President of the United Nations General Assembly,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Excellencies Heads of Delegations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to begin by extending congratulations to the President of the 67tu session of the
United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremic, wishing him all success. I express
appreciation as well to H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz A1-Nasser for his leadership of the previous
General Assembly session, and also to the United Nations Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Kimoon,
for his tireless efforts at the helm of this organization.

Also, from the outset, I wish to affirm our appreciation to all Member States that, in their
statements to this Assembly, have stressed the urgency for progress towards the realization of a
just peace in our region that allows for the fulfillment by the Palestinian people of their
inalienable national rights.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Developments over the past year have confirmed what we have persistently drawn
attention to and warned of: the catastrophic danger of the racist Israeli settlement of our country,

During the past months, attacks by terrorist militias of Israeli settlers have become a daily
reality, with at least 535 attacks perpetrated since the beginning of this year. We are facing
relentless waves of attacks against our people, our mosques, churches and monasteries, and our
homes and schools; they are unleashing their venom against our trees, fields, crops and
properties, and our people have become fixed targets for acts of killing and abuse with the
complete collusion of the occupying forces and the Israeli Government.

The escalation of settler attacks should not surprise anyone, for it is the inherent
byproduct of the continuation of occupation and a government policy that deliberately fosters the
settlements and settlers and deems their satisfaction to be an absolute priority. And, it is the
inherent byproduct of the racist climate fueled by a culture of incitement in the Israeli curriculum
and extremist declarations, which are rife with hatred and are rooted in a series of discriminatory
laws created and enacted over the years against the Palestinian people, as well as by the security
apparatus and courts, which provide excuse after excuse for the settlers’ crimes and for their
accelerated release should one of them happen to be arrested, and by official and military
commissions of inquiry, which fabricate justifications for soldiers who have committed what are
clearly considered to be war crimes and perpetrated acts of murder, torture and abuse of peaceful

Over the past year, since the convening of the General Assembly’s previous session,
Israel, the occupying Power, has persisted with its settlement campaign, focusing on Jerusalem
and its environs. It is a campaign clearly and deliberately aimed at altering the City’s historic
character and the glorious image of the Holy City etched in the minds of humankind. It is a
campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people via the demolition of their homes
and prevention of their construction; the revocation of residency rights; the denial of basic
services, especially with regard to construction of school; the closure of institutions; and the
impoverishment of Jerusalem’s community via a siege of walls and checkpoints that are choking
the City and preventing millions of Palestinians from freely accessing its mosques, churches,
schools, hospitals and markets.

The occupying Power has also continued its construction and expansion of settlements in
different areas throughout the West Bank and continued its suffocating blockade as well as raids
and attacks against our people in the Gaza Strip, who to this day continue to suffer from the
disastrous impact of the destructive war of aggression committed against them years ago. Nearly
five thousand Palestinians also remain captive as prisoners and detainees in Israel’s jails. We
call on the international community to compel the Government of Israel to respect the Geneva
Conventions, to lift the blockade of Gaza and to investigate the conditions of detention of
Palestinian prisoners and detainees, stressing the need for their release; they are soldiers in their
people’s struggle for freedom, independence and peace.

At the same time, the occupying Power continues to tighten the siege and impose severe
restrictions on movement, preventing the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from
implementing vital infrastructure projects and providing services to its citizens, who are also
being prevented from cultivating their land and deprived of water for irrigation. It is also
obstructing the establishment of agricultural, industrial, tourism and housing projects by the
private sector in vast areas of the Occupied Palestinian Authority, which are classified as areas
subject to the absolute control of the occupation, which encompasses approximately 60% of the
West Bank. The occupying Power continues to deliberately demolish what the PNA is building,
projects funded by donor brethren and friends, and destroying PNA projects involving the
building of roads, simple homes for its citizens and agricultural facilities. In fact, over the past
12 months, the Israeli occupying forces demolished 510 Palestinian structures in these areas and
displaced 770 Palestinians from their homes. These illegal measures have caused great damage
to our economy and impeded our development programs and private sector activity,
compounding the socio-economic difficulties being endured by our people under occupation, a
fact confirmed by international institutions.

Israel’s overall policy is ultimately leading to the weakening of the Palestinian National
Authority, undermining its ability to carry out its functions and to implement its obligations,
which threatens to undermine ks very existence and threatens its collapse.

All of this is taking place in the context of an Israeli political discourse that does not
hesitate to brandish aggressive, extremist positions, which in many aspects and its practical
application on the ground is inciting religious conflict. This is something we firmly reject based
on our principles and convictions and our understanding what it means to fuel such fires in this
very sensitive area full of explosive flashpoints and how it can fuel the action of extremists from
various quarters, especially those trying to use tolerant, monotheistic religions as an ideological
justification for their terrorism.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We, on our part, and as proof our seriousness and our sincere intention to create an
opening in this impasse, conducted exploratory talks with the Israeli Government at the
beginning of this year upon the initiative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. We have also
encouraged the expressed desires of several countries to contribute to efforts to break the cycle
of deadlock and have also ourselves undertaken initiatives to create favorable conditions for the
resumption of negotiations. Unfortunately, however, the result of all these initiatives has been
very negative.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

There can only be one understanding of the Israeli Government’s actions in our homeland
and of the positions it has presented to us regarding the substance of a permanent status
agreement to end the conflict and achieve peace. That one understanding leads to one
conclusion: that the Israeli Government rejects the two-State solution.

The two-State solution, i.e. the State of Palestine coexisting alongside the State of Israel,
represents the spirit and essence of the historic compromise embodied in the Oslo Declaration of
Principles, the agreement signed 19 years ago between the Palestine Liberation Organization
(PLO) and the Government of Israel under the auspices of the United States of America on the
White House Lawn, a compromise by which the Palestinian people accepted to establish their
State on only 22% of the territory of historic Palestine for the sake of making peace.

The recent years have actually witnessed the systematic acceleration and intensification
of Israeli measures aimed at emptying the Oslo Accords of their meaning, while simultaneously
building facts on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that are making the
implementation of the Accords extremely difficult if not completely impossible.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Israel aims to continue its occupation of East Jerusalem, to de facto annex large areas of
the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to continue occupying a large portion of the
Territory under different pretexts. It refuses to engage in any serious discussion of the issue of
the Palestine refugees. It wants to continue its occupation of Palestinian water basins and its
control over the most fertile agricultural areas in our land as well as over our air, skies and

The final map and borders that can be drawn in accordance with Israel’s official positions
reveal to us the following: small Palestinian enclaves surrounded by large Israeli settlement blocs
and walls, checkpoints and vast security zones and roads devoted to the settlers. Thus, the
enclaves would remain subject to the full dominance of military, colonial occupation, only
packaged under new names, such as the unilateral plan for a so-called State with provisional

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Israel refuses to end the occupation and refuses to allow the Palestinian people to attain
their rights and freedom and rejects the independence of the State of Palestine.
Israel is promising the Palestinian people a new catastrophe, a new Nakba.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I speak on behalf of an angry people, a people that feels that, at the same time that they
continue with their calls for their right to freedom and their adoption of a culture of peace and
adherence to the principles and rules of international law and resolutions of international
legitimacy, rewards continue to be illogically bestowed upon Israel, whose Government pursues
a policy of war, occupation and settlement colonization. And Israel continues to be permitted to
evade accountability and punishment and some continue to obstruct the undertaking of decisive
positions regarding its violations of international law and covenants. This, in fact, represents a
license for the occupation to continue its policy of dispossession and ethnic cleansing and
encourages it to entrench its system of apartheid against the Palestinian people.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite our real feelings of anger, we, in the name of the Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO), the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, reaffirm,
without hesitation, that we as committed to peace and international legitimacy and its covenants
and its resolutions as we are adherent to our inalienable national rights and aspirations, and we
reaffirm that we are committed to non-violence and reject terrorism in all its forms, particularly
State terrorism.

Despite our feelings of disappointment and loss of hope, we continue to sincerely extend
our hands to the Israeli people to make peace. We realize that ultimately the two peoples must
live and coexist, each in their respective State, in the Holy Land. Further, we realize that
progress towards making peace is through negotiations between the PLO and Israel.

Despite all the complexities of the prevailing reality and all the frustrations that abound,
we say before the international community: there is still a chance - maybe the last - to save the
two-State solution and to salvage peace.

However, this urgent task must be pursued via a new approach. Whoever rushes to
advise us to repeat an experience that has proven to be fruitless - negotiations with the Israeli
Government without clear terms of reference - must understand that this will result in
reproduction of failure and again provide a cover for entrenchment of the occupation and will
finish off an already-dying peace process. And, whoever who advises us to wait, must realize
that the festering situation in our country and our region has its own timing and can neither
withstand further procrastination and delay nor its placement at the bottom of the global agenda.

The approach required for saving the chance for peace must first and foremost be
predicated on the understanding that racial settler colonization must be condemned, punished and
boycotted in order for it to be completely halted. This approach also requires reaffirmation of
and adherence to the terms of reference and foundations of the solution to the conflict, which
have been endorsed by all of you.

The core components of a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict do not require
effort to discover, but rather what is needed is the will to implement them. And marathon
negotiations are not required to determine them, but rather what is needed is the sincere intention
reach peace. And those components are by no means a mysterious puzzle or intractable riddle,
but rather are the clearest and most logical in the world. This includes the realization of the
independence of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, over the entire territory
occupied by Israel since 1967, and the realization of a just, agreed solution to the Palestine
refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194 (III), as prescribed in the Arab Peace Initiative.

Indeed, the fundamental components of the solution to the conflict exist in the documents
and resolutions of the United Nations and in the resolutions of regional organizations, starting
from the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Non-
Aligned Movement (NAM) and the African Union (AU), as well as in the statements of the
European Union (EU) and the international Quartet.

The international community, embodied in the United Nations, is required now more than
ever to uphold its responsibilities. The Security Council is called upon to urgently adopt a
resolution comprising the basis and foundations for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
that would serve as a binding reference and guide for all if the vision of two-States, Israel and
Palestine, is to survive and if peace is to prevail in the land of peace, the birthplace of Jesus
(peace be upon him), and ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the
final resting place of Abraham (peace be upon him), the land of the three monotheistic religions.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The independence and freedom of the State of Palestine is above all and ultimately a
sacred right of the Palestinian people and an entitlement that must be realized for it has been long
overdue for too many decades.

At the same time, the Palestinian National Authority has affirmed, through
implementation of its State institution-building program, the ability to create an advanced model
for an effective, modem State through the development of the performance of its institutions,
public finance management through the adoption of transparency, accountability and rules of
good governance. These achievements have been considered by the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee
(AHLC), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to constitute an impressive
undertaking and success story, one that was again commended in the latest report just a few days
ago, confirming full Palestinian readiness for the transition to an independent State, while at the
same time stressing that the Israeli occupation remains the only obstacle to the realization of the
State of Palestine.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

When, a year ago during the previous session of the General Assembly, we submitted our
application for consideration by the Security Council to allow the State of Palestine to assume its
rightful place among the nations of the world as a full member in the United Nations, a major
and hostile uproar was raised by some against this political, diplomatic, peaceful step aimed at
saving the peace process by asserting its basis and foundation. However, our endeavor was
aborted, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the countries of the world supported,
and continues to support, our application.

Yet, last autumn, when the countries of the world had the opportunity to declare their
stance without any restrictions or "veto", they voted, despite enormous pressures, in strong
support of the acceptance of Palestine as a Member State of the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). A year has passed and Palestine, the homeland
of Mahmoud Darwish and Edward Said, is playing its role in UNESCO with high responsibility
and professionalism, and is committed to international conventions, cooperating with all Member
States in order to advance the objectives of the organization, and providing a model of what its
positive, constructive contribution in international organizations would be.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

In order to enhance the chances for peace, we will continue our efforts to obtain full
membership for Palestine at the United Nations. And, for the same purpose, we have begun
intensive consultations with various regional organizations and Member States aimed at having
the General Assembly adopt a resolution considering the State of Palestine as a non-Member
State of the United Nations during this session. We are confident that the vast majority of the
countries of the world support our endeavor aimed at salvaging the chances for a just peace.

In our endeavor, we do not seek to delegitimize an existing State - that is Israel; but rather
to assert the State that must be realized - that is Palestine.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

More than 64 years have passed since A1-Nakba and a large portion of those who were its
direct victims and witnessed its horrors have died with their memories preserved in their minds
and hearts about their beautiful world that was devastated, their warm homes that were
demolished, and their peaceful villages that were erased from existence, and about their
renaissance that was undermined, and their loved ones, dear men, women and children, who
were killed in wars, massacres, attacks, raids and incursions, and about their beautiful country
that was a beacon of coexistence, tolerance, progress and a crossroads of civilization. They died
in the camps of displacement and refuge to which they were expelled following their uprooting
fi’om their homeland as they awaited the moment in which thcy would resume their suspended
lives and complete their journey that was interrupted and repair their shattered dreams. They
died while they clung to their legitimate human right to justice and freedom and to redress for the
historic unprecedented injustice inflicted upon them.

At present, 77% of the Palestinian people are under the age of 35 years. Although they
did not experience the horrors of A1-Nakba, they know very well the details of its horrendous
facts from the accounts told to them by their parents and grandparents who endured it. And, they
are suffering its ongoing effects until today and every day as a result of the practices of the
occupation and the settlers on a land that is diminishing and a horizon before them that is
blocked against their simple, ordinary dreams. They see their homeland and, their present and
future vulnerable to continued usurpation and they say firmly: we will not allow a new Nakba to

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I say to you that the brave Palestinian people will not allow themselves to be the victim
of a new Nakba. My people will continue their epic steadfastness and eternal survival in their
beloved land, every inch of which carries the evidence and landmarks affirming their roots and
unique connection throughout ancient history. There is no homeland for us except Palestine, and
there is no land for us but Palestine. Our people will continue to build the institutions of their
State and will continue to strive to achieve national reconciliation to restore the unity of our
nation, people and institutions via resorting to the ballot boxes, which will confirm our people’s
pluralistic democratic choice. Our people are also determined to continue peaceful popular
resistance, consistent with international humanitarian law, against the occupation and the
settlements and for the sake of freedom, independence and peace.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Prevent the occurrence of a new Nakba in the Holy Land.
Support the realization of a free, independent State of Palestine now.
Let peace be victorious before it is too late.