Citing Report, He Says Violence, Terrorism, Incitement, Settlement Policy Severely Undermine Prospects for Israelis, Palestinians
Despite continuing violence and terrorism, including stabbings and shootings, important progress could be made through a demonstration of sincere commitment to advancing the goal of a two-State solution, the Secretary-General’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process told the Security Council today.
“A peaceful future for both [Palestinians and Israelis] cannot emerge on the back of statements that glorify terror and justify killing,” Nickolay Mladenov said during his monthly briefing on the Middle East. “No solution can come through violence; it must be based on mutual respect and the recognition of the legitimate aspirations of both peoples.”
He recalled that, at the beginning of June, the Secretary-General and ministers from 30 countries had gathered in Paris to discuss incentives that could kick-start momentum towards that goal. The underlying message from Paris was clear: “We must act decisively now or continue to deal with the damaging repercussions for years to come.”
However, negative trends on the ground continued to jeopardize prospects for peace, he stressed, recalling that two Palestinians had opened fire and killed four Israelis, and that Israeli security forces had killed a Palestinian teenager on a highway. Both tragedies had provided political fodder for cynical advocates of divisiveness, further undermining trust between communities, he said.
Recognizing the urgent need to reverse that destructive dynamic, the Middle East Quartet had worked with the concerned parties and key stakeholders to preserve the two-State solution, he continued. In September 2015, the Quartet had expressed serious concern about trends on the ground at the time, and voiced appreciation for steps taken to stabilize the situation and restore belief among Palestinians and Israelis.
Sharing the report’s conclusions, he said it did not provide a complete review of the humanitarian, political, legal and security aspects. Rather, it focused on the major threats to a negotiated peace and offered recommendations on the way forward. He pointed out that the Quartet had pledged its active support for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973). It had also reaffirmed that a negotiated two-State solution would end the occupation that had begun in 1967 and resolve all permanent status issues.
He went on to note that the report outlined trends that severely undermined hopes for peace, such as continuing violence, terrorism and incitement, the policy of settlement expansion in the West Bank, and the situation in the Gaza Strip. In that regard, the report contained recommendations for both sides, and reiterated its call on Israel to implement positive and significant policy shifts.
In closing, he emphasized that, if the recommendations were implemented sincerely and resolutely, with support from the international community, Israelis and Palestinians could establish a comprehensive peace with historic implications for the entire region. However, a permanent status agreement ending the conflict would only be possible through direct bilateral negotiations, he stressed.
Quoting the Secretary-General, he said no solution to the conflict would be possible without the recognition that both Palestinians and Jews had an undeniable historic and religious connection to the land. Warning against imposing external solutions, he underlined that a peaceful future required leadership and bold steps to move beyond empty platitudes.
The meeting began at 10:09 a.m. and ended at 10:20 a.m.