Political Declaration of the Ministerial Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement on Palestine

The Ministers of the Ministerial Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on Palestine, met on 20 July 2019, in Caracas, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in the framework of the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau of the Movement, taking into account the prevailing need to address the decisive developments on the international scene and the continuing deterioration of the situation on the ground, which are dangerously undermining the inalienable rights and legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people and expectations for the achievement of a peaceful and just solution to the Palestinian question.

The Ministers, from the outset, declared their firm commitment to the principles and positions concerning the question of Palestine adopted in previous Statements of the Committee, including the recent Ministerial Statements adopted on 5 April 2018 in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan, in the framework of the XVIII Ministerial Meeting of the Movement for the midterm and 26 September 2018, in the framework of the High-level Segment of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York, which, among other things, denounced the challenging decision taken by the United States Government on 6 December 2017 with regard to Jerusalem, which violates international law and relevant United Nations resolutions. They also recalled the positions declared at previous ministerial meetings and summits of the Movement concerning the question of Palestine, and reaffirmed their continued solidarity with the Palestinian people and unwavering support for their just cause.

The Ministers emphasized that a just and lasting solution to the question of Palestine in all its aspects must remain a priority on the Movement’s agenda. The Ministers therefore called on the members of the Movement to renew their commitment and to strengthen and further coordinate their efforts to promote the realization of justice and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, such as self-determination and independence. In this regard, the Ministers emphasized the importance and need for action, in view of the sensitive situation of their plight and the extreme challenges they have faced during more than 52 years of illegal Israeli foreign occupation of Palestine and more than 71 years since the tragic Nakba of the Palestinian people in May 1948.

The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of supporting the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to independent and sovereign statehood, in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, in order to fulfil historic international responsibilities and commitments with regard to the question of Palestine and to preserve the rights-based international system and the rules-based international order, which are being threatened by serious difficulties and attempts to undermine them.

The Ministers, in solidarity, reaffirmed their support for the initiatives of the State of Palestine in the United Nations, including the resolutions on the Question of Palestine presented annually in the various Committees of the United Nations General Assembly, and to act immediately in the coordination of positions in order to foster and mobilize support for Member States. In this regard, they welcomed the assumption by the State of Palestine of the chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China by 2019 and reaffirmed their support for this important initiative.

The Ministers also stressed the importance of unity and support for the Member States of the NAM Caucus in the Security Council. They reiterated their peace proposal submitted by His Excellency Mr. Mahmoud Abbas to the Security Council on 20 February 2018, and requested support for his call for an international peace conference based on the parameters and long-standing terms of the peace process, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, and called for active efforts and coordinated efforts to promote this initiative.

The Ministers stressed the urgent need for mobilization and efforts to alleviate the hardships endured by the Palestinian people, to put an end to the grave violations of international law perpetrated by Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to promote a just and peaceful solution to the Question of Palestine on the relevant United Nations resolutions. They expressed deep concern that the lack of accountability for violations has further increased Israel’s impunity, destabilizing the situation on the ground and reducing the prospects for peace. They also deplored any support for or cooperation with Israel’s illegal actions and impunity.

The Ministers called with well-established multilateral efforts aimed at achieving, without delay, an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and reaching a comprehensive, just, lasting and peaceful solution based on the relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, such as the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Quartet Road Map, stressing that a peaceful solution to the question of Palestine is fundamental to establishing peace and stability in the Middle East and in the world.

The Ministers reaffirmed their readiness to contribute to the achievement of a just and peaceful settlement, and called for intensified international and regional efforts to achieve this goal, as required by Security Council resolution 2334 (2016). They recalled, in particular, the responsibilities of the Security Council and the General Assembly, in accordance with the Charter and relevant resolutions.

The Ministers urgently called for political, economic and humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people and to support their efforts to realize their inalienable rights, such as self-determination and freedom in their independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders and a just solution for the Palestinian refugees, based on General Assembly resolution 194 (III), and to achieve genuine peace, security and coexistence. They reaffirmed their long-standing commitment and determination to ensure support in this regard.

The Ministers reaffirmed their deep concern at the ongoing deterioration of the situation and stressed the need for urgent action to mobilize the international community, including the Security Council, in accordance with the obligations expressed in its Charter, to compel Israel, the occupying Power, to cease completely all illegal settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and East Jerusalem, the acts of violence, provocation and incitement, including in Al-Haram Al-Sharif, the blockade of the Gaza Strip for more than a decade, the arrest and abuse of Palestinian prisoners, measures of collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population and all other illegal practices and human rights violations.

The Ministers expressed deep concern about the impact of the continued absence of a credible political horizon to justly resolve the conflict and realize the rights of the Palestinian people. They deeply deplored Israel’s continued intransigence, the obstruction of peace efforts and the entrenchment of its military occupation for more than fifty-two years, through various illegal plans and measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and East Jerusalem, the territory constituting the State of Palestine, and expressed their grave concern at the resulting human rights crisis and the protection crisis deliberately inflicted on the Palestinian people, the growing insecurity and the humanitarian and socio-economic suffering, especially in Gaza, where conditions are extremely grave.

The Ministers strongly condemned Israel’s military attacks against the civilian population in the besieged Gaza Strip, in grave violation of international law and international humanitarian law, human rights law and relevant provisions on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. The Ministers condemned the crimes committed by the occupying Power against innocent Palestinian civilians during the “Great March of Return”, a protest against Israel’s illegal occupation, oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people and called for the lifting of the Israeli blockade to ensure the exercise of the Palestinian right of return. They deplored the killing by the Israeli occupying forces of more than 300 Palestinians, including children, more than 30,000 injured, many seriously and permanently disabled, and more than 120 amputations.

The Ministers deeply regretted the continued lack of protection of the Palestinian people in accordance with international humanitarian law and relevant United Nations resolutions, including General Assembly resolution ES-10/20, and taking due account of the proposals made by the Secretary-General in his recent report (A/ES-10/794) to provide international protection, as well as the important recommendations made by the International Independent Investigation Commission of the Human Rights Council in the report on the protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (A/HRC/40/74). They reiterated their call for protection to deter violence against civilians and ensure the safety, well-being and protection of the Palestinian civilian population, and pledged to support Palestine in all its efforts to follow up on these important reports.

The Ministers called upon States individually and collectively, by all political, diplomatic and legal means, to make urgent efforts to hold Israel, the occupying Power, accountable for all of its violations against the Occupied Palestinian Territory and East Jerusalem, including illegal colonization measures and grave human rights violations. They stressed the need to draw attention to the consequences of Israel’s continued violations and the blatant disregard by the Security Council and the General Assembly of the relevant resolutions. The Member States of the Committee that are Parties to the Rome Statute also affirmed the importance of the International Criminal Court (ICC) addressing the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, and stressed the importance of applying justice to put an end to these crimes and impunity.

The Ministers reiterated their call for those countries that have not recognized the State of Palestine to do so immediately, as an expression of their sincere commitment to peace based on the two-State solution and their respect for international law and legality. They expressed their support for the efforts made by the State of Palestine to publicize this fact and stressed the importance of their achieving greater recognition in the current period, to contribute to the preservation of the two-State solution on the pre-1967 borders and to the restoration of the prospects for peace.

The Ministers called on countries that have recognized the State of Palestine to publicly reaffirm that East Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Palestine and on States to clarify faith explicitly that their recognition of diplomatic relations with Israel is also based on the pre-1967 borders and that no Israeli sovereignty over the 1967 line (1949 Armistice Line) is recognized as well as in East Jerusalem. They stressed that this action would also be in line with their obligations under resolution 2334 (2016), in particular operative paragraphs 3 and 5 concerning the non-recognition of any changes to the 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem. In this regard, they called upon States to make such a distinction in their relations with Israel, the occupying Power. They urged that serious steps be taken, individually and collectively, to respect and fulfil this obligation.

The Ministers recalled the Communiqué issued on 6 December 2017 by the Coordinating Bureau of the Movement in which they strongly denounced the provocative and unilateral decision of the United States Government on Jerusalem and the official transfer of the Embassy of the United States of Israel to the city of Jerusalem on 14 May 2018, as a violation of international law, relevant United Nations resolutions and the prohibition of the Charter on the acquisition of territory by force. They denounced similar decisions taken by other States and called for an end to such illegal and provocative actions and for respect for the Charter and relevant United Nations resolutions.

In this regard, the Ministers also recalled the adoption of General Assembly resolution ES-10/19 on 21 December 2017, which reaffirmed the relevant resolutions, reiterated the call upon all States to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem, in accordance with Security Council resolution 478 (1980), and stressed that the problem of Jerusalem is the determination of the final status to be resolved through negotiations in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions. The Ministers also recognized and welcomed the decision of the Government of Paraguay to revoke its decision to relocate its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Ministers expressed their deep anguish as such decisions and actions by the United States to encourage Israel to continue to pursue its illegal policies and practices and subsequently consolidate its de facto illegal control and annexation to the city. On the other hand, the Ministers categorically denounced that such actions will have far-reaching, negative and destabilizing repercussions. In this regard, the Ministers strongly deplored the continued colonization activities, in all their manifestations, including announcements and decisions to intensify the expansion and construction of settlements and the expansion and construction of settlements and the Wall, the forced displacement of thousands of Palestinians, including Bedouin families, particularly in the areas of Occupied East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, including in the sensitive area known as “E-1”; the confiscation of large tracts of Palestinian land, the exploitation and theft of natural resources, the destruction of hundreds of other Palestinian homes and properties, and the revocation of Palestinian residence in Occupied East Jerusalem.

The Ministers deplored and called for an end to violations, provocations and instigations by Israeli officials and extremists regarding AL-Haram Al-Sharif. They urged respect for the historic status quo of the holy site and the historic custody of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for the Christian and Muslim holy sites in the city and for the protection of the sanctity of those sites.

The Ministers condemned Israel’s plans for illegal annexation. They called on states to reject such provocative statements and demanded vigorous action to uphold international law, protect the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and regain opportunities for just peace. They stressed the urgent need to fully implement relevant solutions, such as accountability for all violations committed by the occupying Power. Ministers condemned and rejected the adoption of the so-called “State of Nation and Law” by the occupying Power, which is explicitly related to apartheid and ethnic discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, but also seeks to intensify the colonization of Israel, the segregation and discrimination of the regime in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and East Jerusalem.

The Ministers reiterated the urgency of supporting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), following the punitive and unjustified decision by the United States Government to end its funding and its ongoing negative campaign against the Agency. They denounced this decision, which not only targets the most vulnerable segment of the Palestinian people by undermining the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance to more than 5.4 million refugees, but also threatens the stability of the entire region. They called on all States to provide greater support for the mission and work of the UNRWA Agency and its renewal through the General Assembly this year. They also called for increased funding for the Agency to ensure uninterrupted assistance to Palestine refugees in all areas of operation and to ensure a dignified life for them and their families, pending a just solution to their plight, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 194 (III), the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant General Assembly resolutions. They reaffirmed that UNRWA assistance is crucial for the protection, welfare and social resilience of refugees and for the stability of those communities and host countries, which is equally essential for preserving the prospects for peace and fostering its realization.

The Ministers reiterated their appreciation for the support provided by several NAM Member States in support of UNRWA, and urged continued support, to the extent possible, for these efforts, the Agency in view of the serious funding crisis that continues to afflict UNRWA and the urgent appeals made by the Commissioner-General at the Pledging Conference held on 25 June 2019. They stressed that such mobilization is a critical component of efforts to provide the Palestinian people with the humanitarian, socio-economic and development assistance necessary to alleviate the grave humanitarian situation they continue to suffer under Israeli occupation, particularly in the Gaza Strip, and to strengthen their national capacity.

The Ministers called for continued assistance for Palestinian economic recovery and development, including the strengthening of State institutions and infrastructure, in line with the national priorities and development plans of the Palestinian people. They called on Israel to cease its obstructive and illegal practices that harm Palestinian recovery and socio-economic development and called in particular for the immediate lifting of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and an end to the punitive withholding of Palestinian tax revenues. They pledged to support efforts to address the Palestinian economic crisis and called on members of the Movement to do their utmost to provide assistance. They commended the numerous humanitarian and development support initiatives of Members in this regard, and urged their continued generosity, including within the framework of South-South cooperation.

The Ministers expressed their appreciation for the personal and unconditional commitment of His Excellency Mr. Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, in his capacity as Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), to support and promote the positions of the Movement with regard to Palestine.

The Ministers called for redoubled international efforts, at the governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental levels, to achieve these noble objectives as quickly as possible, stressing that a peaceful solution to the question of Palestine is fundamental to establishing peace and stability in the Middle East. They called for the follow-up and implementation of all measures proposed in previous ministerial declarations, ministerial meetings and summits of the Movement regarding the question of Palestine, with a view to countering the recent negative and dangerous developments, enhancing solidarity with the Palestinian people and their leadership at this critical moment, and regaining the prospects for a just and peaceful solution.

The Ministers pledged to remain in constant contact and coordination to defend the principles and positions declared herein in support of a just, lasting, comprehensive and peaceful solution to the question of Palestine and its achievement without delay and in solidarity with the Palestinian people at this critical moment.

Caracas, July 20, 2019