8583rd Security Council Meeting: Situation in Middle East Part 3

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23-Jul-2019 02:28:40
Israeli-Palestinian conflict ‘locked in a dangerous paralysis’, Under-Secretary-General warns Security Council, urging political will, leadership to change course at 8583rd meeting.

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Tangible steps are urgently needed to reverse a negative trajectory in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs told the Security Council today, urging Member States to do all they can to create the circumstances for advancing peace.

Opening the Council’s quarterly open debate on the situation in the Middle East, in which 47 speakers participated, Rosemary DiCarlo said the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict remains “locked in a dangerous paralysis that is fuelling extremism and exacerbating tensions”. There is a growing risk of more unilateral actions and the loss of hope that peace can be achieved through negotiations.

However, she said, such an outcome is not inevitable if there is leadership, political will and determination to make progress. “We must work together to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table in order to resolve the conflict on the basis of international law, relevant United Nations resolutions and previous agreements,” she said.

The Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, said that, after more than 52 years, it is “past high time” to redress a colonial foreign occupation that is rapidly mutating into apartheid. Like many speakers, he put a spotlight on the 22 July demolition of 10 residential buildings in Wadi al-Hummus, a neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, saying it not only constituted a gross violation of the fourth Geneva Convention and the 2004 International Court of Justice advisory opinion, but also a war crime under the Rome Statute.

The representative of Israel focused his remarks on Iran, saying Tehran’s regime is financing terrorism and bolstering its proxies to commit vicious crimes while also pursuing nuclear weapons with the sole goal of destroying Israel. “We have a duty to preserve the forces of order by confronting the forces of chaos,” he said, adding that, in Lebanon, Hizbullah — with inspiration, funding and weapons provided by Iran — has further entrenched itself in the fight against Israel.

The representative of the United States said that, pending the release of President Donald J. Trump’s long-awaited blueprint for peace, it is time to put tired rhetoric aside. There is no international consensus and those who keep calling for it are doing nothing to encourage the parties to negotiate and make hard compromises. His country’s vision for peace will not be ambiguous, he said, but it will contain sufficient detail so that people can see what compromises will be necessary. “I ask all of you to reserve judgment until we publish, and you read, the 60 or so pages that detail what peace could look like,” he added.

His counterpart from the Russian Federation said tensions in the Gulf could further destabilize the region, creating the risk of an armed confrontation. Urging an end to abandon sanctions and threats, he recommended sending a Council mission to the region to help create conditions for a viable settlement. He also rejected the monopolization of political and diplomatic efforts, saying unilateral measures cannot supplant previously agreed‑upon positions.

Lebanon’s delegate said that, if her Israeli counterpart meant to prepare the ground for an attack of her country’s civilian port, airport and infrastructure with his remarks, then the Council should uphold its responsibility to prevent Israel from launching another war on her nation. “The last thing the region needs is another war,” she said, adding that Israel is carrying out daily violations of Lebanese territory by land, air and sea.

Syria’s representative called the Israeli occupation the greatest challenge to international law and the Charter of the United Nations, yet it appeared that some would rather discuss issues, such as Iran, that have nothing to do with overcoming that situation. He went on to express regret that the Under-Secretary-General did not refer to the Syrian Golan in her statement, including Israel’s plan to create a settlement there called “Trump Heights”.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union, the representative of Croatia said the bloc’s position — based on international law and relevant Council resolutions — remains unchanged. Calling direct negotiations an important way to resolve all permanent status issues, he said the Union stands ready to work with the United States and other Quartet partners, as well as partners in the region, in carrying out economic projects that would contribute to the two-State solution.

The Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States said it is clear Israel, in continuing its illegal occupation, is attempting to frame the situation as a political conflict. “Israel and the United States have failed in their attempt to change the status quo of Jerusalem,” he added. The final resolution must be the fruit of direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. Describing the Iranian threat in the Arab world as a clear and pressing one, he said that the Council must hold Tehran to account.

Iran’s delegate said the Council’s inability to end the occupation is due to the unreserved support of the United States for Israel, which has emboldened the Zionist regime to commit international crimes with impunity. The Council must end a vicious cycle of being bullied by one of its permanent members. He went on to say that the statement by Israel’s delegate was an unsuccessful attempt to distract attention from the crimes and unlawful policies of its regime.

The representative of Senegal, speaking in his capacity as Chair of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, condemned this week’s demolition of Palestinian homes and called for an end to these international law violations. Calling on donors to ensure sustainable funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), he also reiterated the call on Member States to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

Also speaking today were representatives of Kuwait, Germany, South Africa, Poland, China, Belgium, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, France, Indonesia, Peru, Namibia, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Uganda, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Chile, Qatar, Malaysia, Morocco, Uruguay, Ecuador, Bangladesh, Turkey, Saudi Arabia (on behalf of the Arab Group), Norway, Cuba, Maldives, Venezuela, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Permanent Observer of the Holy See.

The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 4:18 p.m.

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