Thank you for convening this meeting on ‘Question of Palestine’. I thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the United Nations Secretary General for their reports on this agenda item.
Yesterday, we observed the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in expression of our unwavering solidarity with them and in support for their inalienable human rights, including right to self-determination and independence. The international community renewed its abiding commitment in the efforts to achieve a fair and lasting solution to the Palestine question on the basis of international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions.
In solidarity with the just cause of the people of Palestine, Bangladesh co-sponsors all four resolutions under the agenda item 38.
Bangladesh appreciates the work of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat of the United Nations for their important work and much valued assistance for the cause of Palestine, in line with their General Assembly mandates. We commend the efforts of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in providing essential humanitarian, development and emergency assistance and protection to the Palestine refugees in all fields of operation.
The report of the Committee on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people reflects, yet again, appalling human rights and humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We regret that repeated appeals of the international community to improve the deteriorating conditions of the Palestinian people remain unheeded. 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 pandemic has further compounded the situation. 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. Last month, the Israeli government approved the construction of thousands of new 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 exacerbation 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. The international community must fulfill its promise to “leave no one behind.” And for the people of Palestine, that means permanent sovereignty over their own resources and right to freedom, peace, and development.
Let us hope that our collective resolve and the passing of these resolutions will bring lasting peace, hope and prosperity for the people in the holy land.
I thank you.