Thank you Mr. Chairman,
We align ourselves with the statement delivered by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
We thank the Special Committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories for its report. We fully support the work of the Committee and call for implementation of recommendations contained in the report. We also thank the Secretary General for his reports.
We feel that, chaired by His Excellency Palitha Kohona, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, and ably assisted by the Permanent Representative of Malaysia and the Permanent Representative of Senegal in Geneva, the Committee deserves credit for producing a detailed document, despite the difficult circumstances. We feel that the continued policy of non-cooperation with the Special Committee by the occupying power is a clear proof that it has something to hide.
Despite the tentative steps towards resolution of final status issues through resumption of direct talks, situation on ground in the occupied territory remains bleak. This has been documented in detail in the report of the Special Committee. By recording extensive testimonies, the Special Committee highlights that the condition of Palestinian prisoners and detainees remains a cause of serious concern and home demolitions, settler violence and blockade of Gaza continue to make life extremely difficult for Palestinians.
The death of Arafat Jaradat in Israeli custody and refusal of the occupation authorities to agree to a neutral and impartial investigation clearly hints at foul play. Similarly, detention of children, their questioning in the absence of their parents, and use of psychological torture, sleep and food deprivation, solitary confinement, strip searchers etc. are crimes against innocent children that are both indescribable as well as inhuman.
Continued illegal settlement activity has the real potential to render a two-State solution unviable. Every time some Palestinian prisoners are released, announcement of new settlement construction accompanies it. This happened again on 30 October, when a fresh batch of 1500 settlement units was announced.
The independent international fact finding mission to investigate the implications of Israeli settlements has very eloquently described the settlements as "a mesh of construction and infrastructure, leading to a creeping annexation that prevents the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian State and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination". Need I say more?
Hostilities in November 2012 that led to killing of 168 overwhelmingly civilian Palestinians, further deteriorated the already harsh living conditions in the Gaza Strip. The blockade, now in its seventh year, has rendered 80% of the Gazan population dependent on international aid. The unemployment rate has doubled to over 60%, fishing zone restrictions continue and Gaza's farmers are unable to cultivate their land.
I have just enumerated some details of only some of the problems that Palestinians face on a daily basis. Is compromise on a final settlement conceivable in these circumstances. Does this not show that one of the sides is less than committed to the process. Yet the Palestinians continue to talk with sincerity and with the hope that a settlement is still possible. We do share this dying hope. Adherence to the 9-month deadline is, however, critical. There have to be consequences for intransigence. EU guidelines are clearly an indication of what the international community could do in this regard.
A just, sustainable and equitable resolution of the Middle East conflict has to be based on an independent, contiguous and viable State of Palestine. Pakistan has been a staunch supporter of the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian State, on the basis of pre-1967 borders, with Al Quds Al Sharif as its capital. Pakistan welcomed the adoption of Resolution 67/19 last November and was proud to be a co-sponsor. We look forward to welcoming our Palestinian brothers and sisters as full members of the UN soon.
A long term solution could not be found without withdrawal of occupation forces from all Arab lands, including those of Lebanon and the Syrian Golan.
Let me also take this opportunity to say a few words about the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the near East (UNRWA). Despite restrictions placed on its movement, and its difficult financial situation, UNRWA continues to play a stellar role. Allow me to assure UNRWA of Pakistan's continued support.
Let me conclude by reiterating Pakistanís unrelenting support for the Palestinian people in their just struggle for peace and their right to self determination.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.