The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question- Security Council, 9000th Meeting

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22-Mar-2022 02:12:34
Settlement expansion fuelling violence in Occupied Palestinian Territory, Middle East Peace Process Special Coordinator warns Security Council.

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Speakers in the Security Council today denounced Israel’s continued settlement activities, evictions and demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures, as the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process expressed regret that there had been “little progress” made by the sides in upholding obligations under the landmark resolution 2334 (2016).

“Israel’s settlement expansion continues to fuel violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, further entrenching the occupation and undermining the right of Palestinians to self-determination and independent statehood,” said Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland, as he presented the twenty-first report on resolution 2334 (2016), covering 10 December 2021 to 18 March 2022.

Making that point, he noted that on 5 January, Israel published tenders for some 300 settlement housing units in the Talpiyot East neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, with the Jerusalem District Planning Committee later advancing plans to build 800 and 400 housing units respectively in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo.

Daily violence also continued, he said. Twenty-four Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces during demonstrations, clashes, security operations, attacks and alleged attacks against Israelis. In addition, Israeli settlers perpetrated 144 attacks against Palestinians. In total, Palestinians carried out 277 attacks against Israeli civilians.

At the same time, he welcomed steps taken to “reverse negative trends”, citing Qatar’s 27 December agreement with the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Electricity Distribution Corporation to advance construction of a natural gas pipeline from Israel to Gaza.

In the ensuing dialogue, delegates called for a permanent halt to demolitions and evictions, particularly in East Jerusalem, as well as for strict adherence to the status quo of holy places, the proportionate use of force by Israeli forces and the end of settlement building, an activity that France’s delegate termed “the expansion of colonies”.

Continued violation of the core provisions of resolution 2234 (2016) “makes a bad situation worse”, said Albania’s delegate. “What we heard is worrying and goes against what this Council is seeking to achieve.” He called for “concrete, continued and sustained” steps that diffuse tensions.

Pointing to diplomatic forays, the representative of the United States said officials from her country are visiting the region to explore ways to improve the quality of life for Palestinians, while Gabon’s delegate similarly welcomed the King of Morocco’s role as Chairman of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Al-Quds Committee for preserving the special status of the holy city. Norway’s representative welcomed the decision by the Israeli Supreme Court to terminate eviction orders against four Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah, emphasizing that longer-term solutions are needed and that all evictions in East Jerusalem must be halted indefinitely.

The representative of the United Arab Emirates, Council President for March, spoke in her national capacity to welcome Jordan’s diplomatic efforts to reach a common understanding that secures calm, and likewise commend Egypt for resuming reconstruction in the Gaza Strip.

The Russian Federation’s delegate said plans to further expand settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank could be viewed as a de facto annexation of large parts of the Palestinian territory. The primary goal should be to achieve a lasting, stable situation within internationally recognized parameters, he said.

Also speaking today were representatives of Ireland, Brazil, India, Mexico, Kenya, Ghana, United Kingdom and China.

The meeting began at 10:06 a.m. and ended at 11:48 a.m.

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