Welcome to the United Nations

DiCarlo: "Palestinians deserve a life of justice and dignity and the realization of their right to self-determination and independence."

Statement by Ms. Rosemary DiCarlo,

Under-Secretary General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs

High-Level Special Meeting on the 75th Commemoration of the Nakba  

New York, 15 May 2023 


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Your Excellency, President Abbas, thank you for your presence here today, honouring this date important to Palestinians all around the world.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On 30 November of last year, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution, calling for the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Nakba. The legacy of that event lives on, spurring us to continue our unflagging efforts to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

These efforts have been central to the work of the United Nations since its earliest days. On this day of commemoration, I address you with deep concern, as we see the prospects for restarting a political process towards a two-State solution based on UN resolutions, international law, and previous agreements, continue to diminish.

Across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the rapid expansion of settlements – illegal under international law – is dramatically altering the land envisioned for a future Palestinian State.

Violence, including settler-related violence, remains pervasive; while evictions, demolitions and seizures of Palestinian-owned property continue unabated.

Such actions undermine the prospects for the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian State.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, last year saw the highest number of Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank since OCHA started recording data on casualties in 2005.  Last year also saw the highest number of Israeli civilians killed since 2015. This year is on track to match, or even surpass, that sobering record.

Over the past weeks, incidents of violence taking place inside or near al-Aqsa Mosque were deeply concerning. We reiterate our calls for respect of the historic status quo at the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, in line with the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

In Gaza, despite some steps to improve movement and access, debilitating closures and the militant build-up continue to exacerbate the humanitarian situation. Recurrent violent escalations between Israel and armed factions – including the launching of indiscriminate rockets towards Israel – continue to take a staggering toll on civilians.

Only last week, in yet another dangerous escalation in Gaza, Israeli airstrikes led to the loss of 33 Palestinian lives, including women and children. One Israeli civilian, a woman, was also killed by Palestinian rocket fire.

I echo the Secretary-General’s words in his 14 May statement, welcoming the ceasefire and calling on all sides to observe it.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has led to the world’s longest refugee crisis, prompting the creation of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

UNRWA continues to deliver vital services to some six million Palestine refugees in the Middle East. UNRWA’s work is crucial to maintaining stability throughout the region. We appeal to Member States to ensure sufficient and predictable funding for the Agency as it struggles with an unprecedented financial crisis.


The question of Palestine is intimately linked to the history and to the Charter of the United Nations. Respect for international law and human rights, self-determination and peaceful resolution of conflicts constitute the raison d’être of our Organization. Palestinians deserve a life of justice and dignity and the realization of their right to self-determination and independence.

The UN position is clear. The occupation must end. A two-State solution that will bring lasting peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike must be achieved in line with international law, UN resolutions and previous agreements. We want to see an independent State of Palestine living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security, with Jerusalem as the capital of both States.

On this occasion, we reaffirm the UN commitment to supporting the Palestinian people achieve their inalienable rights and self-determination, as well as to advancing a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.  

Thank you.