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I wish to thank you for convening this important meeting and to express to you our deep appreciation for the principled, sincere efforts you have exerted in this process in your national capacity as well as in your capacity as the President of the Security Council for this month.
I wish also to express our thanks to Bosnia and Herzegovina for their skilled stewardship of the Security Council in January, particularly during the open debate of the Council on 19th January and throughout the series of consultations undertaken regarding the draft resolution on Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, on which the Council has just taken action.
At this time, I also wish to express Palestineís deep appreciation and gratitude to Lebanon, the Arab representative on the Security Council, for the principled efforts exerted and for their unwavering support throughout this important exercise.
We wish to thank as well the Arab Group for their serious consideration of this matter, their constant coordination, and their strong support, and we express appreciation for the able leadership of the Chairman of the Arab Group since we began this exercise in December 2010. In this context, we also extend our appreciation to the important and sincere efforts exerted by the Arab League Follow-up Committee and its Chair, Qatar, at all levels in the region, in Cairo and here in New York.
We must also express our appreciation and gratitude to the members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Chairs, Egypt and Tajikistan, for their sincere efforts and for their valuable support and solidarity with Palestine. In this regard, we convey our thanks as well to the members of the NAM caucus of the Security Council for their consideration and support on this most important issue.
Of course, Palestine also wishes to extend its deep gratitude to all of the countries that co-sponsored the draft resolution, from all corners of the world -- from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Their strong and principled support was invaluable and illustrated to us once again the importance, weight, and necessity of the collective effort and position in our work in the international arena as we strive to uphold international law and to make peace and justice a reality.
Madame President, when we determined to come to the Security Council to address the critical and dangerous issue of Israelís ongoing illegal settlement campaign throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, we came to the Council with a sensible draft resolution reflecting agreed language and principles. This represented a responsible and serious attempt on our behalf, along with the entire international community, to address this issue of the illegal Israeli settlement activities in order to remove this obstacle from the path of the peace process.
Our overreaching goal remains to bring an end to the Israeli colonization and occupation of our land and its destruction of the two-State solution, and to create appropriate environment and dynamics for the conduct and ultimate success of...genuine peace negotiations for the achievement of the two-State solution for peace in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Madrid Principles, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Road Map.
Unfortunately, however, the Security Council has failed to uphold its responsibilities to respond to this crisis in the long search for peace and security in the Middle East and to legislate the global consensus that exists in demanding that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.
We reiterate that it is high time to send a clear and firm message to Israel that it must comply with international legal obligations, including in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, and cease all of its violations and its obstruction of the peace process.
Israel, the occupying Power, should not question the determination of the international community to bring an end to those violations, including its illegal settlement campaign, including in occupied East Jerusalem. The proper message that should have been sent by the Security Council to Israel, the occupying Power, is that its contempt of international law and international community will no longer be tolerated.
We fear, however, that the message sent today may be one that only encourages further Israeli intransigence and impunity. This must be remedied. Otherwise, we will face a situation where Israelís illegal, reckless, and expansionist campaign puts into final jeopardy the prospects for achieving our collective goal, the goal that will bring peace and security to our region -- the two-State solution for peace of an independent and viable State of Palestine living side by side with Israel on the basis of the 1967 borders.
Madame President, despite the negative outcome today -- and of course, we appreciate the -- the positive votes of the 14 countries who voted in favor -- we continue to call and will continue to call on the Security Council to uphold its duties and responsibilities vis-ŗ-vis the question of Palestine, because we believe in international law and believe in the central role of the Security Council in maintaining international peace and security. The Council must undertake this role seriously and consciously in the Middle East in its ongoing attempts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict, the core of which remains the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The situation on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, is intolerable and the status quo is untenable. We must continue to uphold our duties towards our people and our just cause, and will -- and will thus continue to consider all of our options at the United Nations in order to address all of the critical issues we face and to promote the achievement of a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace settlement. We do this with full conviction and commitment, and with deepest gratitude and appreciation to all of the member States of the international community whose support and solidarity in this long search for peace has been so vital and unwavering.
The Palestinian people and their leadership will not forgo their legitimate national aspirations and will not cease their honorable efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of this conflict in all its aspects. This includes, foremost, bringing a complete end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land that began in 1967 and the achievement of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination in their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, where they can live as a dignified and proud -- dignified and proud people, enjoying peace, freedom, democracy, security, and prosperity in their homeland.
And I thank you, Madame President.
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