The State of Qatar, on behalf of the Group of Arab States to the United Nations, has affirmed the adherence of the Arab position to peace as a strategic option, calling for the settlement of the Palestinian issue on the basis of a two-state solution that leads to the establishment of a Palestinian State on the borders of July 4, 1967.

It also expressed support for Palestine's full membership of the United Nations.

This came in a statement by HE Ambassador Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif al-Thani, Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, who chaired the Arab Group for this month to the UN Security Council, which held a virtual meeting on "the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian issue".

She stated that this meeting is being held in an unprecedented format that reflects the big changes due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), which represents a threat to the whole world, including the Middle East region.

She pointed out that Israel, the occupying power, is exploiting the world's preoccupation with confronting the global pandemic to move forward in its policies and plans to annex parts of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, accelerating the pace of Israeli colonial settlement there and violating the rights of the Palestinian people.

On behalf of the Arab Group, she called on the international community and the United Nations, including the Security Council, to assume their responsibilities to ensure the implementation of international law and international legitimacy decisions in the occupied Palestinian territories and prevent the Israeli occupation government from using this pandemic that threatens the entire world and humanity to implement its illegal policies in the land of the State of Palestine occupied in 1967.

She added that all understand that moving forward with these annexation schemes has serious implications for security, peace and stability in the region and the world, and that there is no alternative to settling this issue just, comprehensive and sustainable in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter, international law and international references for the peace process.

She reaffirmed that the Palestinian issue lies at the core of the Security Council's mandate to maintain international peace and security under the Charter of the United Nations, and it is necessary to implement the numerous Council resolutions related to the Palestinian issue.

It also reiterated the firm Arab position that adheres to peace as a strategic option, and calls for the settlement of the Palestinian issue on the basis of a two-state solution that leads to the establishment of the Palestinian State on the borders of June 4, 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, and agreement on final status issues that include borders, refugees, and Jerusalem.

She called for the continuation of international efforts to re-launch serious and effective negotiations within a specific timetable with a view to reaching a settlement in accordance with the terms of reference of the peace process, the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative, put forward by the Arab states in 2002 and still reaffirm their commitment to them.

"The success of efforts aimed at achieving this goal and reviving the peace process requires that it conform to the principles of international law and international terms of reference for the peace process," she added.

HE Sheikha Alya added: "Adherence to international law and the Charter of the United Nations means rejecting and condemning all actions and measures that it violates by Israel, the occupying power, foremost of which is the continued occupation of Arab lands, illegal settlement activities in the occupied territories, and attempts to illegally annex the lands.

"And attempts to change the character of the city of Jerusalem, its legal status, its demographic composition, or prejudice the Islamic and Christian religious sanctities in it, and the siege of the Gaza Strip."

She said that these measures, apart from being a blatant violation of international law and international legitimacy resolutions, undermine peace chances and hinder chances of a two-state solution.

She warned against its continuation, saying "its continuation indicates Israel's intransigence, its defiance of international law and Security Council resolutions, and its lack of seriousness in seeking peace."

HE Ambassador Sheikha Alya praised the role played by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in providing basic services for more than 5mn Palestinians, which is an indispensable role, stressing the need to support the agency to ensure the continuation of its activities in accordance with the mandate given to it.

Concluding the statement, she affirmed her support for the endeavour of the State of Palestine to obtain full membership in the United Nations Organisation.

She also reiterated the solidarity of all Arab countries with the State of Palestine and the brotherly Palestinian people in their legitimate endeavor to end the historical injustice that he had been subjected to for many years, to put an end to their long-standing suffering, and to attain all their inalienable rights.