STATEMENT OF H.E. FATHER MIGUEL D´ESCOTO
BROCKMANN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS
GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY
OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINAN PEOPLE

UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK
24 NOVEMBER 2008

Mr. Chairman,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Excellencies,
Brothers and Sisters,

1. It is with mixed emotions that I join you today to observe the
International Day of
Solidarity with the Palestinian People at this event organized by the
Committee on the
Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. As you know,
Solidarity is a
concept that is central to my work as the Assembly President. I want to
thank the Committee
for its dedicated efforts to rally our solidarity with the Palestinian
people, pursuing the
mandate entrusted to it by the General Assembly.

2. Today we recall that, 61 years ago this month, the General Assembly
adopted the historic
resolution 181, calling for the creation of a Jewish State and an Arab
State. The State of
Israel, founded a year later in 1948, now celebrates 60 years of its
existence. Shamefully,
there is still no Palestinian State to celebrate.

 

3. As I stated in my first address to the General Assembly last September, I believe that thefailure to create a Palestinian State as promised is the single greatest failure in the history ofthe United Nations. It has been 60 years since some 800,000 Palestinians were driven out oftheir homes and property, becoming refugees and an uprooted and marginalized people.

4. We cannot avoid the bitter irony that next month we mark the 60th anniversary of theadoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines the right to self-determination of these very same people. We are witness to decades of the terrible conditionsendured throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, yet the promise – the right — of thePalestinian people to a homeland remains as elusive as ever.

5. As I speak here today, almost 1.5 millions Palestinians are enduring an unprecedentedblockade of the Gaza Strip. All border crossings into Gaza are closed, blocking even thedelivery of emergency humanitarian relief supplied by the United Nations. Lack of fuel isplunging the population into darkness and cold; basic medicines are running out; malnutritionis chronic and peoples´ coping mechanisms are being exhausted.

6. In solidarity, I urge the international community to raise its voice against this collectivepunishment of the people of Gaza. We must call for an end to this massive abuse of humanrights. I call on Israel, the occupying Power, to allow humanitarian and other supplies to enterthe Gaza Strip without delay.

7. The situation in the West Bank is often overshadowed by the humanitarian crisis facingGaza. We cannot overlook, however, the existence of over 600 checkpoints and otherobstacles to freedom of movement within the West Bank. We must denounce the resumptionof house demolitions during the cold months and the unabated settlement expansion that is stillbeing officially authorized. The unprecedented rise in violent attacks by settlers against thePalestinian population must also end. Although different, what is being done against thePalestinian people seems to me to be a version of the hideous policy of apartheid.

8. This untenable situation highlights the urgent need for the resumption of a genuine peaceprocess that can yield tangible results in the foreseeable future. So far the endlessnegotiations between two very unequal partners have not borne fruit. What we need is arenewed sense of solidarity to inspire political will, courage and a broader perspective of theconflict. This should include the revival of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002.

9. The international community should spare no effort in assisting both Israelis andPalestinians to reach a solution that will fulfill the goal of two States, Israel and Palestine,living side by side in peace and security. The United Nations has an ongoing responsibility toresolve the question of Palestine in all its aspects and in accordancewith international law. Let us be sure that this not become a permanent responsibility.

10. The enmity between our Palestinian and Israeli brothers and sisters is a bitter and self-perpetuating tragedy. We must find new ways to defuse this enmity, to enable both peoples toreassert their historic bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood. I urge the international communityto defuse the political deadlock that cynically perpetuates this hatred, isolation and abuse. Oursolidarity must prompt concrete action to realize those elusive rights that most of us can takefor granted.

Thank you.

MRN

Author: MRN Network

The aspiration of the Media Review Network is to dispel the myths and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims and to foster bridges of understanding among the diverse people of our country. The Media Review Network believes that Muslim perspectives on issues impacting on South Africans are a prerequisite to a better appreciation of Islam.