STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. MUHAMMAD IMRAN KHAN, COUNSELOR, PERMANENT MISSION OF PAKISTAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE SEVENTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON AGENDA ITEM 56: 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 (New York, 17 October 2022)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, the Group of 77 and China would like to thank the Secretariat for the presentation of the Secretary General report submitted for our consideration under this agenda item.
3. 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/77/90-E/2022/66), which underlines, in disturbing numbers and statistics, the impact of the persistant Israeli policies and practices in the occupied Arab territories on all areas of life, including the sovereignty of the Palestinian and Syrian people over their natural resources.
4. 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.
5. The Group remains deeply concerned about the further decline 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 as an occupying Power and 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, and disrespect of the advisory opinion of the ICJ.
6. In this connection, the Group demands a halt to Israel's confiscation of Palestinian property, construction and expansion of Israeli settlements and the wall, demolition of Palestinian homes, mass dispossession and forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, and all measures of annexation, and calls for full respect of international law and all relevant resolutions.
7. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report has indicated that Area C constitutes more than 60 per cent of the area of the occupied West Bank and is the richest in terms of the availability of natural resources.
8. However, the Group is greatly concerned that the Palestinians people continue to face severe restrictions on planning, building and access to natural resources in this area and any investment or economic activity requires Israeli occupation-issued permits; a permit that is nearly impossible for the Palestinian people to obtain since nearly 99 percent of Palestinian building permit applications have been rejected over the years, making it extremely challenging for them to build and develop their communities in their own land.
9. In Gaza, the illegal Israeli blockade and repeated military aggressions have made development goals ever more elusive, as the SG report stated "the Gaza blockade and closures limit Palestinian access to materials and technologies that could promote the efficient use of energy, water and other natural resources."
10. 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.
11. At the end, 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, and to exert pressure on Israel to cease its repeated attacks on innocent civilians and infrastructure.
12. We also emphasize the need for urgent mobilization and the deployment of multilateral efforts to advance the realization of a political horizon and 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.