UN / PALESTINE ISRAEL

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19-Oct-2021 00:04:44
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland said the international community should have “no illusions about the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” adding that there has been “no progress towards realizing a two-state solution.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / PALESTINE ISRAEL
TRT: 4:44
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 19 OCTOBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, flags outside UN headquarters

19 OCTOBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, United Nations:
“But we should have no illusions about the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) continues to deteriorate and we have seen no progress towards realizing a two-State solution. This political stagnation is fueling tensions, instability and a deepening sense of hopelessness.”
4. Wide shot, Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, United Nations:
“We can no longer lurch from crisis to crisis. Our approach cannot be to address the current situation piecemeal – incident by incident, on a short-term day-to-day basis as stand-alone issues. A broader package of parallel steps by the Government of Israel, the PA and the international community is needed.”
6. Wide shot, Security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Daniel Levy, President, U.S./Middle East Project:
“If the unlawful and peace-negating policies of Israel continue to be met with impunity, there should be no expectation of positive change. It is that simple. Israel pursues policies in violation of international law and of UN resolutions because it can. No tangible cost or consequence is attached.”
8. Wide shot, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Daniel Levy, President, U.S./Middle East Project:
“This body may at some stage be force to revisit its partition vote of 1947 and its historic endorsement of two-states, and if that is not to happen then far reaching and long-delayed thinking and action are required.”
10. Wide shot, Security Council
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian political and civil society leader:
“These fallacies must be dismantled. Volatile situations of injustice and oppression do not shrink. They expand and explode with disastrous consequences. Similarly, the delusion of imposing calm under siege and systemic aggression, particularly as in Gaza, is an oxymoron. For calm and security on the one hand, and occupation or captivity on the other are antithetical and irreconcilable.”
12. Wide shot, Security Council
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian political and civil society leader:
“The fallacy of confidence building measures is misguided since occupation breads only contempt, distrust, resentment and resistance. The oppressed cannot be brought to trust or accept handouts from their oppressor as an alternative to their right to freedom and justice.”
14. Wide shot, Security Council
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations:
“Those who are leading these colonial policies are hoping to transform the international community into a bystander, or a silent witness, or at worst a critical commentator. But the international community is an actor and a decisive one and must act as such.”
16. Wide shot, Israeli ambassador addressing the Security Council
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Gilad Erdan, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations:
“It is absolutely critical that this Council sends the clear message that peace will come when Palestinian Authority ceases to pay millions of dollars in salaries to terrorists, and instead uses those funds to build medical centres, schools, and a vibrant private sector. Peace will come when Palestinian children are taught that their national heroes are scientists, inventors, and peacebuilders, rather than terrorists whose only claim to fame is that they tried to kill Jews.”
18. Med shot, Palestinian ambassador
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Gilad Erdan, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations:
“The dangers of failing to take action in the face of Iran’s flagrant violations of its commitments cannot be overstated. Non-compliance is a contagious disease, especially in our region. Yet, seeing as Iran poses an existential threat to Israel, the State of Israel can never and will never allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state. We will do whatever is necessary to stop Iran’s nuclear drive and counter the threat from its armies of proxies along our borders and beyond our borders.”
20. Wide shot, Security Council

STORYLINE:

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland said the international community should have “no illusions about the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” adding that there has been “no progress towards realizing a two-state solution.”

Addressing the Security Council today (19 Oct), Wennesland welcomed the ongoing engagement between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials and strongly encouraged a further expansion of such efforts. However, he said the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) continues to deteriorate, adding that “political stagnation is fuelling tensions, instability and a deepening sense of hopelessness.”

The Special Coordinator said a large number of Palestinians, including children, continue to be killed and injured by Israeli security forces, and settler-related attacks against Palestinians and their property – including in the presence of Israeli security forces – continue. He added that Israeli civilians also continue to be subjected to attacks by Palestinians that have caused deaths, injuries, and damages.

Wennesland expressed his concern that Israeli authorities continue to consider plans for settlement construction in the strategic E1 area of the West Bank. He stressed that, if constructed, these units would sever the connection between the northern and southern West Bank, significantly undermining the chances for establishing a viable and contiguous Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-State solution. He reiterated that all settlements are illegal under international law and remain a substantial obstacle to peace.

The Special Coordinator said, “We can no longer lurch from crisis to crisis. Our approach cannot be to address the current situation piecemeal – incident by incident, on a short-term day-to-day basis as stand-alone issues. A broader package of parallel steps by the Government of Israel, the PA and the international community is needed.”

He added that such a framework should begin to address key political, security and economic challenges that are preventing progress. He added that these efforts are urgent and will require a clear political commitment and involvement from the Government of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the international community.

Daniel Levi, President of the U.S./Middle East Project, told the Council that pursuing a ‘more of the same’ peace process guarantees further failure and reinforces the negative trends to the conflict. He said it should come as a wake-up call to the Security Council that Palestinian human rights groups, Israeli human rights organizations, and Human Rights Watch have made a legal designation that the crime of apartheid and persecution is being committed by Israel against the Palestinians.

Levi said the conflict was marked by three deficits. First, he said there was a legitimacy deficit in Palestinian politics and stressed that the Palestinian Liberation Organization must become fully representative, inclusive and by extension better able to negotiate.

He also noted that that there is an accountability deficit when it comes to Israel’s actions. He said, “If the unlawful and peace-negating policies of Israel continue to be met with impunity, there should be no expectation of positive change. It is that simple. Israel pursues policies in violation of international law and of UN resolutions because it can. No tangible cost or consequence is attached.”

Levi also spoke of a symmetry deficit and called on the Council to acknowledge the overarching and defining relationships of power in this conflict represented in the fundamental asymmetry between an occupying state and an occupied people.

Levi noted that Israeli rights cannot be sacrificed, but they cannot come at the expense of Palestinians in need of protection and the restoration of their rights, whether in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, in refugee camps in the diaspora, or when facing structural discrimination inside Israel.

Levi called on the Council to use these core understandings to help guide actions which can create the building blocks for new thinking and peace. He also called on the Council to implement resolution 2334 which calls on all states to distinguish between the territory of the state of Israel and the territory occupied since 1967.

Levi said that Resolution 2334 also noted that a one state reality was being entrenched, adding that many consider that to be the case. He said, as the Council takes steps to salvage a two-state outcome, it must also be open to the possibility that there may not be an off-the-shelf-solution at this stage.

He said, “This body may at some stage be force to revisit its partition vote of 1947 and its historic endorsement of two-states, and if that is not to happen then far reaching and long-delayed thinking and action are required.”

Palestinian political and civil society leader Hanan Ashrawi said the Council has been unable to assert its authority allowing the injustice faced by Palestinians to become a perpetual and tragic human, moral, political, and legal travesty.

She said the Council must consider where it has gone wrong, and what it can do to correct course and serve the cause of justice and peace. She added that the absence of accountability for Israel and protection for Palestinians has enabled Israeli immunity and allowed for the perpetuation of a permanent settler colonial occupation.

Ashrawi said much of the prevailing political discourse overlooks reality and is diverted by distractions brought by Israel and its allies under banners such as economic peace, improving the quality of life, normalization, managing the conflict, containing the conflict, or even shrinking the conflict.

She said, “These fallacies must be dismantled. Volatile situations of injustice and oppression do not shrink. They expand and explode with disastrous consequences. Similarly, the delusion of imposing calm under siege and systemic aggression, particularly as in Gaza, is an oxymoron. For calm and security on the one hand, and occupation or captivity on the other are antithetical and irreconcilable.”

Ashrawi added that the “fallacy of confidence building measures” is also misguided since “occupation breads only contempt, distrust, resentment and resistance.” She said, “The oppressed cannot be brought to trust or accept handouts from their oppressor as an alternative to their right to freedom and justice.”

Ashrawi said all of this does not preclude Palestinian recognition of their own shortcomings, including internal violence, human rights abuses, corruption, or other such practices which are rejected and resented by the people. She said Palestinians have a responsibility to carry out democratic reform and end internal divisions but cautioned others from exploiting these shortcomings to justify Israeli crimes or international inaction.

Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour said international consensus is based on a two-state solution on the pre-1967 borders but it is clear that this is not the destination that Israel has in mind. He said Israel makes this clear through maintaining its illegal occupation, in the colonial policies it pursues, and in the statements of its officials who negate Palestinians’ right to self-determination and independence.

Mansour said Palestinians value the efforts of the international community to intervene each time they reach a breaking point but underscored that they only slow down Israel on its destructive path.

The Palestinian ambassador stressed the need to accompany the steps needs to reach a two-state solution with the enforcement of consequences for those who refuse to move forward. He said momentum cannot appear by magic, rather it is generated and sustained.

Mansour asked what incentives Israel had to change its behaviour. He said, “Those who are leading these colonial policies are hoping to transform the international community into a bystander, or a silent witness, or at worst a critical commentator. But the international community is an actor and a decisive one and must act as such.”

Israeli ambassador Gilad Erdan said the recent Abraham Accords and the long-standing relations between Israel, Egypt, and Jordan have put the Middle East on the road to a new era where it will not be a centre of conflict, rather a centre of creativity and solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

Erdan said, rather than pushing peace forward, the Security Council’s debates on the Middle East only seem to perpetuate the conflict and create an alternate and false reality. He added that the debates give the Palestinians the illusion that they will never be held accountable for their crimes and that all of their radical demands could be granted by the international community. He stressed that the unbalanced discussions at the Council only serve to strengthen Palestinian rejectionism of any further negotiations with Israel, thereby maintaining the conflict.

The Israeli ambassador said, “It is absolutely critical that this Council sends the clear message that peace will come when Palestinian Authority ceases to pay millions of dollars in salaries to terrorists, and instead uses those funds to build medical centres, schools, and a vibrant private sector. Peace will come when Palestinian children are taught that their national heroes are scientists, inventors, and peacebuilders, rather than terrorists whose only claim to fame is that they tried to kill Jews.”

Erdan underscored that the real threat to global security is quickly advancing, as Iran continues to progress towards its goal of becoming a nuclear threshold state.

He said Iran continues to openly violate its commitments by stockpiling uranium and advanced research and development while obstructing the IAEA. He said Iran was using the diplomatic talks to buy time to enrich uranium to near weapons grade levels while gaining nuclear knowledge that cannot be reversed.

The Israeli ambassador said his country favours a diplomatic solution, but Iran has no intention of negotiating a solution that would prevent it from become a nuclear threshold state.

He said, “The dangers of failing to take action in the face of Iran’s flagrant violations of its commitments cannot be overstated. Non-compliance is a contagious disease, especially in our region. Yet, seeing as Iran poses an existential threat to Israel, the State of Israel can never and will never allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state. We will do whatever is necessary to stop Iran’s nuclear drive and counter the threat from its armies of proxies along our borders and beyond our borders.”
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