UN / PALESTINE ISRAEL

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27-May-2021 00:05:08
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland said the recent events have “made clear once again the costs of perpetual conflict and lost hope” adding that the international community's approach to Gaza and the conflict as a whole “cannot be business as usual, and we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / PALESTINE ISRAEL
TRT: 5:08
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 27 MAY 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UN headquarters exterior

27 MAY 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, United Nations:
“These recent events have made clear once again the costs of perpetual conflict and lost hope. The challenges in Gaza – like this conflict as a whole - require political solutions. As we look ahead, our approach cannot be business as usual, and we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past.”
4. Multiple screens, briefers on screen
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, United Nations:
“Although Israeli authorities took steps to reduce tensions – including re-routing the march, postponing a Supreme Court hearing on the Sheikh Jarrah evictions and barring Jewish visits to the Holy Sites – the violence and heavy security presence continued. That very same day, Hamas fired seven rockets towards the city, causing some property damage setting off the escalation of hostilities.”
6. Wide shot, Security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA):
“Those who believe that by undermining the reputation and the legitimacy of the Agency they can somehow erase the Palestine refugee issue are fooling themselves. To erase or ignore their history is not only discriminatory, it is based on misinformation and the denial of established facts. Palestine refugees derive their status and rights from international law. The same law that strives to promote peace and equality. By seeking to weaken UNRWA, those who attack it only weaken the prospect for peace.”
8. Wide shot, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Rashid Khalidi, Professor of Arab Studies, Columbia University:
“This is, therefore, time to call a spade a spade and to abandon the cruel false equivalence that ignores casualty ratios of from four or ten or 20 to one; that places the occupier on the same footing as the occupied, and that puts a nuclear armed regional superpower on the same footing as a people that has never been allow to enjoy self-determination.”
10. Wide shot, Security Council
11. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations:
“The deterioration of the situation in the occupied State of Palestine, especially the events in Jerusalem and the Gaza strip, was created by Israel. It was a certain result to its oppressive policies and its colonial occupation. Today, we tell your esteemed Council that the cessation of Israeli aggression on Gaza did end the disaster. It did not return the martyrs to life. It did not return the destroyed homes to their state before they were destroyed. The orphans were not saved from orphancy and the heavy-hearted were not compensated for the loss of their loved ones.”
12. Wide shot, ambassadors at meeting
13. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations:
“With the departure of President Trump’s administration and the delusions it was promoting, the return of the United States to international consensus, and the reactivation of the Quartet, it is not enough today to reaffirm that which is stated in international law – despite our appreciation for that. But your obligation is to work implement it, not to call on us to be patient.”
14. Wide shot, Security Council
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Noa Furman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations:
“The people of Gaza are victims of Hamas and are not our enemy. It is clear that the full responsibility for the escalation lies with Hamas, an internationally-designated terrorist organization with an ideology similar to ISIS.”
16. Wide shot, ambassadors at meeting
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Noa Furman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations:
“Failing to condemn Hamas or attempting to create any sort of moral equivalency between a murderous terrorist organization and a democratic country acting in accordance with international law encourages terrorism, encourages anti-Semitism, hurts the Palestinians living in Gaza, and destroys any chance for dialogue.”
18. Wide shot, ambassadors at meeting
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Noa Furman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations:
“Blaming Jews for the death caused by a terrorist group feeds into the oldest of anti-Semitic tropes. The results of these dangerous statements have already begun to appear. Coming out of the pro-Palestinian rallies and demonstrations we could see and hear clearly the anti-Semitic attacks on the Jews and Jewish institutions alongside the demonization of Israel and the call for its annihilation. Never has there been a clearer example of the fact that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”
20. Wide shot, ambassadors at meeting

STORYLINE:

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland said the recent events have “made clear once again the costs of perpetual conflict and lost hope” adding that the international community’s approach to Gaza and the conflict as a whole “cannot be business as usual, and we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

Addressing the Security Council today (27 May) via teleconference, Wennesland said the escalation that engulfed Gaza, the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and cities across Israel, led to terrible suffering and destruction and took the lives of too many civilians.

He said, “Although Israeli authorities took steps to reduce tensions – including re-routing the [Jerusalem Day] march, postponing a Supreme Court hearing on the Sheikh Jarrah evictions and barring Jewish visits to the Holy Sites – the violence and heavy security presence continued. That very same day, Hamas fired seven rockets towards the city, causing some property damage setting off the escalation of hostilities.”

The Special Coordinator said, from 10 to 21 May, during ensuing hostilities between Israel and armed groups in Gaza, 253 Palestinians, including at least 66 children, 38 women and three persons with disabilities, were killed during Israeli airstrikes and shelling. At least 126 of these were civilians, including a journalist. He said, in some cases, entire families, including women, children and infants, were killed in their homes.

Wennesland said, over the same period, nine Israelis, including two children and five women, and three foreign nationals were killed by indiscriminate rockets and mortars launched by Hamas and other militants in Gaza, and one soldier was killed by an anti-tank missile fired near the Gaza perimeter fence.

The Special Coordinator said the recent violence and its tragic consequences are unacceptable. He stressed that civilians should never be the target of violence, and children, in particular, must never be put in harm’s way.

He reiterated that only through negotiations that end the occupation and create a viable two-State solution, on the basis of UN resolutions, international law and mutual agreements, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, can the world hope to bring a definitive end to these senseless and costly cycles of violence.

Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said staff in Gaza described the Strip during the 11-day escalation as ‘Hell on Earth.’ He said this last conflict is the fourth in 13 years, adding that every conflict destroys lives, buildings, basic infrastructure and sends Gaza back many years. He noted that these conflicts happen while an enduring blockade has crippled the economy for 14 years, and expressed concern about the trauma and psycho-social impact that relentless airstrikes and rockets attacks have inflicted on civilians, especially children.

Lazzarini underscored that despair is spreading in Palestine refugee camps beyond the occupied Palestinian territory, adding that despair and loss of hope make a dangerous mix in a highly volatile region, particularly for the youth, who feel increasingly disenfranchised and trapped.

He said, until there is a political solution to the conflict, including a just and lasting solution to the plight of Palestine refugees, only a strong UNRWA can bring a sense of normality into the lives of refugees which can contribute to the quest for peace and stability.

Lazzarini added, “Those who believe that by undermining the reputation and the legitimacy of the Agency they can somehow erase the Palestine refugee issue are fooling themselves. To erase or ignore their history is not only discriminatory, it is based on misinformation and the denial of established facts. Palestine refugees derive their status and rights from international law. The same law that strives to promote peace and equality. By seeking to weaken UNRWA, those who attack it only weaken the prospect for peace.”

Columbia University Professor Khalid Rashidi said the unprecedented, unified response of all Palestinians, both in the region and around the world, along with the events have provoked a world-wide recognition of the realities on the ground, including systemic discrimination, oppression and settler colonialism that can no longer be brushed aside by stale clichés.

He said public discourse has begun to shift worldwide and said that the systemic disrespect of international law and Security Council resolutions, encouraged by impunity, has left the Council and UN in what he described as justifiable disrepute.

Rashidi said rebuilding infrastructure of Gaza, stressing quality of life for Palestinian without a clear political horizon, and launching a meaningless peace process structured by the most powerful actors will not on their own establish a lasting solution for Palestine and Israel. He stressed that any effort to achieve real peace and security must grapple with the core issues that go back the earliest years after the establishment of the UN, including the dispossession of the Palestinian, the status of Jerusalem, the supposedly temporary military occupation, and ensuring that any projected solution is grounded in international law.

The Columbia University Professor said the unprecedented world-wide solidarity with the Palestinian people has shown that this is not an issue that can be ignored. He said, “This is, therefore, time to call a spade a spade and to abandon the cruel false equivalence that ignores casualty ratios of from four or ten or 20 to one; that places the occupier on the same footing as the occupied, and that puts a nuclear armed regional superpower on the same footing as a people that has never been allow to enjoy self-determination.”

He called on the Council to demand that Israel lift its blockade on Gaza under the penalty of sanctions, cement the unity of the Palestinian people on a democratic basis including a UN mandated or supervised elections, and ensuring the maintenance of the status qup at the holy sites in Jerusalem.

Rashidi also said the Council must reiterated the basic building blocks of international law on Palestine including the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, the illegality of the colonization of the occupied territory by the occupier's citizens, the right to return and compensation for refugees, and the necessity of an international role in the resolution of the question of Jerusalem. He also called on the Council to assert its prerogatives and push forcefully for a more multilateral and less unilateral approach to addressing the Question of Palestine which has failed to bring peace.

Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour said Israel’s apartheid face and colonial policies have been exposed. He said Israel has failed to defeat the Palestinian will and to sow division among them.

Mansour said, “The deterioration of the situation in the occupied State of Palestine, especially the events in Jerusalem and the Gaza strip, was created by Israel. It was a certain result to its oppressive policies and its colonial occupation. Today, we tell your esteemed Council that the cessation of Israeli aggression on Gaza did end the disaster. It did not return the martyrs to life. It did not return the destroyed homes to their state before they were destroyed. The orphans were not saved from orphancy and the heavy-hearted were not compensated for the loss of their loved ones.”

The Palestinian ambassador added that the decision by the Israeli judiciary to delay the forced displacement of in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan did not protect the families from colonialism and did not end the misery in occupied Jerusalem, nor did not stop the Israeli provocations in Al Aqsa and the changing of the city’s character.

Mansour stressed that the Question of Palestine is at a cross-road, adding that if it is left to Israel to choose, it will choose to continue to impose apartheid, annexation, blockades, and destruction which it called for its own security and stability. He said the Palestinian will not accept any road that does not lead to their independence and protects their rights.

Mansour said the time has come for the Security Council and the international community to implement their own resolutions and bring peace. He added, “With the departure of President Trump’s administration and the delusions it was promoting, the return of the United States to international consensus, and the reactivation of the Quartet, it is not enough today to reaffirm that which is stated in international law – despite our appreciation for that. But your obligation is to work implement it, not to call on us to be patient.”

Israeli ambassador Noa Furman said it was now clear that this is not a conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, rather it is a conflict between Israel and Hamas. She said, “The people of Gaza are victims of Hamas and are not our enemy. It is clear that the full responsibility for the escalation lies with Hamas, an internationally-designated terrorist organization with an ideology similar to ISIS.”

Furman said Hamas fired over 4,300 rockets at innocent civilians in Israel, and stressed that any other country facing this would have responded just as Israel did. She said it was also clear that this escalation had nothing to do with the legal dispute in Shiekh Jarrah nor with the events in Al Aqsa mosque, rather it was directly related to internal Palestinian politics with Hamas attempting to assert its preeminence over the Palestinian Authority.

The Israeli ambassador said Hamas disrupted the peace and incited extremists to stockpile rocks and firebombs in the holy mosque, which were then thrown at Jewish worshipers and the police. She said the events were then used to justify Hamas’s terror.

Furman said Hamas committed a double war crime by firing at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians. She said the group tries to drive up the number of casualties on its side to make the international community blame Israel for the losses. She expressed worry over the Security Council’s response and stressed the need for the Counil to condemn Hamas and assert the right of Israel to defend its citizens. She called for the disarmament of Hamas, adding that any assistance sent to the Palestinian people must not fall into the hands of terrorists.

The Israeli ambassador said, “Failing to condemn Hamas or attempting to create any sort of moral equivalency between a murderous terrorist organization and a democratic country acting in accordance with international law encourages terrorism, encourages anti-Semitism, hurts the Palestinians living in Gaza, and destroys any chance for dialogue.”

She added, “Blaming Jews for the death caused by a terrorist group feeds into the oldest of anti-Semitic tropes. The results of these dangerous statements have already begun to appear. Coming out of the pro-Palestinian rallies and demonstrations we could see and hear clearly the anti-Semitic attacks on the Jews and Jewish institutions alongside the demonization of Israel and the call for its annihilation. Never has there been a clearer example of the fact that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

Furman said Hamas continues to be an obstacle to peace and refuses to renounce violence. She said if the international community strengthens Hamas, it will make the possibility of the group replacing the Palestinian Authority much more likely and eliminate the chance of future dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.
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