The United Nations Security Council must shoulder its responsibility vis-à-vis international protection in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People heard during a brief meeting this afternoon.
“The situation on the ground is volatile and explosive,” said Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, as he briefed the Committee. Citing cases of intensifying hostility by Israeli settlers and describing several recent examples of extrajudicial killings, he said the Security Council should hold an open Arria Formula meeting on the issue of protection.
Elaborating on efforts on the part of the State of Palestine to bring about such a meeting, he said the Council had planned to hold an open debate on 18 April on the situation of the Palestinian people under occupation and the need to provide international protection. He hoped the 15-member body would move into consultations on the specific issue of Israeli settlements. “If there is unanimity in the Security Council that settlements are illegal and pose an obstacle to peace,” he said, “then there is an obligation to act.”
Turning to particular developments on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, he said it had been six months since the start of the current youth uprising. Israel had recently suspended the importation of cement into the Gaza Strip, an action which urgently needed to be reversed. Following wide-spread cuts, the flow of electricity had been returned to Bethlehem and the surrounding areas.
In other business today, Committee Rapporteur Christopher Grima (Malta) reported on the United Nations Round Table on Legal Aspects of the Question of Palestine, held from 15 to 17 March in Amman, on behalf of Committee Chair Fodé Seck (Senegal).
The Committee also approved a provisional work programme for the upcoming International Conference on the Question of Jerusalem, to be held on 3 and 4 May in Dakar.
Natasha Meli Daudey (Malta) briefed the Committee on the recent activities of its Working Group.
Making additional statements today were the representatives of Senegal, Namibia and Indonesia.