H.E. Khalid A. Al-Nafisee
Permanent Representative of the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations
The Security Council On:
“The Situation in the Middle East,
Including the Palestinian Question”
New York, 19 January 2011
At the outset, I would like to thank His Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations for his efforts dedicated to achieve international peace and security under the current changing circumstances and threats that surround the world in this critical stage. I’d also like to thank Mr. Lynn Pascoe for his detailed briefing on the situation in the Middle East including the Question of Palestine.
Since the inception of the idea of giving a land to a landless people, the suffering of the Palestinian people begun. The issue was the land, then came the issue of refugees, settlements, altering history and demolition of religious sites; and the Palestinian people is the one who pays the price of these scourges amidst a complete negligence from the international community to enforce international legitimacy resolutions against the occupier. If the United Nations, represented in the Security Council, fulfilled its entrusted role, the Palestinian people would not have had to endure this continuous sufferance. For more than half a century, Israel keep practicing against the people of Palestine the worst forms of murder, deportation, imprisonment, blockades, annexation and confiscation of property, looting and plundering the resources of Palestine. These actions committed by the Israeli Occupation Forces aim in fact to continue the destruction of the Palestinian people and its facilities, to expose it to more oppression and suffering and to systematically push the Palestinians to surrender to despair and frustration.
The Arabs have chosen peace not surrender. Their demand was, and still is, the enforcement of international legitimacy starting by the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338; and the principle of “Land for just and comprehensive Peace”. This necessarily requires a full Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab territories to the 1967’s borders, the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes with full recover of their rights, enabling the Palestinian people to exercise their right of self-determination and to establish their independent state on their national soil with Jerusalem as its capital; as well as Israel’s withdrawal from the Syrian Golan Heights and the Lebanese Shebaa Farms.
Talking about the Israeli violations of international legitimacy is a talk about a breach of international law and the absence of the international community’s will to shoulder its responsibilities to establish peace and security. The Israeli occupation forces exceeded the limits by applying several policies such as building the apartheid wall, building and expanding settlements in the occupied territories, increasing illegal colonial measures; financing, protecting and arming the settlers by the Israeli government which enabled them to build more settlements that experienced a rapid growth in the past few months. Last year, the world witnessed the Israeli project to build (900) housing units in the (GILO) settlement which lies south of the occupied Jerusalem. This action was criticized by the entire international community including the so-called “friends of Israel”.
Moreover, recently Israel decided (through the so-called "Israeli Building Management Committee”) to launch a larger project to build (1400) housing units in the same settlement under the name of (GILO - Southern Slopes). There are reports stating that the project includes vast (4000) housing units to attract families from other areas. The continuation of this expansion associated with the indiscriminate demolition of houses in the occupied Palestinian territories (the latest of this indiscriminate destruction was the demolition of the historical "Shepherd" hotel) will result in a complete cut off to all peace initiatives; as that wall and those settlements that surround most cities in the West Bank make it almost impossible to establish a contiguous viable Palestinian state in the future.
Israeli illegal measures and practices against the Palestinian people are not just a violation of the UN Charter, humanitarian law and international legitimacy resolutions; they undermine our slim available chances for peace as well. Furthermore, such unilateral practices abort any initiative or effort to achieve an international peace; and make all international efforts incapable of holding Israel - the occupying power – responsible for its actions. Therefore, the Government of my Country calls from this rostrum on the international community, the United Nations, and the Quartet in particular to adopt a comprehensive strategic approach towards an immediate and complete cessation of all settlement projects in the occupied territories.
For the past six decades, the Arab-Israeli conflict continued to dominate and prevail on all issues in the Middle East. This in turn led to extremism and the expansion of terrorism; and formed a critical deterrent to the development efforts and reform in the region; the region which is supposed to play a civilized cultural role instead of being distracted by conflicts that drain its energy and dissipate its resources.
All Arab countries have stressed on their continuous commitment to a just and comprehensive peace based on international legitimacy. In return, these countries are still awaiting a concrete matching Israeli commitment. In this context, it is required that the Israeli side immediately accept the Arab peace initiative which is the only way to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace between the two sides in order to reach a definitive equitable solution to all parties.
Thank you Mr. President.
Text in Arabic