I thank you for giving me the floor.
Bangladesh aligns itself with the statement delivered by Guyana, as the Chair of the G77. My delegation thanks the Secretary General for his report on this agenda item. And we join others in appreciating USG Dr. Rola Dashti for his presentation.
The Secretary General’s report is a glaring testimony of Israel’s systematic pattern of violation of human rights, international law, and international humanitarian law in occupied Palestinian Territory. It is replete with tales of untold human sufferings. During the reporting period, indiscriminate attacks against civilians, killings of innocent people including women and children, excessive use of force, restrictions on movements, and expansion of illegal settlements continue unabated. Indeed, the Israeli occupation has jeopardized the lives and livelihoods of millions of Palestinians for over five decades. Yet a sustainable solution to this protracted crisis remains elusive.
The COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be a crisis within crisis for Palestinians. It emerged at a time when the socio-economic situation in Palestine had already gone seriously off-track. The Gaza economy, for example, has been demonstrating an alarming sign of 5.5% slump in GDP per capita. A staggering 53% people in Gaza were living below the national poverty line and a 33.8% in deep poverty.1.7 million Palestinians were living in food insecurity. The pandemic has further compounded the situation. According to UNCTAD estimates, barely a month after the outbreak, revenues collected by the Palestine National Authorities from trade, tourism and transfers declined to their lowest levels in 20 years. It pushed the economies of the occupied territories including that of Gaza on the verge of a serious socio-economic meltdown. In its immediate blow, the pandemic devastated the already fragile public health services. And its knock-on effect created a situation of hyper-unemployment.
Just this week, on 14 and 15 October, the Israeli government approved the construction of another 5,000 settlement units in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem leading to further competition for resources. Over and above this, the inhumane practice of home demolitions and movement restrictions imposed by Israelis have led to devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of many Palestinians families, especially for women and girls.
We are deeply concerned at the report that the gap of support and financing for the people of Palestine is burgeoning amid the pandemic. It is imperative that international community does everything possible to avoid any further deterioration of the situation. The funding crisis facing UNRWA and the declining trend in donor aid must be reversed soon.
The people and the Government 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. 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. We call upon the international community to impress upon Israel to put an end to its occupation in Palestine. Otherwise, the promise to “leave no one behind” will remain a mere slogan to the Palestinians.
I thank you.