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29 NOVEMBER 2021

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to be with you today, and I thank the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People for the kind invitation to attend this special meeting and to deliver a message on behalf of H.E. Mousa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission who unfortunately could not be here today.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen

The annual observance is an opportunity for the African Union to renew its shared solidarity with the people of Palestine. We continue to recognize and salute the valor and resolve of the Palestinian people in their struggle against occupation and support their legitimate desire for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State; a land where they can be free, and live in peace. A land where Women and children can live their daily lives without the fear of the unknown, a land where youth can thrive and society can become whole again.

This year in particular, the Palestine people have endured many hardships with devastating human and material destruction; setting back the already fragile development of vulnerable communities. We watched as violence escalated between brothers, while the causalities of this confrontation remain the most innocent and the most defenseless. Incessant attacks on and violations of human rights of innocent people under any guise are condemnable and the international community should fully assume its responsibilities of protection of innocent citizens by urging those responsible to comply with international law.

We further continue to call for the implementation of all UN Security Council resolutions on Palestine, adopted since 1947 as well as Security Council resolutions 242 (1967); 338 (1973); and 2334 (2016) on ending all armed conflicts and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, upholding the human rights of Palestinian refugees and prisoners to humanitarian assistance; as well as those recognizing Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law.

The conflict between the two States has been a cause of great concern for the international community while various regional and international actors have partaken in the search for a lasting peace between the two nations. While noting that a lasting solution is required to ensure the co-existence of both nations to allow their people to live in a state of peace and stability, we must re-emphasise that the path towards long lasting peace and stability requires that the peace process and the solutions sought must not only be acceptable, but must guarantee the rights of all parties.

In the almost sixty-year history of Africa’s continental organisation, from its formation as the Organization of African Unity and re-launch as the African Union, the Union has been very clear on it position that in the issue of Palestine and Israel, a Two-State Solution is necessary for a peaceful co-existence.

We also recall the Declaration adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union where, amongst other things called on – and I quote:

Member States of the African Union that have recognized and are maintaining relations with the State of Israel to openly declare that their recognition was based on the 1967 borders and reiterate their recognition of the State of Palestine within the same borders and refrain from any action that could undermine the basis of the final two-State solution’; and

Urge Member States to take into account, in any cooperation with the State of Israel, that such cooperation does not support the Israeli occupation at the expense of African support for the Palestinian cause in line with the noble ideals and the noble foundation on which the African Union is established, the first of which is the right of people to self-determination’ - end of quote.

Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen,

The message is clear and we must find a way to go beyond declarations and put our words into action while we urge for dialogue and negotiation to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Let us continue to push the message of peace and urge all parties involved in this conflict, to desist from unilateral policies, actions and provocations that could further exacerbate the security situation and tense atmosphere in the Middle East.

All parties must recognize that there is no military solution to this long-standing conflict. A just and peaceful lasting solution to the conflict can only be achieved through already established principles, “based on the existence of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and harmony, within the framework of the relevant United Nations Resolutions.”

Finally, Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen,

Permit me to conclude by reiterating our commitment to work jointly with the international community to reach a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

We must recognize that progress cannot be made if both parties do not agree on a way forward together based on relevant UN resolutions, international law and joint agreements.

This is the only way that the two states can look to a future where both sides can live in peace and stability.

I thank you.

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