H.E. Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia
To the United Nations
On Agenda Item:
“The Situation in Middle East, including the Palestinian Question”
New York, 25 March 2009
I wish to begin by extending the appreciation of our delegation to you for convening this pertinent and timely meeting on such an important subject.
I wish also to join previous speakers in thanking Mr. Lynn Pascoe, Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, for his briefing.
My delegation would like to pay due recognition to the recent International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy and Reconstruction of Gaza, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, on 2 March 2009, at which $4.5 billion was pledged by members of the international community.
Indonesia is encouraged by the determined commitment of the members of the international community to make a significant contribution to the cause of reconstruction and rehabilitation in Gaza Strip.The scale of devastation in the Gaza Strip and the urgency of the needs of the Palestinian people and institutions simply cannot wait. Unnecessary delay in honoring those pledges would defeat the objective completely.
We welcome the decision of the Secretary-General on 12 February to set up a Board of Inquiry charged with investigating specific incidents concerning United Nations premises or in the course of United Nations operations during the Israeli military attack of the Gaza Strip between 27 December 2008 and 19 January 2009. My delegation looks forward to the report’s wide distribution, once completed.
In addition to the Board of Inquiry, which has an understandably limited mandate, Indonesia is of the view that an independent commission should be established with the mandate to look into possible crimes against humanity committed during the Israeli military assault, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
While we await this investigation, it is important to draw fresh attention to the horrendous humanitarian challenge existing in Gaza, one that cries out for our emphatic response. Regrettably, the level of assistance being allowed into the Strip by Israel falls far short of expectation, given the needs of the people. This situation is being complicated by the lengthy clearance procedures for aid workers, as well as the variety of items that are being banned by Israel.
We call on Israel to grant unrestricted humanitarian assistance to all the Palestinians that need it. The blockade should be lifted, immediately and unconditionally, to permit the movement of people and goods.
Let me also take this opportunity to reiterate our outrage on the continuation of construction of Israeli settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
With the construction of settlements in the West Bank having nearly doubled over 2007, and the Israeli-authority-backed initiative of building new constructions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the prospects for the two-state solution are steadily declining.
As the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories continues, and its settlers keep encroaching further the territories, Palestinians will watch their land claims disintegrate before their eyes, and thus, making a viable Palestinian state very difficult.
Israel’s settlement policies and practices, which have been aimed at altering the demographic composition, physical character and status of the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, are nothing but a blatant violation of international law.
The transfer of civilians to occupied areas, whether or not in settlements which are under military control, is contrary to Article 49 (6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which clearly states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
Furthermore, settlement activities are also in contradiction with the principles of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, in accordance with the UN Charter. And as such, it contravenes to the commitment of Israel to be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
If Israel has a genuine commitment to peace, Israel must stop all settlement construction, expansion and planning in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and dismantle the settlements built therein, in compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions.
Back in 1980, through its resolution 465, the Council has called on Israel to “dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.”
We believe that the Council could take similar step by pronouncing itself collectively, and with a single voice, to urgently demand Israel to dismantle the existing settlements and to cease the construction and planning of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
We would also like to underline the importance of inter-Palestinian dialogue and reconciliation. In this regard, we commend Egypt for hosting the inter-Palestinian dialogue. Indonesia wishes to encourage the Palestinians parties to ensure that their national reconciliation talks enjoy an unqualified success. As we have stated in the past, Palestinians have a lot to gain by coming together. A unified platform will grant them the opportunity to negotiate the future from a position of strength, and to meet their objectives. We encourage them to seize this historic opportunity.
Our commitment to an independent, viable and democratic Palestine—living side-by-side in peace and security with its neighbours—is absolute.
A just, comprehensive, and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on relevant resolutions of the Council, must prevail.
The Security Council, on its part, in shouldering its Charter mandated responsibilities, must and, indeed, can exert a positive influence on the Middle East peace process.
Thank you, Mr. President
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
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