued building of settlements and the continued campaign to Judaize the holy city of Al-Quds continue daily to further distance any prospect of a just and lasting peace based on the principle of land for peace.
That situation, which weighs heavy with risk and uncertainty in an already sensitive region, is both an affront to the peoples of the region and a challenge for the entire international community . Among those challenges, the inhumane embargo of Gaza and its seacoast constitutes a genuine collective punishment of its inhabitants.
The Palestinian Authority’s initiative, at this session, requesting that Palestine be recognized as a full Member State of the United Nations is an opportunity for the United Nations to correct, to some extent, an injustice that has lasted for over 60 years now. This admission will be a clear, unequivocal response by the international community showing its determination to impose international law and to reject a policy of fait accompli.
The Acting President: I now call on His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Arab Emirates.
We have been closely monitoring the major developments and complications surrounding the Palestinian issue, which unfortunately resulted in halting the efforts and chances of resuming peace talks. It is time to resolve this issue in all its humanitarian, legal and political aspects. The core of the solution for this issue lies in the establishment of a full-fledged sovereign State within the 4 June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Comprehensive and just peace between Arab countries and Israel would greatly assist in reducing tensions and deprive the voices of extremism and violence from using this ongoing issue as a major justifications for their extremism and violence.
The Acting President: I now give the floor to His Excellency Mr. José Badia, Government Councillor for External Relations and for International Economic and Financial Affairs of the Principality of Monaco.
The Government of the Principality reiterates its support for and its solidarity with all who fight for respect for fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, and in that regard is hopeful that a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement will enable the State of Israel and a viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State to live side by side in peace and security.
The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba.
The General Assembly has the inescapable moral, political and legal obligation to ensure the recognition of an independent Palestinian State, with the boundaries established before 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capital, as a full Member of the United Nations. This should be accomplished with or without the Security Council, with or without the veto of the United States and with or without new peace negotiations.
If the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to independence, sovereignty and self-determination is recognized; if the need to re-establish the exercise of the human rights of Palestinians is recognized; if the blockade of Gaza, the economic coercion and segregation symbolized by the infamous wall are recognized as crimes; if the subjugation of a nation to conditions jeopardizing its very existence is described as genocide; if all Member States are supposed to adopt all legal measures within their reach to protect Palestinian civilians, then the General Assembly should take action now.
Cuba, a country with a small Jewish community, condemns the historical injustice of anti-Semitism, the crime against humanity that was the Holocaust, and recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist. Our people harbour only fraternal feelings towards the Israeli people, who are also victims of this conflict.
Cuba likewise proclaims that the United States has the moral, political and legal obligation to stop its continual veto of Security Council resolutions intended to protect the Palestinian civilians.
The European Union should oppose this veto and abstain from supporting the empire’s brutal pressure on members of this Assembly and the Council itself. Europe should denounce it also because it is certain that those crimes would not be occurring without the military supplies, financial support and impunity that the United States provides to the Government of Israel.
The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Uri Rosenthal, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Freedom and security are also key issues in the Middle East peace process. If we do want peace, we need direct negotiations now, not new resolutions at the United Nations. The Netherlands endorses the time frame outlined by the Quartet and stands ready to assist wherever it can. We are a major donor to the Palestinian Authority. We fully support the ambition of the Palestinian people to build a viable, democratic and peaceful Palestinian State. However, this cannot be viewed separately from the Israeli people’s desire to live in a secure, internationally recognized Jewish State in peace with their neighbours.
It is really essential that the two parties invest in mutual confidence, refrain from unilateral steps and find a solution together. They should be prepared to make the difficult and painful concessions necessary for the fulfilment of their peoples’ aspirations. I talked with President Abbas. I talked with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I listened carefully to what they had to say, and the message is simple and clear: negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.
The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Ali Ahmed Karti, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Sudan.
Various entities of the United Nations, including the Security Council, have adopted dozens of resolutions regarding the question of Palestine, none of which have been implemented. This is because of Israel’s blatant defiance of the international community and because of the support and protection it enjoys from some powerful countries. This demonstrates that the Organization is incapable of standing up for the rights of peoples and to support their legitimate claims, as enshrined in the Charter. That has given the green light to the occupying authorities to continue with their settlement policies that seek to entrench the occupation and banish the Palestinian people, the owners of the land.
The Sudan therefore fully supports the Palestinian National Authority’s decision to request full membership of the United Nations, which is their legal right, based on the right to self-determination, one of the principles of international law. Moreover, the Palestinians’ request for recognition as a State is a legitimate right that seeks to confirm that, first, the United Nations is committed to its Charter and, secondly, to international law. This would also help to alleviate tensions in the region. The international community should consider the fact that there may be no one to negotiate with if it allows Israel to impose conditions on the world and to deprive the Palestinians of their legitimate rights.
The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Manuel Salvador dos Ramos, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Communities of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.
The Middle East continues to be shaken by an unprecedented wave of conflicts within the borders of some Middle Eastern countries as well as in the broader region. The people of Syria, Yemen and Bahrain have demanded reforms in State institutions. However, we see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continue. We reaffirm our support for the Palestinian people’s right to guide their destiny, and we advocate, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, for the existence of a Jewish State. We take this opportunity to appeal to the Government of the United States of America and the European Union to exert their influence to persuade the Government of the State of Israel to stop building settlements in the occupied territories.
The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Mouldi Kefi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tunisia.
Tunisia will remain faithful to mutual action within the Arab forum and to supporting the issues of concern to the League of Arab States, including the cause of Palestine.
Tunisia reaffirms its unwavering and principled position in support for its Palestinian brothers and sisters and for their request for full recognition as a State Member of the United Nations, as expressed by the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, before the Assembly this past Friday (see A/66/PV.19). Tunisia thus calls on the international community to support the legitimate Palestinian bid for full membership in the United Nations, as well as its territorial integrity as an independent State within legally recognized borders, with the Holy City of Jerusalem as its capital. At the same time, Tunisia strongly condemns the unjust embargo imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip and its recent military aggression there, which resulted in many innocent victims.
The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.
Waging peace and development in the Middle East must, first and foremost, entail correcting the historic injustice to the Palestinian people that has been allowed for too long. Indonesia’s support for the legitimate aspirations and rights of the people of Palestine to live in freedom, peace, justice and dignity in their own homeland has been steadfast and will continue unabated.
Indonesia therefore strongly supports Palestine’s present quest for full membership in the United Nations. Such membership is consistent with the vision of the two-State solution and of a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East. Indeed, the recent heightened worldwide focus on the issue of Palestine can, and must, be channelled in a constructive way towards the promotion of an inclusive partnership among nations that leads to the fulfilment of the historic responsibilities shouldered by our United Nations.
The continued denial of the most basic rights of the Palestinian people becomes all the more glaring in the face of the welcome democratic transformation that is under way in parts of North Africa and the Middle East. Like many, Indonesia has been deeply concerned by the untold losses and casualties suffered by innocent civilians. The bloodshed and use of force must be brought to an immediate end, for, ultimately, political solutions must be found. That means that conditions conducive for people to shape their own future must be promoted. Thus in Libya, for example, Indonesia supports the National Transitional Council in its efforts to promote a peaceful and democratic transition.
The Acting President: I now call on His Excellency Mr. John Baird, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada.
Canada will not go along with a double standard that castigates some United Nations Members for alleged failings, while ignoring the notorious abuses of others. We supported the aspirations of those peoples who sought brighter futures for themselves and their countries during the Arab spring that has just passed.
However, we will not go along with the unilateral actions of the Palestinian Authority. Just a few days ago, the Quartet laid the foundation for a return to negotiation. Our Government’s position has been clear — the only solution to the issue is one that is negotiated by the two parties themselves. We continue to encourage both sides to accept those principles and to return to direct talks, based on a two-State solution, without delay or precondition.
We uphold Israel’s right to exist. We uphold its fundamental right, like any Member State, to defend innocent civilians against acts of terrorism. Just as Fascism and Communism were the great struggles of previous generations, terrorism is the great struggle of ours. Far too often, the Jewish State is on the front line in our struggle and its people are the victims of terror.
Canada will not accept or stay silent while the Jewish State is attacked for defending its territory and its citizens. The Second World War taught us all the tragic price of going along just to get along. It was accommodation and appeasement that allowed Fascism to gather strength. As Winston Churchill said, an appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.