Support Palestinians' rights to self-determination, statehood

Israel Materials 24 November 2008 21:15 (UTC +04:00)

The Palestinian people's rights to self- determination and statehood should be supported after 60 years of deprivation, United Nations officials said Monday, dpa reported.

While the UN advocates for Palestinians' rights, it also defends Israeli's rights to live in security within their borders.

The UN on Monday marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, an occasion to reiterate calls for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Negotiators at last year's meetings in Annapolis, under the sponsorship of the White House, had hoped for a peace agreement by the end of December.

"I regret that this goal appears unlikely to be achieved," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said. "My biggest concern in the immediate period ahead is the situation on the ground."

While Palestinian authorities have achieved progress in security and institution-building in the West Bank, Ban said the situation in the Gaza Strip remains a major concern.

"I call for immediate measures to ease the near-blanket closure of Gaza, which leads to worrying deprivations of basic supplies and human dignity," Ban said. "I unreservedly condemn rocket fire."

He said Palestinians have gone into an "ever-deepening divide," urging both Hamas and all Palestinian factions to urgently work to reunify Gaza and the West Bank.

UN General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto said the fact that Palestinians still had no statehood represents the "single greatest failure" of the UN.

"It has been 60 years since some 800,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes ... becoming refugees and an uprooted and marginalized people," d'Escoto said.

He also called for an end to the "blockade" of Gaza.

"The international community should spare no effort in assisting both Israel and Palestinians to reach a solution that will fulfill the goal of two states - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace and security," he said.