[Mr. President – Allow me now to make a statement in my national capacity]
[Mr. President] We have passed yet another turbulent year of despair for the people of Palestine. An overview of the past year signifies that aggression by Israel, the occupying power, has become the new normal in the Palestinian territory. The high number of Palestinian casualties including children, flagrant violation of Palestinians’ human rights; severe restriction on their movements; closure of the Gaza Strip, all speak of the dismal situation on the ground.
All these are mounting pressure on the already enormous humanitarian needs. While the renewal of UNRWA’s mandate is a welcome development, we are still concerned about its budgetary shortfall. The international community has to ensure enhanced, predictable and sustainable funding for its operation as well as for other UN entities.
Unabated expansion of Israeli settlements and demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank is changing its demography. Israel’s purported extension of settlements to the Aisawaiyeh neighbourhood and recent pronouncement of annexation of Palestinian territories raise the specter even more.
All these actions by Israel constitute egregious violation of international law, including the UN Charter and the Fourth Geneva Convention and are in direct contravention to all relevant Security Council resolutions. We join the international community in condemning these acts and asking Israel to refrain from such actions. We also ask for maintaining the sanctity of Islamic and Christian Holy places particularly the Al-Aqsa at all costs.
The international community has to turn around the culture of inaction and compel Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territory. We look upon the Security Council in fulfilling its Charter obligations and in enforcing its resolutions in particular resolution 2334. Implementation of the Road Map, Arab Peace Initiative and the efforts of the Quartet are crucial building blocks.
Ensuring accountability and justice for Israel’s atrocities and human rights violations would serve to end the entrenched impunity. Developments in the ICC are critical in this regard.
Our own struggle for independence and the painful experience of enduring the worst form of genocide in 1971 has inspired us to always advocate for the oppressed people of the world. This has been the very premise of Bangladesh’s unwavering support for the cause of Palestine. We would continue to firmly stand by our Palestinian brothers and sisters in their just and rightful struggle for self-determination until the establishment of the State of Palestine on the basis of the two-State solution with East Jerusalem as its capital.
As we move towards the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, resolution of the Palestinian crisis will remain as a litmus test for retaining people’s trust in multilateralism and on this august body.
I thank you.