The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question - Security Council, 9203rd meeting

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28-Nov-2022 01:24:02
Special Coordinator, briefing Security Council, appeals for urgent action as Israel-Palestinian conflict Nnars boiling point once again.

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Warning that current trends could worsen the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and destabilize the region, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process, briefing the Security Council today, called on all parties to rein in violence and incitement and, together with the international community, take urgent steps towards achieving the two-State solution.

Tor Wennesland warned that the conflict is once again reaching a boiling point, with — most recently — violent attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in Hebron and bomb attacks in Jerusalem which killed two Israelis and injured more than a dozen other civilians. In Gaza, meanwhile, a fragile calm was interrupted by the launching of four rockets towards Israel by Palestinian militants and subsequent Israeli air strikes against what it said were Hamas targets.

“Political leadership is required to reset a trajectory towards a two-State solution,” he said, warning that a failure to address both current trends and the underlying causes of the conflict will only worsen the situation and destabilize the region. Noting his engagements with Palestinian and Israeli officials as well as international and regional actors, he said the United Nations has worked closely to mediate and support ceasefires and is also leading the humanitarian response, providing fuel to Gaza’s power plant as well as cash assistance to more than 100,000 families.

In the ensuing debate, Council members voiced concern about the increasing violence and condemned attacks against civilians. Speakers also echoed the Special Coordinator’s call for both sides to refrain from unilateral actions and work towards the goal of a two-State solution.

The United Arab Emirates’ representative urged the Council to send a clear message of its commitment to agreed-upon international terms of reference to end the conflict, including the need for the parties to return to serious negotiations. The two-State solution, along with adherence to the Arab Peace Initiative, remains a key demand of all Arab States, he said.

The United States’ representative said that unfortunately, most United Nations actions are not designed to advance the two-State solution, but rather seek to denigrate Israel. The lopsided focus on Israel is manifested in biased resolutions, an open-ended commission of inquiry and a draft resolution that would have the General Assembly request for an advisory opinion at the International Court of Justice. Going forward, the United Nations should take concrete steps that preserve the viability of a two-State solution “instead of grandstanding and pursuing unproductive measures,” she said.

France’s representative, stressing the need to give hope to Israelis and Palestinians, called on the Council to act in favour of an immediate resumption of peace talks. He joined others in calling on the next Government in Israel not to create new settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory nor to proceed with the legalization of unapproved settlements, which are illegal and jeopardize the two-State solution, he said.

The Russian Federation’s representative said that Israel’s arbitrary actions have spilled beyond the borders of Gaza and the West Bank, including strikes conducted in Syria and Lebanon. That method of defending national security creates threats for other States and aims to transform the Middle East into an arena for long-distance confrontation with Iran, he warned, spotlighting also a funding shortfall faced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

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

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 11:30 a.m.

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