The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question - Security Council, 9139th Meeting

Preview Language:   Six Official
28-Sep-2022 01:59:15
Israeli, Palestinian leaders’ statements on two-state solution positive sign, but words must be turned into action, speakers tell Security Council.

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Welcoming statements by the leaders of Israel and the State of Palestine during the seventy-seventh General Assembly session as a positive sign toward resuming the peace process, speakers in the Security Council today called for those words to be turned into action and progress be delivered on a two-State solution, especially in light continuing settlement activity and violence against civilians.

Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, reported that settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as well as violence against civilians, have continued. In the West Bank, 29 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, while Israeli settlers and civilians perpetrated 128 attacks against Palestinians, resulting in one death. In Gaza, 49 Palestinians were killed, while one Israeli civilian and one Israeli security forces personnel were killed.

Urging Palestinian factions to redouble efforts in reuniting Gaza and the occupied West Bank, he also called for support from the international community for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA). The Agency needed sustainable funding sources to protect the delivery of services to millions of Palestine refugees. “There must be a bridge between these immediate challenges and the longer-term objective of achieving the vision of two States,” he emphasized.

However, he also highlighted the statements made during the high-level week of the General Assembly’s seventy-seventh session, commending Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s support of the two-State solution and acknowledging President Mahmoud Abbas’s commitment to a peaceful resolution. Stressing that there has been little progress in the implementation of resolution 2334 (2016), despite the provisions stating that settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory must cease, he added: “Israelis and Palestinians must determine how they envision the future. Negotiations can no longer be pushed off indefinitely.”

In the ensuing debate, many speakers reiterated their support for a two-State solution and the resumption of the peace negotiations, with some emphasizing that the Israeli settlements and acts of violence must stop to prevent further impact, not only on civilian lives, but also on the economy.

The representative of China, citing Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s statement that "a large majority of Israelis support the vision of the two-State solution”, also recalled that President Mahmoud Abbas recognized the statement as positive and had urged the Israeli Government “to sit at the negotiating table immediately to implement the two-State solution”. The Council must take more vigorous action to support the Palestinian people in restoring their inalienable rights, he added.

The representative of the United States, underscoring her country’s continued support for a two-State solution, also noted the recent statements made in the General Assembly and urged that these words be turned to action. She stressed, however, that “there are no shortcuts to Statehood”, voicing her opposition to unilateral actions that exacerbate tensions and move the needle further from peace.

Kenya’s representative drew attention to the numerous sideline events on the Israel-Palestine issue during the seventy-seventh General Assembly session, remarking that they demonstrated continued efforts to fill the gap of an elusive political peace process. Underlining that implementing resolution 2334 (2016) requires the political will of both parties, he called for the presentation of clear objectives, timelines and feasible solutions to resolving pending issues.

However, the Russian Federation’s representative pointed out that Israel continues its settlement activities in violation of international law. The situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory will remain explosive until the parties reach a mutually acceptable compromise, he said, stressing that violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are related to the stagnated peace process.

The representative of United Arab Emirates spotlighted the economic impact of the settlement activities, reporting that attacks by Israeli settlers include those on agricultural crops, which many Palestinian families depend on as a primary source of income. With the approaching olive harvest, she said that the same period last year saw an unprecedented upsurge in attacks.

Brazil’s representative, emphasizing that poverty, food insecurity and lack of hope have provided ground for extremist forces, said that the easing of restrictions on people and goods into and out of Gaza was a promising measure. Economic growth can contribute to intra-Palestinian reconciliation, stabilization and dialogue resumption. Collaboration on all matters, including security, can only occur with strengthened Palestinian institutions and a viable Palestinian economy, she emphasized.

Also speaking were representatives of Norway, Ireland, Gabon, Ghana, Albania, United Kingdom, Mexico, India and France.

The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 11:33 a.m.

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