First of all, allow me to acknowledge the Government of Malaysia for the excellent work carried out during its Chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement Committee on Palestine.
The mandate of this Committee is more valid and important than ever. Our intent is to work, with your support, in adopting measures directed towards strengthening the Movement's unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian cause.
It will soon be 59 years since the UN General Assembly approved Resolution 181 (II) recognising the partitioning of Palestine and proposed establishing two independent States which were supposed to coexist in peace and harmony. Despite the length of time and efforts brought to bear, the establishing of a sovereign Palestinian state is yet to become reality.
Today, instead of implementing the numerous resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council that establish the withdrawal of Israel from Palestinian territories and from the other occupied Arab territories, the occupying forces impose new policies which, far from contributing to the promoting of a just and long-lasting peace in the region, perpetuate the status quo and undermine the efforts made by the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination.
Israel’s unpunished action is essentially the result of protection offered by the government of the United States. It is the result of the fact that the super-power has used 30 vetoes in the Security Council, along with innumerable threats, to have recourse to such anti-democratic and obsolete privilege that prevents the crimes of the Israeli government in occupied territories to be even considered in depth by said organ. It is the result of Washington ’s material and financial support for the occupation forces, including supplying weapons and contributing towards the build-up of the Israeli nuclear arsenal.
Permanent aggression, occupation of lands, extra-judicial executions, economic asphyxiation, construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian territory, and blatant, massive and systematic violations of the Palestinian people by the occupying forces, constitute true acts of State Terrorism, and they have been increasing over the last few months.
The present situation in occupied territories is characterised by the repeated serious violations of International Law and, in particular, the International Humanitarian Law. Group punishments, the illegal construction of a dividing wall, the closing of borders and the severe limitations placed on the flow of people and goods, the destruction of homes and of religious, educational, cultural and historical sites are constant features of Israeli occupation. This has resulted in a noticeable deterioration of the Palestinian people’s living conditions, thus maintaining a serious humanitarian crisis throughout all of occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.
On 25 January of this year, the Palestinian people voted in free, transparent and democratic elections, making use of their sovereign right to elect their representatives. However, Israel , the U.S. and Europe immediately over-ruled the validity of this process, exercising that double standard which characterises them, and decided to impose a cruel system of financial blackmail against the Palestinian people.
They have used the suspension of economic aid as a form of political pressure, in the midst of the growing economic, social and humanitarian tensions and difficulties faced by the Palestinian people.
More recently, while the eyes of the world were focused on Israel ’s brutal aggression against Lebanon , the Israeli war machine was massacring the Palestinian population and dismantling their government and Parliament, arresting members of the government and of the Palestinian Legislative Council en masse; all of this is totally incompatible with efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region.
Faced with this dismal panorama, the Non-Aligned Movement must take measures to support Palestinian brothers and sisters much more firmly and decisively. The blatant, massive and systematic violation of the Palestinian people’s human rights, including the right to life and free determination, must end.
The Movement must not give up denouncing the crimes which are being committed against the Arab people, particularly against the people of Palestine, and it must continue insisting that the conflict in the Middle East be resolved with justice and finality.
A just and long-lasting peace will not be possible in the Middle East until the illegal Israeli occupation ceases and the Palestinian people are able to exercise their legitimate rights.
Peace shall not be possible until all Arab territories occupied in June 1967 are returned; until all Israeli aggression against the Lebanese people ceases, the return of Palestinian refugees is guaranteed and the illegal Israeli settlements are eliminated.
In conclusion, Distinguished Ministers, I should like to confirm the unswerving commitment of the people and the Government of Cuba in their struggle for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and of all the Arab peoples, and reiterate our firm conviction that sooner rather than later the establishment of a sovereign and independent Palestinian State, with its capital in East Jerusalem, shall become a reality.
Our people, subjected for more than 45 years to a genocidal blockade by the government of the United States, are convinced that there is no wall, fence or repressive system, no matter how violent or inhuman it may be, that can destroy the hopes for independence and justice for the Palestinian people.