I have the honour to deliver this statement, on behalf of the Member States of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
This open debate takes place at a difficult juncture characterized by daunting challenges and steep deterioration of the situation on the ground.
Regrettably, Israel’s illegal policy of settlement expansion and de facto annexation of Palestinian lands, especially in and around East Jerusalem, has intensified. This has included repeated, hostile threats to outright annex parts or all of the Occupied West Bank, in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the resolutions of this Security Council.
As many have stressed, such threats and violations cannot go unchallenged. It is incumbent upon the international community to take concrete actions to compel Israel’s respect for and compliance with Security Council resolutions, particularly 2334. Israel must cease all illegal settlement and annexation measures in the State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem.
In this regard, we reaffirm our rejection of the most recent illegal Israeli decision to establish the so-called “nature reserves” in the West Bank. This announcement must be condemned and prevented.
The OIC reiterates that the lack of accountability for Israel’s ongoing violations has only encouraged such impunity, which is undermining any potential to achieve a just peace based on the vision of the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders, in accordance with the relevant resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.
In this regard, the OIC welcomes the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to open an investigation into Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people and hopes that this will be expeditiously pursued.
Moreover, the OIC reaffirms that the unilateral measures and attempts to unlawfully alter the legal, historical and political status of East Jerusalem, constitute a flagrant violation of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.
The OIC calls on all States to abide by their political, legal and moral obligations to uphold international law and ensure its respect, including under the Fourth Geneva Convention. We urge all States to act with urgency to contribute to the international efforts to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.
Additionally, we call for Israel’s full withdrawal from the Occupied Syrian Golan to the borders of 4 June 1967, in accordance with Security Council resolutions. We further affirm the need for all external parties to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and reiterate our support to the political solution of the Syrian crisis consistent with resolution 2254.
The OIC remains gravely concerned about the deterioration of socio-economic and humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian Territories, particularly in the Gaza Strip. We must urgently alleviate the humanitarian needs and suffering of the Palestinian people, including the Palestinian refugees. We encourage Member States to provide funds or to increase their contributions to UNRWA, UNDP, and other UN entities that are working diligently to provide the needed assistance to the Palestinians. Additionally, the OIC condemns the announced plans to integrate UNRWA-run schools in East Jerusalem into Israel’s education system.
In conclusion, the OIC urges the international community to uphold obligations and engage constructively to make a just possible, including by sponsoring a multilateral political peace process, based on the relevant UN resolutions and the internationally- agreed terms of reference, including the Arab Peace Initiative.