Statement delivered by Sri Lanka on behalf of the Special Committee to investigate Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, at the special meeting to observe the International Day

STATEMENT BY
SRI LANKA ON BEHALF OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE ISRAELI PRACTICES AFFECTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE AND OTHER ARABS OF THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

AT THE SPECIAL MEETING IN OBSERVANCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL
DAY OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE

GENEVA, 8 DECEMBER 2020

Madam Chair,

Sri Lanka is pleased to address this Special Meeting to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, as the Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.

2. This year marks the 73rd year since the passage of General Assembly Resolution 181 (ii) of 1947 and the 43rd year since the General Assembly established the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. They remain painful reminders of the unfinished task of resolving the question of Palestine. We join others in standing together on this day, united and bound by a common purpose to seek ways for a peaceful, just and equitable solution to the plight of the Palestinian people.

Madam Chair,
3. The Special Committee presented its 52nd Report, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 74/87 last month, and the report was presented to the General Assembly for adoption, on 2 December 2020.
4. The Committee had online briefings and consultations with Member States, UN agencies and civil society, and focused a portion of its report on the gendered impact, of Israeli practices and policies, on the human rights of Palestinian women and girls, and the impact of COVID-19 on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

5. The Special Committee also made 18 and 8 recommendations to the Israeli Government, and to the international community respectively, to ensure that the welfare and human rights of the Palestinian people are safeguarded.

Madam Chair,
6. The Committee remains concerned on a number of human rights issues related to the ongoing expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.

7. The Committee is dismayed that de facto annexation of Palestinian territory continues to take place with rising settlement expansion, home confiscations and demolitions, and acts of violence and human rights violations against the Palestinian People.

8. The Committee remains alarmed that Israel’s annexation plans have not been abandoned. We join the international community in continuing to underscore that any annexation would constitute a grave breach of international law, the United Nations Charter and relevant Security Council Resolutions. We remain concerned on the recent demolition and seizures in the occupied West Bank early this month including in Area C and East Jerusalem.

9. The Committee calls on Israeli authorities to cease demolitions, seizures of Palestinian property and forcible relocation of communities that are contrary to international law and jeopardize the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state.

10. We remain concerned that despite the pandemic - instances of excessive use of force, home demolitions, settler violence and night raids have continued to be reported, and in some cases even at a higher level than periods before the pandemic.

11. The Committee recalls that Israel, as the occupying power, is responsible for ensuring the right to health for Palestinians and urges Israel to take the necessary measures to ensure that Palestinians are protected from the outbreak, and have access to required medical services.
Madam Chair,

12. The blockade of Gaza enters its 14th year and the situation remains dire - more than 90% of the water is undrinkable due to water contamination, almost half of the population is unemployed and living below the poverty line, with 80% relying on humanitarian assistance.
13. The Committee calls upon the Government of Israel, to end the blockade and occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and the occupied Syrian Golan, in compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions; implementation of all UN Resolutions regarding the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, the cessation of all illegal settlement activities; desist from the illegal practice of demolitions, cease all annexation plans in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and the occupied Syrian Golan, and to investigate cases of excessive use of force.
Madam Chair,

14. The Special Committee joins the consistent call by the international community, for a just and lasting resolution of the question of Palestine, based on the two-State solution on 1967 borders, and an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people.

15. The overwhelming solidarity with the Palestinian people demonstrates that the international community supports a negotiated settlement, for a just and peaceful solution.

16. On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, let their resilience and strength of purpose, inspire us to reinvigorate our collective efforts and commitment, to forge a lasting settlement on the Question of Palestine.

17. To this end, we reaffirm our steadfast support of their cause and uphold the rights of the Palestinian people in striving to gain their legitimate rights and aspirations towards building a future of peace, justice, security and dignity.

I thank you.

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