The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol was held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.

 

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Statements and Speeches

Statement by Mr. Mahlatse Mminele, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on "The Situation in  the Middle East, Including  the Palestinian Question"

New York, 25 July 2017

Mr President,

We join other Member States in expressing our appreciation to you and the Chinese delegation for convening this open debate on the situation in the Middle East including the question of Palestinian . South Africa aligns itself with the statement made by the representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr President,

2017 marks 50 years of Israel's occupancy of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The vast majority of Palestine's population have lived their entire lifetime under Israeli occupation. In the past 50 years, civilians have been denied their dignity and fundamental rights to free movement, education, healthcare and even the right to life. With each passing day, the number of Palestinians in need of humanitarian assistance increases. The situation in Gaza is even more dire. The UNCTAD report that stated that the area could be "uninhabitable" in less than five years if current economic trends continue is becoming all the more real.

Mr President,

The Security Council has been seized with the matter of the Middle East, in particular the question of Palestine and Israel, since the founding of the United Nations over 70 years ago.

The people of Palestine continue to look to the United Nations, notably the Security Council, to help them realize their right to self-determinatio.n The Israel-Palestine conflict has become entrenched over the decades. It is long overdue for the Council to assume its responsibility under the UN Charter to maintain international peace and security, and to work to reverse the negative trends that threaten peace and the two­ state solution. The Security Council must renew its commitment to keep to its mandate and contribute to resolving this conflict.

Mr President,

It has become clear, that the conflict between Palestinian and Israel feeds into the wider regional dynamics by having a negative effect on peace, economic developmen,t socio­ political progression and security throughout the entire region. The Middle East peace process therefore remains one of the central issues shaping international relations within the region and the world.

Mr President,

South Africa calls for the effective and immediate implementation of resolution 2334 (2016) which reaffirms that Israeli illegal settlements have no legal validity, that it constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and that it is a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders. We call on Israel to immediately and completely cease all settlement activities as demanded by the resolution and reminds Israel that no changes to the 1967-lines will be recognized, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the two sides through negotiations.

Mr President,

My delegation is intensely aware that the opportunities for a two-state solution are being eroded The ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories is a fundamental obstacle to a return to negotiations and a grave threat to the very existence of a future Palestinian state as well as a safe and secure Israel. Every settlement takes land away from Palestinians needing homes, farmland or other infrastructure.

Mr President,

South Africa has a long-standing record of solidarity with the Palestinian people and supports the Palestinian cause. We firmly believe that the only just solution to the Palestinian Question is an independent, sovereign, viable and united Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, functioning within recognized and secure borders and living side-by-side in peace with Israel and its other neighbours as endorsed in the Quartet Roadmap the Madrid Principles, the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant UNSC Resolutions.

Mr President,

South Africa is concerned about the arrest and subsequent imprisonment, without charge or trial, of Palestinian Legislative Council member, Ms Khalida Jarrar, who was arrested in Ramallah on 2 July by the occupying Israeli military and calls for her immediate release. Israel is a signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention which embodies fair trail and the right of an accused to defend him or herself. We call on Israel to abide and respect the provisions of this convention as an occupying force.

South Africa is also deeply concerned by the escalating tensions and violent clashes taking place in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. Given the particular sensitivities surrounding the holy sites in Jerusalem, and the need to ensure security, the Quartet envoys call on all to demonstrate maximum restraint,·refrain from provocative actions and work towards de-escalating the situation.

Mr President,

In conclusion we strongly believe that the situation on the ground cannot be allowed to continue unchanged as it remains an impediment to the security, peace, stability and development of the wider Middle East region. South Africa believes that ending the occupation is in the interest of both Israel and Palestine and we call on both parties to take concrete steps to that end. The recent past has seen no movement on the peace process. The international community must recommit itself to restart the moribund peace process on the basis of international legality and accountability.

I thank you.

 

 

Rev. Thursday, 02-Nov-2017 2:18 PM