Security Council: Managing Israel-Palestine conflict ‘no substitute’ for meaningful political process |
“Such a strategy would require significant steps from all parties,” said Tor Wennesland. It must involve strengthening the ability of the Palestinian Authority to engage with Israel on political, economic and security issues, as well as efforts towards the return of the Palestinian Government to the legitimate rights of the Palestinian Authority. Gaza Strip, he affirmed.
He called for a reduction in tensions and violence throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories, especially in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Unilateral steps to prolong the negative trend need to be stopped. The space for Palestinian economic activity and further improvements to access and mobility in Gaza and the West Bank also needs to be expanded.
Ceasefire prevents all-out war
Describing the achievements, he reported that the ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian jihadist organization, remained in effect and “fragile calm” had been restored in Gaza.
The Erez and Kerem Shalom intersection has been open since August 8, and the United Nations is working with partners to ensure emergency assistance is provided to those most in need.
He told the ambassadors to ensure that the ceasefire prevented the situation from escalating into an all-out war.
Unresolved causes of conflict
Violence has increased across much of the occupied West Bank. Israeli settlement activity continues, along with demolition and relocation, while financial and political challenges threaten the effectiveness of the Palestinian Authority in delivering public services.
The West Bank and Gaza remain politically divided. Gazans suffer from economic and mobility restrictions related to Israel’s “closed regime”, the nature of Hamas rule, and the ever-present threat of violence. “Unless these fundamental problems are addressed in the acute crisis cycle, short-term remedial measures will follow,” he warned.
Turning to the Golan Heights, he said the ceasefire between Israel and Syria has generally remained in place, despite some violations of the 1974 Partition of Forces Agreement.
In Lebanon, the lack of progress in reform, the deadlock in forming a Government and increasing tensions over institutions such as the armed forces and security are weighing heavily on State power.
To the south, tensions continued within the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) active area, with at least four firing ranges – not yet observed by Lebanese authorities – in regular use south of the Litani River.
This is a blatant violation of resolution 1701 (2006), as well as Israel’s frequent and persistent violations of Lebanese airspace.
Call to action
“The status quo is not a strategy,” he said. He called on the leaders of Israel and Palestine, countries in the region and the wider international community to take resolute action to be able to return to meaningful negotiations.
‘Last pillar’ for refugees
Reinforcing that view, Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), said the agency was a lifeline for one of the underprivileged communities and most desperate in the area.
“Going to school, getting medical services or getting a package of food are, for many Palestinian refugees, their only sources of normalcy,” he said.
For these refugees, UNRWA remains the “last pillar” of the international community’s commitment to the right to a decent life and a just, lasting solution, he stressed. He called on Member States that had reduced funding to reconsider the impact of that decision on regional stability.