Statement of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 59: Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources at the Second Committee of the General Assembly.
(New York, 16 October 2023)
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
At the outset, the Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Secretariat for the presentation of the Report submitted for our consideration under this agenda item.
The Group welcomes the SG report on “Economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan”, contained in document (A/78/127–E/2023/95), which highlights the detrimental effect of the protracted Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory and the Syrian Golan on the living conditions of the Palestinian and Syrian populations, as well as on social and economic development in the occupied territories.
The Group reiterates its unwavering and unequivocal support for economic development efforts and aspirations of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Syrian people in the occupied Syrian Golan.
The 2030 Agenda has recognized that “sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security; and peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development,” and called for “further effective measures and actions to be taken, in conformity with international law, to remove the obstacles to the full realization of the right of self-determination of peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, which continue to adversely affect their economic and social development as well as their environment.” Nevertheless, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report has concluded that the “Israeli-imposed restrictions, expansion of the illegal settlements and other practices not only prevent development but also exacerbated the fragmentation of the Palestinian territory. These policies and practices have had a severe humanitarian, economic, social and political impact on Palestinians and their ability to exercise their fundamental human rights.”
In this regard, the Group is deeply concerned that halfway time has passed since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, while the occupied Palestinian and Syrian peoples are still far behind in its implementation, and they would not be able to attain the sustainable development, as long as they do not have sovereignty over their natural resources.
The Group is deeply concerned about the further deterioration of the social and economic conditions of the Palestinian people as a result of illegal Israeli practices, which include, but are not limited to, the continuing colonization of Palestinian land by Israel in grave breach of international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as well as in flagrant violation of relevant UN resolutions, including, inter alia, Security Council resolution 2334.
While recalling Security Council resolution 2334, we reaffirm that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the internationally recognized two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace. Once again, we demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and call upon all States, to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.
The Group encourages all States and international organizations to continue to actively pursue policies to ensure respect for their obligations under international law with regard to all illegal Israeli practices and measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly Israeli settlement activities and the exploitation of natural resources.
In this regard, the Group reaffirms the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and of the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land, water and energy resources, and demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease the exploitation, damage, cause of loss or depletion and endangerment of the natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, which constitute violations of international law and severely undermine their ability to pursue sustainable development.
The Group welcomes the continued Secretary General reaffirmation of the validity of Security Council resolution 497 (1981), in which the Council decided that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights was null and void and without international legal effect.
In closing, Mr. Chair, the Group reiterates its call on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to provide international protection to the Palestinian people, in accordance with international law and the relevant UN resolutions.
We also emphasize the need for urgent mobilization and the deployment of multilateral efforts to preserve the prospects of achieving a just and lasting solution for the people of Palestine, on the basis of the two States solution, with the peoples living side by side in peace and security, within secure and recognized pre-1967 borders.
I thank you.