Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan Permanent Representative of Pakistan in the Fourth Committee under Agenda Item Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories New York, (6 November 2014)

Mr. Chairman,

Right in the beginning, Pakistan strongly condemns the recent storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the attack against Palestinian worshippers there. This has caused sacrilege of the holy site and serious injuries to civilians. The Mosque compound was also sealed. These violent and provocative actions have triggered protest and clashes, imperiled the fragile calm and risked another conflagration.

Mr. Chairman,

We align ourselves with the statement made by Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

We welcome the Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (A/69/355) .

We appreciate the work of the Committee, ably led by Ambassador Palitha Kohona of Sri Lanka, and assisted by the Permanent Representatives of Malaysia and Senegal.

We commend the Committee for producing the report despite Israel's non-cooperation.

We support the recommendations made in the Secretary General's reports on Israeli settlements, applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people.

Their implementation could improve the plight of the Palestinians, living under foreign occupation and abject poverty.

Mr. Chairman,

The situation has worsened since the Special Committee visited the region in June. The 50-day bombing of Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead, a third of whom were women and children, has further devastated this land.

The peace process collapsed due to the intransigence of Israel; settlements increased by 150% during 2013, leading to the biggest land grab in three decades; and provocations and violence around the Al-Aqsa Mosque increased manifold, with the Temple Mount/Al Haram Al Sharif regrettably closed for visitors, for the first time since 1967.

We condemn all these actions.

All this happened in a year that we had all designated as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Mr. Chairman,

As the Report highlights, ten years after the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on Legal consequences of wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the wall continues to be built, and it is already three times bigger since the Court gave its opinion. Its “permit and gate regime” has been further strengthened, limiting the Palestinian freedom of movement and destroying their livelihoods.

Human rights of the Palestinian people are being systematically violated. Administrative detentions have become the norm and settler violence continues unabated. Unemployment in Gaza has soared by 13% over the last year. This was before the bombing. Destruction wrought by this year's invasion and bombing, as the Secretary General saw it, was "beyond description". Will Gaza be rebuilt to be destroyed again? This “build-destroy-build-destroy-cycle” must be broken, as the Secretary General said.

Mr. Chairman,

In order to achieve this objective, the Security Council has to show its leadership.

The draft Security Council resolution, which calls for a clear roadmap to end occupation and restore Palestinian freedom, must be adopted. This will reinvigorate the peace process and rekindle hopes for a lasting solution. The dialogue, however, must be with clear timelines and benchmarks.

Last Thursday, Sweden recognized the state of Palestine. This is a bold and principled decision. It also recognizes the writing on the wall. Now French lawmakers are drafting a parliamentary resolution to call on the government to recognize Palestine as a state " as an instrument to obtain a final settlement of the conflict". The British Parliament has already passed such a resolution. This momentum is irreversible. It is time for the Security Council to work towards the same objective.

A just, sustainable and equitable resolution of the Middle East conflict has to be based on an independent, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

A long-term solution would also require the withdrawal of occupation forces from all Arab lands, including those of Lebanon and the Syrian Golan.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me also appreciate the excellent work that UNRWA continues to do for the Palestinian refugees. For it to perform its critical tasks, UNRWA’s financial needs must be met.

Violence in Gaza has increased UNRWA’s responsibilities manifold. We appreciate the pledges of US$ 5.4 billion made in Cairo to rebuild Gaza. It is extremely important that these promises are fulfilled expeditiously.

We assure UNRWA of Pakistan’s continued support.

Mr. Chairman,

We reiterate Pakistan’s unflinching support to the Palestinian people in their continuing quest for their right to self-determination, for peace, for an independent state and for economic development.

I thank you.