Statement delivered by H.E. Ambassador Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations at the Plenary of the Second Committee of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda item 64: Permanent Sovereignty of the Palestinian People in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab Population in the Occupied Syrian Golan over their Natural Resources (CR-2, UNHQs, New York, 24 October 2018)
1. We align with the statement delivered by Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and Qatar on behalf of OIC.
2. We thank the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ECSWA) and Coordinator of the Regional Commission for the presentation and convey our appreciation for the Note by the Secretary-General on the Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan.
3. We are deeply frustrated that due to the continued occupation of the Palestinian territories for nearly five decades, systematic human rights violations, indiscriminate attacks against civilians and expansion of illegal settlements by Israel, the occupying power, the social and economic conditions worsen in those areas. Restrictions on movement, access and trade have resulted in very poor economic growth that stands at 2.4% and deteriorating investment, infrastructure, living standard and labour market.
4. It is a serious concern that the poverty rate measured by the national poverty line increased from 26 per cent in 2011 to 29 per cent in 2017 in the Occupied Palestinian Territory while in Gaza, the rate was as high as 54 per cent. 1.6 million Palestinians which constitutes 31.5 per cent of the population are considered food insecure. An estimated 490,145 schoolchildren across the Occupied Palestinian Territory face challenges in accessing quality education in a safe, child-friendly environment. It is outrageous that even the school students are subjected to various kinds of humiliation, harassment and violence, as has been reflected in the Report. There are serious challenges to access to public health services and water and sanitation in the occupied territories. The energy crisis persists, and Palestinian agricultural land, health, animals and biodiversity have been damaged by different practices by Israeli authorities and settlers that includes illegal transfer of hazardous waste. It is unacceptable that the Palestinians have been prevented from accessing to and utilizing agricultural land owing to movement restrictions, land confiscations and settler-induced violence. These are only a few among many challenges which have compounded their poverty and underdevelopment. These development issues including others must be addressed.
6. The principle of “Leave no one behind” applies to all including the people under foreign occupation. We call upon the international community to impress upon Israel, the occupying power, to put an end to its systematic violation of international humanitarian law and human rights principles, and restrictive measures so that a favourable condition is created for the economies of occupied Palestinian territories to grow. We also urge to resolve the funding crisis that the UNRWA has been facing as it exacerbates the conditions of the Palestinians who already live in harsh conditions. We are of a firm belief that this agenda item is indivisible and relevant to the work of the Second Committee.
7. The people and the Government and people of Bangladesh remain steadfast in their support for the just and legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people for the establishment of an independent, viable, contiguous and sovereign Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in the framework of a two-state solution. As our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina mentioned in her statement in the General Debate during the High-Level week of the 73rd Assembly, “As the Chair of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, we shall continue to work with the international community for resolution of the Palestine question”. The Palestinian people and the Arab population of the occupied Syrian Golan have inalienable rights over their natural resources and to claim restitution for the harms made by the illegal measures taken by Israel. We reiterate our position that the right to self-determination of the peoples in the occupied territories of Palestine and ending the occupation are essential for the realization of the SDGs in those areas.
I thank you.