Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at the 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question


The current escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict began 7 months ago. We will not dwell in detail on its monstrous effects. Let us only say that during that time, more than 35,000 people, many of them women and children, have died in Gaza alone as a result of the Israeli military operation. Another 80,000 civilians have been injured. This horrific statistic knows no parallels in modern history.

If Israel proceeds with its plans to storm Rafah, where more than 1.5 million people have fled to from all across the Gaza Strip, a disaster will be inevitable.

The civilian infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, has also been destroyed almost completely.

This meeting provides an opportunity for all of us to see that the vast majority of the international community share these assessments of the catastrophic situation in Gaza.


The current tragic situation on the ground confirms the position of my country and the overwhelming majority of the international community that, along with efforts to end hostilities, we must remain mindful of the need to create conditions for the establishment of direct dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis on the entire range of final status issues. This process should result in the implementation of the internationally recognized two-state solution providing for Israel coexisting in peace and security with Palestine in the 1967 borders and with the capital in East Jerusalem. For this dialogue to succeed, Israel and Palestine must be on an equal footing in accordance with the decisions of the UN Security Council.

It is our common duty to correct the historical injustice regarding Palestinian aspirations for their own sovereign unified state, which should have been admitted to the United Nations as early as 1948. We are convinced that Palestine’s full UN membership would help to equalize the starting negotiating positions with Israel, which received is status as a UN member state more than 75 years ago. Admission of the State of Palestine to the UN would be the first practical step towards a just solution of the Palestinian question on the UN-approved platform and within the universally recognized international legal framework. This was the aim of the draft UNSC resolution introduced by Algeria. However, on April 18, the world witnessed another, fifth veto by the United States, which blocked the Palestinian bid for UN membership. The current round of violence in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone shows the consequences of attempts to monopolize mediator functions and the desire of one country to assume the role of a “world policeman”.


After the United States blocked the work of the Security Council on the Palestinian-Israeli file in general and on the admission of Palestine to full UN membership in particular, an extremely unsightly and non-standard situation has evolved. Such a situation requires non-standard solutions. That is why a rather non-standard draft resolution was put to a vote today. Many of its elements have been submitted to the General Assembly for the first time and would have required more detailed scrutiny in any other case. However, they concern the granting of additional rights not to some “aspirant” but to Palestine, which, because of the US position, still has to get by with the status of a permanent observer to the UN. When this draft resolution is adopted, Palestine will still remain an observer, but it will receive a number of additional opportunities for more effective work in the United Nations General Assembly and at the meetings held under UNGA’s auspices. We see this as an opportunity to at least partially correct the historical injustice against the long-suffering Palestinian people, who have lost an unprecedented number of peaceful lives over the past seven months. The consequences of the US-backed actions of Israel will stay for many years, and the Palestinians will need the maximum engagement of the UN's specialized bodies in order to overcome them. The draft resolution in front of us today seeks to help them do so as much as possible.

The draft is not ideal. In particular, we believe it would not be out of place if it mentioned the United States and the occupying power too. However, I would like to emphasize that this decision is exceptional and, as stipulated in its text, does not set a precedent. We will vote in support of this draft resolution as a tribute to the memory of the Palestinian civilians who lost their lives because of the inability of the international community represented by the UN to stop the bloodshed and who did not live to see Palestine become a full member of this Organization. We call on all those who care about them and their struggle for their rights to do the same.

However, it is crucial to realize that the adoption of this resolution is not a substitute for the main task, which still needs to be accomplished in the very near future. Palestine must become a full member of the UN. We believe that the most important element of this draft is contained in its recommendation to the UN Security Council to reconsider Palestine's application for UN membership. It is a moral obligation for all of us. Only full membership will allow Palestine to join the ranks of other members of the Organization and fully exercise the rights that this status implies. There is still a long way to go, as stipulated in the UN Charter. Today, the United States will have a good opportunity to see where the international community stands on the issue of Palestine. So we hope that next time the US will not block the UN Security Council from making a positive decision on this issue, and that the General Assembly will soon consider, upon a recommendation from UNSC, a draft resolution on Palestine's admission to the UN family. The Palestinian people have long deserved it.

Thank you.

Video of the statement