UN / PALESTINIAN QUESTION

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30-Nov-2021 00:03:42
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland said recent developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory “are worrying” and expressed concern that if quick and decisive action is not taken, “we risk plunging into another deadly escalation of violence.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / PALESTINIAN QUESTION
TRT: 3:42
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 30 NOVEMBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, flags outside UN headquarters

30 NOVEMBER 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 designated NGOs work closely with the United Nations and the international community, including on human rights and humanitarian response, and several receive a significant proportion of their funding from Member States. The legal implications of the designations are potentially wide-ranging and add to increasing pressures on civil society organizations across the OPT. The Secretary-General has expressed concern about shrinking space for civil society around the world, including in Israel and the OPT. The United Nations has engaged with Israeli authorities, the designated NGOs and donors to receive more information about the allegations and their implications.”
4. Wide shot, Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, United Nations:
“I am concerned that if we do not act quickly and decisively, we risk plunging into another deadly escalation of violence. Recent developments on the ground are worrying. We need a coordinated approach to encourage all parties to implement policy shifts and reform, address quickly and in parallel the key conflict drivers - at the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in Gaza and those facing the PA - and restore a political horizon that will help stop the endless cycle of crisis management and move back towards meaningful negotiations to end the occupation and resolve the conflict on the basis of UN resolutions, international law and previous agreements.”
6. Wide shot, delegates
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Comfort Ero, Interim Vice President and Program Director, International Crisis Group:
“We challenged the international community not only to work urgently to lower the temperature by pressing all sides to cease violent and provocative actions, but also to undertake a serious effort to rethink the entire edifice of the peace process. Such a rethinking must acknowledge the structural power imbalance between an occupying state and an occupied people, and the necessity of challenging the impunity Israel has come to take for granted in its conduct toward Palestinians.”
8. Wide shot, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Comfort Ero, Interim Vice President and Program Director, International Crisis Group:
“In the absence of a new popular mandate, Palestinian politics has become dangerously ossified, turning the PA – like Hamas in Gaza – into a governing body with limited powers that is unresponsive, unaccountable, authoritarian and repressive. Palestinian governing authorities in both the West Bank and Gaza have added to restrictions on the freedoms of their own civil society to organise and speak out.”
10. Wide shot, Wennesland at stakeout
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, United Nations:
“A situation whereby salaries cannot be paid by UNRWA or the PA is a conflict driver in itself. If it comes in parallel with increased settler activity, announcement of settlements and all sorts of other violence up ticking at the West Bank we have a very toxic situation.”
12. Zoom out, stakeout

STORYLINE:

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland said recent developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory “are worrying” and expressed concern that if quick and decisive action is not taken, “we risk plunging into another deadly escalation of violence.”

Addressing the Security Council today (30 Nov), Wennesland said violence continued daily throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). In the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, clashes, attacks, search and arrest operations, and other incidents resulted in the death of four Palestinians, including two children, and injuries to 90 Palestinians, including 12 children caused by Israeli Security Forces. One Israeli civilian was killed and nine civilians, including one woman and one child, and six members of ISF were also injured in the course of these events. He stressed that violent attacks and acts of terrorism could never be justified and must be condemned by all. The Special Coordinator added that settler-related violence remains at alarmingly high levels, amid continued tensions over settlement expansion and the annual olive harvest season.

Settlement expansion, as well as Israeli demolitions and confiscations of Palestinian homes and other structures continued during the reporting period, Wennesland added. On 24 October, Israeli authorities announced tenders for some 1,350 housing units in settlements; and on 27 October, after a hiatus of some eight months, Israeli authorities advanced plans for some 3,200 housing units in Area C, with many located in outlying settlements. The Special Coordinator reiterated that all settlements are illegal under international law and remain a substantial obstacle to peace.

Addressing the recent designation of six Palestinians NGOs as terrorist Organizations by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Wennesland said, “These designated NGOs work closely with the United Nations and the international community, including on human rights and humanitarian response, and several receive a significant proportion of their funding from Member States. The legal implications of the designations are potentially wide-ranging and add to increasing pressures on civil society organizations across the OPT. The Secretary-General has expressed concern about shrinking space for civil society around the world, including in Israel and the OPT. The United Nations has engaged with Israeli authorities, the designated NGOs and donors to receive more information about the allegations and their implications.”

Wennesland stressed the need for a “coordinated approach to encourage all parties to implement policy shifts and reform, address quickly and in parallel the key conflict drivers - at the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in Gaza and those facing the PA - and restore a political horizon that will help stop the endless cycle of crisis management and move back towards meaningful negotiations to end the occupation and resolve the conflict on the basis of UN resolutions, international law and previous agreements.”

The Special Coordinator said he was encouraged by the engagement between Israeli and Palestinian delegations at the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee meeting held in Oslo on 17 November. He said the Quartet would continue its consultations with the parties and key regional actors.

Speaking to reporters following the meeting, Wennesland said there is broad consensus in the Council that to off-ramp an eminent conflict, there needs to be a push back on activities in and around Jerusalem and the West Bank, some degree of consolidation for the stability of the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, as well as a continuation of the reconstruction work in Gaza.

He said, “A situation whereby salaries cannot be paid by UNRWA or the PA is a conflict driver in itself. If it comes in parallel with increased settler activity, announcement of settlements and all sorts of other violence up ticking at the West Bank we have a very toxic situation.”

Comfort Ero, Interim Vice President and Program Director of the International Crisis Group, told the Council that her organization believes the international community, including the Council itself, has done too little to steer the conflict into calmer waters, to protect its victims, and to push Israelis and Palestinians towards a just solution.

Ero said faith in the Middle East peace process has waned, with Israeli having grown comfortable with the status quo and constantly rejecting anything resembling a plausible two-state outcome. She said, “We challenged the international community not only to work urgently to lower the temperature by pressing all sides to cease violent and provocative actions, but also to undertake a serious effort to rethink the entire edifice of the peace process. Such a rethinking must acknowledge the structural power imbalance between an occupying state and an occupied people, and the necessity of challenging the impunity Israel has come to take for granted in its conduct toward Palestinians.”

The International Crisis Group Program Director said Israeli measures, including the recent outlawing of six highly respected Palestinian civil society organisations, give the impression that Israel’s policy of ‘shrinking’ the conflict and strengthening the Palestinian Authority in practice goes hand in hand with de facto annexation. At the same time, she said, there has been no serious effort by the Palestinian Authority to refresh Palestinian politics, especially after the abrupt cancelation of the elections.

Ero said, “In the absence of a new popular mandate, Palestinian politics has become dangerously ossified, turning the PA – like Hamas in Gaza – into a governing body with limited powers that is unresponsive, unaccountable, authoritarian and repressive. Palestinian governing authorities in both the West Bank and Gaza have added to restrictions on the freedoms of their own civil society to organise and speak out.”

The International Crisis Group Program Director said the Israel-Palestinian conflict would ultimately be settled only through political negotiations, but they will not succeed until certain basic conditions are in place. These include Israeli willingness to engage Palestinians both individually as equals and as a collective with aspirations to national self-determination; a coherent Palestinian polity with a leadership that can chart a path forward and challenge the status quo by non-violent means and in ways consistent with international law, and a reversal of on-the-ground, legal and political measures enacted by Israel that have cost Palestinians many of their most basic rights.

Ero said it is incumbent on the Security Council to undertake concrete action to protect the rights of all people in Israel-Palestine, and Palestinian refugees, even in the current absence of a viable peace process, and regardless of whatever form an eventual political solution may take.
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