20 January 2014
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee
Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
On behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement
Before the United Nations Security Council
On the “Situation in the Middle East: including the Question of Palestine”
20 January 2014, New York
In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. At the outset, I would like to convey the Movement’s appreciation to you, Mr. President, honorable Foreign Minister of Jordan, for convening this open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine. I also avail myself of this opportunity to express appreciation to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, for his important briefing to the Council today.
Another year has begun while peace, justice and stability still remain elusive in the Middle East. The ongoing Israeli military occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands and denial of the freedom and rights of the Palestinian people continue to demand the attention of the international community and require urgent action for redress, in conformity with international law and United Nations resolutions. This must be one of the priorities on the global agenda for the year 2014, a year that has been declared by the General Assembly as the “International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People”.
The Movement remains seriously concerned about the situation in Palestine as a result of the illegal policies that continue to be pursued by Israel, the occupying Power, against the Palestinian people and their land. Over the past months, while the international community has been exerting efforts for tangible progress in the resumed negotiations and has articulated its full support for that process on the basis of the long-standing parameters rooted in the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid principles, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet road map, Israel, the occupying Power has instead, regrettably, continued to behave in a manner contradictory to those parameters, to the good faith required for the negotiations and to the overarching objectives of the peace process to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive solution.
Tensions continue to rise and widen the gap between the expectations for the political process and the reality on the ground. A brief review of just the recent period shows that Israeli settlement activities, including construction of settlements and the wall and confiscation of more Palestinian land, the blockade of the Gaza Strip, military raids and arrests, and constant violence and provocations by extremist Israeli settlers, have all continued unabated, in grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and relevant UN resolutions. Such violations are exacerbating the conditions on the ground and reinforcing doubts regarding Israel’s true intentions and commitment to the just and final peace that the State of Palestine, with the strong support of the international community, including NAM countries, has been exerting serious efforts to achieve.
NAM remains extremely alarmed in particular by the escalation of acts of aggression in Occupied East Jerusalem, especially in and around Al-Haram Al-Sharif and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, resulting from provocations by Israeli extremists. The blatant disrespect for that holy site and its worshippers and the continued threats of further incursions are tantamount to grave acts of incitement that are stoking religious sensitivities and aggravating already high tensions. Israeli government officials continue to recklessly fuel such religious tensions by encouraging extremists to acts of provocation that threaten to ignite a religious conflict, which would have far-reaching and dangerous consequences for the region and beyond. NAM therefore once again draws the Security Council’s attention to all these serious matters, which threaten international peace and security, and calls for actions to halt all such Israeli incitement and for respect for the sanctity of religious sites.
NAM also reiterates its serious concern over the continued systematic Israeli human rights violations against the Palestinian people, including the killing and injury of civilians in violent military raids, the excessive use of force against civilian protesters, the forced displacement of civilians and the arrest and detention of more Palestinians. Despite the recent release of long-term Palestinian prisoners, Israel continues almost-daily arrests of Palestinian civilians, including children. More than 5,000 Palestinians still remain in Israeli jails. These are all serious concerns for the Movement.
The illegal Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip also continues to inflict grave socioeconomic losses and humanitarian hardship on the Palestinian people besieged there. NAM condemns these violations and urges the international community to persist with its calls on Israel, the occupying Power, to immediately end this blockade, to cease its collective punishment and all illegal actions against the Palestinian people under its occupation, and to respect its obligations under international law. If Israel persists in its contempt for international law, it is high time for the international community to undertake measures to uphold the law and ensure accountability.
The Non-Aligned Movement reaffirms its solidarity with the Palestinian people and support for the realization of their inalienable right to self-determination and freedom in their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a just solution to the question of Palestine in all its aspects. It is hoped that the current negotiations will succeed within the specified time frame in the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace that will bring a complete end to the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian and other occupied Arab lands and usher in an era of peace and stability in the Middle East.
At this critical juncture, the Non-Aligned Movement renews its calls for continued support to the Palestinian people in their legitimate historic struggle for justice, dignity, peace and the exercise of their right to self-determination. NAM calls for a redoubling of international efforts, including by the Security Council and in line with our political, legal and moral obligations, towards the realization of these noble objectives in this year.
Lebanon has suffered from consecutive Israeli attacks against its territory, with a heavy human and material toll, followed by subsequent years of occupation and aggression. Unfortunately, Israel still continues to violate Lebanese airspace, intensifying its incursions over Lebanon. Such activities are a blatant violation of Lebanese sovereignty and the relevant international resolutions, in particular resolution 1701 (2006). The provisions of that resolution should be implemented in a manner that guarantees the consolidation of the foundations of stability and security in Lebanon and prevents Israel from undertaking its daily violations of Lebanese sovereignty.
The Movement condemns all the measures taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to alter the legal, physical and demographic status of the occupied Syrian Golan, which have intensified after the outbreak of Syrian crisis. The Non-Aligned Movement demands once again that Israel abide by resolution 497 (1981) and withdraw fully from the occupied Syrian Golan to the borders of 4 June 1967, in implementation of resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).
I thank you Mr. President.