The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question - Security Council, 9224th Meeting

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19-Dec-2022 01:26:46
Cycle of violence, bloodshed between Israelis, Palestinians untenable, delegate stresses at Security Council briefing on Middle East.

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The deepening occupation, increase in violence and absence of a political horizon have empowered extremists and are eroding hope, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process told the Security Council today as he called on all parties to undertake concrete steps that will change the negative trajectory on the ground.

Although there were no advancements of housing units in the occupied West Bank during the period of 21 September to 7 December, the total number in 2022 remains high, Tor Wennesland noted. Israel must cease the advancement of all settlement activity immediately, end the demolition of Palestinian-owned property, prevent the displacement and eviction of Palestinians and approve plans that will enable them to address their development needs. Detailing the sharp increase in violence against civilians — including children — on both sides, he called on political, religious and community leaders to calm the situation, avoid spreading inflammatory rhetoric and speak up against those seeking to escalate the situation.

While there has been progress in Gaza, more must be done to alleviate the humanitarian situation and enable the economy to grow. Solving its challenges will ultimately require political solutions, including a return of the legitimate Palestinian Government to the Strip, a full lifting of Israeli closures and an end to the militant build-up.

“Seeking to freeze this conflict or manage it in perpetuity are not viable options,” he emphasized. “There is no substitute for a legitimate political process that will resolve the core issues driving the conflict.”

In the ensuing discussion, Council members voiced their concern about the increasing violence, condemned the attacks against civilians and echoed the Special Coordinator’s call to work towards the establishment of two States.

This latest report paints a worrisome picture to all who aspire to achieve a two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, the representative of Brazil underscored. International humanitarian law and human rights law must be strictly observed, and the most vulnerable, particularly children, must never be targeted by attacks of any sort.

As 2022 has been the deadliest year since 2005, this cycle of violence and bloodshed is untenable, Gabon’s delegate emphasized, stressing that the Council must work harder to end it and make available the conditions for lasting peace in the region. He also called on the international community to provide funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to tackle the increasing humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people.

The United States expects to see equal treatment of extremists in arrests, convictions and punishments, as well as equal allocation of resources to prevent and investigate violent attacks, that country’s representative said while pledging his Government’s continued advocacy of the Abraham Accords as a way to further trade, innovation, partnership and people-to-people exchanges in the Middle East.

The United States, the speaker for the Russian Federation reminded, withdrew from participating in the Middle East Quartet of international mediators on fabricated grounds. History has proven more than once that the attempts of that country to monopolize the Middle East process are untenable and doomed to fail, resulting only in increased antagonism. There is no alternative to direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis on all parameters of a final resolution, he stressed.

Cautioning against unilateral measures that unduly alter the status quo on the ground, the representative of India, Council President for December, speaking in her national capacity, emphasized that the Council must send a strong signal against any steps that would prevent the possibility of durable peace between Israel and Palestine. The “duty of hope”, her colleague from Ireland added, requires restraint and de-escalation on all sides, as well as the need to address the root causes of the conflict.

Also speaking today were representatives of France, Norway, Mexico, China, Kenya, Albania, United Arab Emirates, Ghana and the United Kingdom.

The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 11:30 a.m.

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