Cuba reiterates its solidarity with Palestine

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative of Cuba, Ambassador  Ana Silvia Rodríguez Abascal, Chargé d'affaires a.i., at the open debate of the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East. New York, 24 July 2018.

Mr. President, We endorse the statement delivered by the delegation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. Cuba expresses its serious concern at the perilous deterioration of the situation in the Middle East since the last open debate on this issue. It is very regrettable that the Security Council, due the repeated hindrance of one of its members, was not even able to condemn the escalation of violence and the tragic events in the Gaza Strip since 30 March, resulting in the death of dozens of people and over 4,000 wounded. Cuba has repeatedly condemned the use of excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force by Israeli forces against civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and particularly the Gaza Strip, in grave and flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international humanitarian law; and like the majority of the international community, has further supported General Assembly resolution A/RES/ES-10/20, adopted on 13 June, by which the Secretary-General will submit recommendations on an international mechanism for the protection of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation.

Mr. President, Once again, we condemn the illegal construction and expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the advancement, approval or tendering of 3,500 settlement houses in the West Bank; the advancement of construction plans for 2,300; and the demolition or seizure of at least 84 Palestinian-owned structures, affecting livelihoods and causing forced displacement of Palestinians. All these cruel and destructive measures, coupled with the criminal and illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, not only seriously violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, but also take away the possibility of a two-State solution and undermine the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people and the Arab nations.

Cuba reiterates its strong call on the Security Council to fulfill its responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security, to take the necessary decisions and to demand the immediate end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, its aggressive policies and colonizing practices, and its compliance with the resolutions adopted by the said body on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, in particular resolution 2334 (2016). Mr. President, We express our solidarity with the government and people of Palestine.

We reiterate the unwavering position of support for a comprehensive, just, peaceful and lasting solution to the Palestinian question, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, based on the two-state solution, which would enable the Palestinians to exercise their right to self-determination, to an independent and sovereign State, with its capital in East Jerusalem and the pre-1967 borders, as well as to the right of return of refugees. We will continue to support Palestine's full membership of the United Nations. Cuba also reiterates its utmost concern and rejection of the unilateral declaration by the President of the United States to recognize the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which constitutes a grave and flagrant violation of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions.

Mr. President, Cuba calls for the cessation of interference in internal affairs, foreign aggression and the support, financing and supply of arms to terrorist groups to promote instability and conflict in the Middle East. Let there be an end to the fabrication of pretexts and concepts to try to legitimize in this Council the unilateral use of force and aggression against sovereign States. We demand Israel's full and unconditional withdrawal from the Syrian Golan and all occupied Arab territories. Any measures or actions taken or to be taken which purport to change the legal, physical and demographic condition and institutional structure of the occupied Syrian Golan, as well as the measures taken by Israel to exercise its jurisdiction and administration in that territory, constitute violations of international law, international agreements, the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations, including Security Council resolution 497 (1981) and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Finally, Cuba expresses its profound rejection of the decision of the United States Government to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Nuclear Agreement with Iran and to re-impose sanctions on that country, in clear breach of international commitments, which violates the rules of coexistence among States and can lead to serious consequences for stability and security in the Middle East. Thank you very much. (Cubaminrex-Permanent Mission of Cuba in United Nations)