NEW YORK, February 7, 2018 (WAFA) – The Palestine question is linked to the history of the United Nations and is one of the longest unresolved issues on its agenda, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday.
“As we all know, the question of Palestine is inextricably linked with the history of the United Nations and is one of the longest unresolved issues on our agenda,” said the UN chief speaking at the opening of the 2018 Session of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People held at the UN headquarters in New York.
He said decades of “convergence and global consensus” on the vision of a two-state solution as the only way to lay the foundations for enduring peace “could be eroding, making effective concerted action more difficult to achieve, at a time when it is more important than ever.”
He warned that negative trends on the ground, such as ongoing settlement construction and expansion, which he said is “illegal under UN resolutions and international law” and “a major obstacle to peace and it must be halted and reversed,” as well as violence and incitement that continue to fuel a climate of fear and mistrust and the dire humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza, “have the potential to create an irreversible one-state reality that is incompatible with realizing the legitimate national, historic and democratic aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.”
“There is no Plan B,” said Guterres. “A two-State solution is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and secure a sustainable solution to the conflict.”
Guterres warned that shortage of funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) following a US decision to slash millions of dollars from its annual contribution to the humanitarian agency “will gravely impair the agency’s ability to deliver on its mandate and preserve critical services such as education and health care for Palestine Refugees.”
“At stake is the human security, rights and dignity of the five million Palestine refugees across the Middle East,” he said.
“But also at stake is the stability of the entire region which may be affected if UNRWA is unable to continue to provide vital services to the Palestine refugee population, both across the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.”
He thanked the committee chair, Fodé Seck, and its members who have "worked tirelessly to help realize the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people – including their right to self-determination."
“You have been a leading voice in supporting the achievement of a two-State solution able to end the Israeli occupation,” he said. “You have also mobilized international support and assistance to the Palestinian people, and I thank you for all these efforts.”