STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR YUSNIER ROMERO PUENTES, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON THE 75TH COMMEMORATION OF THE NAKBA (New York, 15 May 2023)
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 Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for organizing this important meeting.
3. This year 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, when in 1948 hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homes and lands.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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."
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.