8358th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Middle East, Including Palestinian Question

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20-Sep-2018 01:54:05
Two-state solution in jeopardy amid escalating violence, settlement‑building, Special Coordinator for Middle East warns Security Council at 8358th meeting.

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Warning that current trends are jeopardizing the possibility of a two-State solution for Israelis and Palestinians, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process told the Security Council today that the international community must step in to change this grave trajectory.

Currently, negative developments outweigh positive news, Nickoloy Mladenov said, presenting the seventh report on resolution 2334 (2016), covering the period of 13 June to 12 September. During the reporting period, violence escalated, settlement activities accelerated and sharp rhetoric was inciting further clashes. Meanwhile, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was running out of funds, casualties from clashes were on the rise and the humanitarian conditions in Gaza were worsening.

“There has been no positive movement by the parties to take steps to reverse negative trends on the ground,” he said, calling on the international community to join the United Nations in condemning violence and incitement. “Twenty-five years have now passed since the signing of the Oslo Accords. It was a historic moment that captured the world’s attention and filled Palestinians, Israelis and the region with hope that a genuine peace could be realized. Sadly, that courageous vision of a lasting peace now lies in tatters.”

Hope must be restored, he said, urging both sides to engage with each other and with the international community to preserve and advance the achievement of a two-State solution. “The alternative is perpetual cycles of violence,” he said. “We must overcome the current impasses and refocus our efforts on ultimately returning to meaningful negotiations to end the occupation and bring a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Delegates, including Ethiopia’s representative, overwhelmingly called for both parties to cease hostilities, return to peace talks and refrain from exacerbating the deteriorating situation. The speaker for the Russian Federation called for international cooperation on the Palestinian question to be rekindled in the spirit of United States-Russian Federation cooperation and the Madrid process, as well as a relaunch of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.

Many speakers condemned Israel’s expanded settlement activities. The representative of the Netherlands pointed to the planned eviction and demolition of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, calling on Israel to reconsider those actions — which, if carried out, will have serious consequences for both the villages’ residents and for the two-State solution itself.

Concerns were also raised about worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza. With the area on the verge of an abyss, France’s delegate said the Council’s incomprehensible silence is getting deafening by the day. He called on the United States to maintain its commitment to Palestinians as part of an international mobilization to support UNRWA, while Sweden’s representative expressed deep regret over the United States’ decision to halt funding for UNRWA despite that body’s critical role on the ground, contributing to a serious $186 million shortfall. Some delegates, including representatives of Peru, China and Bolivia, called for augmented funding for UNRWA to help to address the population’s many needs.

Kuwait’s representative said Palestinian suffering must awaken the consciousness of the international community to end the injustice. The Palestinian question is the top priority of every Muslim and every Arab, he added.

Also delivering statements were representatives of the United Kingdom, Poland, Côte d’Ivoire, Kazakhstan, Equatorial Guinea and the United States.

The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 5 p.m.
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