UN / PALESTINIAN QUESTION

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26-Jan-2021 00:04:24
Despite the success in lowering the overall number of active cases of COVID-19 in West Bank and Gaza, “the cost in lives and livelihoods remains high, particularly in the Gaza Strip,” the UN top official told the Security Council on Tuesday. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / PALESTINIAN QUESTION
TRT: 4:13
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /RUSSIAN /NATS

DATELINE: 26 JANUARY 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE

1. Exterior shot, UN Headquarters, snowing

26 JANUARY 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process:
“The COVID-19 crisis continues to take a staggering toll across the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Israel. Concerted efforts to contain and halt the spread of the virus have succeeded in lowering the overall number of active cases in the West Bank and Gaza, but the cost in lives and livelihoods remains high, particularly in the Gaza Strip.”
4. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process:
“The UN continues to encourage Israel to help address the priority needs of Palestinians in the OPT and to support COVID-19 vaccine availability more generally. This will be critical for the broader efforts of both Governments to control the pandemic and is also in line with Israel’s obligations under international law.”
6. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process:
“During the reporting period, Israeli authorities demolished, seized or forced owners to demolish 71 Palestinian-owned structures, including 19 residential structures, displacing 73 Palestinians, including 17 women and 37 children. The demolitions and seizures were executed due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain. Israeli forces also bulldozed agricultural land and uprooted over 2,000 Palestinian-owned trees
claiming they were planted on state land.”
8. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process:
“I urge Israel to cease demolitions and seizures of Palestinian property, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law, and to allow Palestinians in Area C and East Jerusalem to develop their communities.”
10. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Riad Al-Malki, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine:
“We thus reiterate our call for a collective approach mobilizing the international community and demonstrating its resolve to achieve peace. In this context, we call for the revival of the quartet and its engagement with partners and the parties as well as for continued mobilization of this Security Council. We also reiterate our call for the convening an international peace conference that can signal a turning point in this conflict.”
12. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation:
“We in Russia positively assess the initiative launched by Mahmoud Abbas to convene an international conference on Middle East settlement. Our country initially also spoke in favor of such a forum and this is enshrined in resolution 1850 of the Security Council. In support of this initiative will we also propose that we give thought to a holding in spring or summer of 2021 of a ministerial meeting with the participation of Russia us UN and the EU as members of the Quartet and the four Arab States, Egypt, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. And of course, with the participation of Israel and Palestine.
14. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Gilad Erdan, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations:
“Any call for such a conference is just a distraction, it is just another form of Palestinian rejectionism. Abbas has suddenly remembered he cares about democratic values.”
16. Multiscreen, Security Council in virtual meeting

STORYLINE:

Despite the success in lowering the overall number of active cases of COVID-19 in West Bank and Gaza, “the cost in lives and livelihoods remains high, particularly in the Gaza Strip,” the UN top official told the Security Council on Tuesday.

“The COVID-19 crisis continues to take a staggering toll across the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Israel,” Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said in a virtual briefing. He also said “the UN continues to encourage Israel to help address the priority needs of Palestinians in the OPT and to support COVID-19 vaccine availability more generally. This will be critical for the broader efforts of both Governments to control the pandemic and is also in line with Israel’s obligations under international law.”

The Special Coordinator also criticized Israel’s demolition of Palestinian houses as well as its plans to advance the building of settlements in the Occupied Territories.

Wennesland reported that Israeli authorities have advanced plans for some 800 housing units in Area C settlements and also published tenders for some 1,900 units in Area C and an additional 210 units in East Jerusalem. Of the units advanced and tendered, the majority are in settlements in outlying locations, deep inside the occupied West Bank. Over 200 units are located in illegal outposts that Israeli authorities are retroactively regularizing under Israeli law. On 19 January, the Jerusalem District Court denied a request for an interim injunction to freeze the tendering process for some 1200 units in Givat Hamatos.

At the same time, “during the reporting period, Israeli authorities demolished, seized or forced owners to demolish 71 Palestinian-owned structures, including 19 residential structures, displacing 73 Palestinians, including 17 women and 37 children. The demolitions and seizures were executed due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain. Israeli forces also bulldozed agricultural land and uprooted over 2,000 Palestinian-owned trees claiming they were planted on state land,” Wennesland said.

In his remarks, he urged Israel “to cease demolitions and seizures of Palestinian property, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law, and to allow Palestinians in Area C and East Jerusalem to develop their communities.”

In effort to advance the peace process, the Palestine’s Foreign Minister, Riad Al-Malki, called “for a collective approach mobilizing the international community and demonstrating its resolve to achieve peace. In this context, we call for the revival of the Quartet and its engagement with partners and the parties as well as for continued mobilization of this Security Council. We also reiterate our call for the convening an international peace conference that can signal a turning point in this conflict.”

His call for the convening an international peace conference was echoed by the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, who also said “our country initially also spoke in favor of such a forum and this is enshrined in resolution 1850 of the Security Council.”

He said “in support of this initiative will we also propose that we give thought to a holding in spring or summer of 2021 of a ministerial meeting with the participation of Russia us UN and the EU as members of the Quartet and the four Arab States, Egypt, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. And of course, with the participation of Israel and Palestine.”

The Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, however, rejected the Palestinian initiative.

“Any call for such a conference is just a distraction, it is just another form of Palestinian rejectionism. Abbas has suddenly remembered he cares about democratic values,” Erdan said.
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