The following is a statement by H.E. Dr. Amal Mudallali, the
Permanent Representative of Lebanon
to the United Nations, at the open debate of the Security Council titled "The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question" in New York, on July 23, 2019.
Thank you for holding this debate and congratulations on a successful presidency for the council this month. Before I read my prepared statement, I would like to address the accusations that
the Israeli Ambassador directed against Lebanon, and taking into account Israel's history of invasions of Lebanon. The Lebanese see these accusations as direct threats on their peace and civilian infrastructure. If the Israeli Ambassador is using these statements to divert attention from the miserable situation that their occupation has created for the Palestinians, this is not new.
But if he is using them to prepare the ground and the international community for an attack on Lebanon's civilian port and airport and its infrastructure as they did in 2006, this Council should not stay silent and should uphold its responsibility to prevent Israel from launching another war on Lebanon.
We are meeting at a time of heightened tension in the Middle East. There is a sense of despair and hopelessness due to protracted conflicts and decades of occupation. Nowhere is this hopelessness more vivid than on the Palestine question. We are witnessing not only lack of progress toward peace, but also a rolling back on the principles and foundation of real, equitable peace, mainly on UN resolutions and the application of international law.
The situation on the ground for the Palestinians continues to deteriorate especially in Jerusalem, and in Gaza where international humanitarian organizations describe it as getting worse by the day. The continued Israeli occupation and its illegal measures like closures, arbitrary detentions, demolition of homes, expansion of the settlements, and depriving the Palestinians of their basic human and political rights have rendered the situation unbearable.
The international community should uphold its responsibility not only toward the Palestinians, but also, and more importantly, towards this august body, to fulfill the principles that this organization was founded upon and to stop these actions. The dire humanitarian situation is made worse by the difficulties that UNRWA, is facing in terms of funding which puts hundreds of thousands of Palestinian livelihood at stake in the occupied territories and around the region.
On the Political level, the much awaited peace plan is still much promised, but its opening shots, in the form of an economic conference, were met with disappointment and condemnation by most of the parties especially the Palestinians because of the lack of a political horizon.
The Palestinians and the Arabs want the right recipe for peace. A just, comprehensive and lasting peace. They regard The Arab Peace Initiative and the two state solution, as the best basis for a political solution to the conflict, a solution based on international legality, United Nations resolutions, 242, 338 and 2234, with a Palestinian state living in peace and security with East Jerusalem as its capital. This was reiterated during the latest Organization of Islamic States' Foreign Ministers meeting this month which condemned the Israeli attempts at "altering Jerusalem's legal character, status and demographic makeup".
In Syria, Israel is continuing its policy of entrenching its occupation and annexation of the Golan Heights, with impunity. Lebanon is concerned and troubled by this Israeli policy to alter the legal, physical and demographic status of the occupied Golan Heights. Lebanon calls on Israel to implement United Nations resolutions 242, 338, 497 and the Geneva conventions in their entirety.
The Lebanese Government made progress since the last quarterly debate in this Council. The Cabinet approved the 2019 budget, the first step in the financial reform program of the government in fulfillment of its obligations under the CEDRE conference.
The electricity plan was approved also by the Cabinet and the Parliament. The discussions on the Capital Investment program for the rehabilitation of the infrastructure has started as well. The Government demonstrated its commitment to the human rights agenda by appointing the members of the national preventive mechanism against torture.
Lebanon is grateful for the continuous support of its longstanding international partners whether economically or on its peace and security agenda. The Security Council held consultations yesterday on resolution 1701, one of the pillars of its peace and security agenda in the South, and the Council heard the message of UNIFIL and the Secretary-General in his report: The situation in the area of operations is calm. This is exactly what is needed in the region, calm. This would not have been possible without the help of the United Nations and UNIFIL's forces.
The Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri reaffirmed, during a visit to UNIFIL's Maritime Task Force last week, his commitment and the Government's commitment to resolutions 1701 and 2433.The Prime Minister stressed that he was fully dedicated to further developing the capacities of the Lebanese navy in fulfillment of Lebanon's obligations under these resolutions. He announced that he was fully briefed on the plan to increase the Lebanese naval capabilities and vowed to do his utmost best to have it endorsed by the Cabinet before August 31, the date of the renewal of UNIFIL's mandate. The strengthening of the Lebanese armed forces capabilities and building a naval force will enable them, as the Prime Minister said, to slowly assume their responsibility in support of UNIFIL.
The United States used its good offices to reach an agreement on starting talks on delineation of the maritime and land border between Lebanon and Israel. Although these negotiations have not yet produced the desired outcome, that could lead to the start of these talks, the Prime Minister vowed to work relentlessly on starting these negotiations.
Unfortunately, this Lebanese commitment to 1701 and to respecting its obligations under UN resolutions is met with daily Israeli violations of Lebanese territory by land, air and sea. This month has already witnessed tens of violations especially by warplanes and military boats terrifying the population. On the border, Israel continues to build on the Lebanese occupied territories, in what is called reservation points. These violations are a source of tension and instability and lead to increased fragility along the border and must end.
The situation in the Middle East will remain a source of conflict as long as United Nations resolutions are ignored and human and political rights are denied. This Council can and must change this reality if the region is to live in peace."
Source: National News Agency