Security Council delegates urge Israel to end evictions of Palestinians, as chief mediator calls for political leadership, ‘firm’ actions that enable dialogue.
Israel’s Representative Denounces Failure to Recognize Hamas as Terror Organization, While State of Palestine Observer Cites 75 Years of Apartheid Policy
In a Security Council meeting on the Middle East peace process today, delegates urged Israel to scrap its plan to evict Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem, arguing that it would undercut prospects for a two-State solution.
Norway’s delegate was among those who urged Israel to halt evictions in East Jerusalem and respect the rights of Palestinians living there. She condemned the eviction of the Salihiya family from their home in January, warning that pursuing such practices can escalate the conflict. Israeli settlements in occupied territory are illegal under international law. China’s delegate joined calls to stop the expulsions, urging Israel to end unlawful settlement activities and instead create conditions for development in the West Bank.
In turn, some Council members highlighted positive developments, including a recent visit by Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to Bahrain and the visit of the Emirati Federal National Council to the Knesset. The representative of the United States welcomed those steps taken to widen the circle of peace and build on the Abraham Accords, noting that such good faith engagement can build a path towards security.
Ghana’s delegate commended mediation efforts by the Middle East Quartet and the newly formed Munich Group of foreign ministers from Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan, emphasizing that the time has come for the international community to build synergies among different political processes.
Speakers from the direct parties to the conflict traded barbs. The Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, wearing a black mask printed with phrase “End Apartheid”, detailed how the rights of Palestinians have been denied for 75 years, one generation after another, by Israel. While Israelis have the right to self-determination, they deny that right of Palestinians, he said, describing Israeli policy as apartheid. “Everyone was against apartheid once it was defeated in South Africa”, he said, stressing that history will, however, remember that Israel was the ally of South Africa’s apartheid regime.
Israel’s delegate denounced the 15-member Council for failing to recognize Hamas as a terror organization, despite its aim of destroying the State of Israel. He took the United Nations to task for demonizing the only vibrant democracy in the Middle East. Israel refuses to cooperate with the “distorted investigations” by the Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council to investigate the conflict in Gaza last May, criticizing the “overbudgeted” body for spending double what was spent on investigations into “the worst human rights violators in the world, Syria and Venezuela”. Iran is the real source of terror and chaos in the Middle East, he warned, which should be the focus of today’s debate.
Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, gave detailed updates on the situation on the ground and the political process, calling for a package of incremental — but significant and durable — steps that reflect a more coherent strategy to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and chart the way towards a two-State reality.
“Getting there requires political leadership,” he said, urging Israelis, Palestinians, regional States and the broader international community to take firm action that enables the parties to re-engage on the path towards meaningful negotiations.
Also speaking were representatives of Albania, Kenya, Brazil, France, Ireland, United Kingdom, Gabon, United Arab Emirates, India, Mexico and the Russian Federation.
The meeting began at 10:04 a.m. and ended at 11:58 a.m.