8214th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Middle East

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26-Mar-2018 00:58:04
Settlement expansion, Jerusalem embassy decision eroding prospects for peace in Middle East, Special Coordinator tells Security Council at 8124th meeting.

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Developments on the ground could not be divorced from a backdrop of continued military occupation, regional turmoil and unilateral actions, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process told the Security Council today, expressing concern about actions that undermined peace.

Presenting the fifth report on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016), Nickolay Mladenov said the reporting period had been characterized by a “persistent problem of violence”, pointing to clashes after the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as well as growing tensions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and along the Gaza fence.

Moreover, Israel’s settlement expansion continued to further threaten the viability of the two‑State solution and eroded prospects for peace, he said, adding that that country’s decision to establish a new settlement for the second time since the adoption of resolution 2334 (2016) was particularly troubling.

At the same time, provocative and inflammatory rhetoric on both sides was fuelling an already tense environment, he said, highlighting social media posts by Fatah that glorified perpetrators of past violence against Israeli civilians, as well as statements made by Israeli officials that encouraged the annexation of the occupied West Bank and categorically rejected the two‑State solution.

Sounding the alarm on a $446 million funding gap, he urged Member States to provide additional funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which provided basic services to Palestine refugees, including schooling for half a million children.

The representative of Kuwait said the main reason for the humanitarian tragedy faced by Palestinians was Israel’s failure to shoulder its responsibilities, and its disregard for Council resolutions. He condemned unilateral measures which sought to create a new status quo and warned that reduced funding for UNRWA would lead to an acute humanitarian crisis.

Indeed, the situation on the ground was discouraging, said the representative of Bolivia. Israeli settlement activity on the West Bank and in Jerusalem could constitute war crimes as well as a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The humanitarian situation in Gaza was alarming, he added, calling on Member States to continue their support to UNRWA.

Focusing on the road ahead, the representative of the United Kingdom said she supported peace efforts by the United States and looked forward to a plan being presented at the earliest opportunity. Echoing that sentiment, Equatorial Guinea’s delegate said that his Government hoped that the United States initiative would lead to a tangible peace plan that would be acceptable to all.

During the meeting, several Member States, including the United States, Kuwait and the United Kingdom, condemned the recent missile attack on cities in Saudi Arabia by Yemeni Houthis as a violation of international law.

Also speaking today were representatives of Côte d'Ivoire and China.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 11:02 a.m.
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