4 FEBRUARY 2021

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

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Palestinians

The Secretary-General earlier today discussed the challenges over the coming year for Israelis and Palestinians, in remarks to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian people.

He said that the pandemic has had a severe impact on the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza.  The UN and its partners are supporting the Palestinian Government’s work to control the spread of the pandemic.  The Secretary-General added that the Special Coordinator continues to encourage Israel to support the COVID-19 vaccine availability, which is in line with Israel’s obligations under international law.

Mr. [António] Guterres said that President Mahmoud Abbas’s call for an international peace conference under the auspices of the United Nations — and an expanded [Middle East Quartet] — provides a positive opportunity to advance peace in the region.

He also called on the parties to refrain from unilateral acts that can jeopardize the possibility of restarting the peace process.

That event took place in person in the Hall of the General Assembly.

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Questions and Answers

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Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  I have two questions.  This morning, IDF (Israel Defense Forces) razed to the ground, for a second time in a week, the small village, Palestinian village, called Humsa — that’s H‑u‑m‑s‑a — in the occupied Jordanian valley, in the northern part of the Jordanian valley.  A delegation of the European Union accredited to the Palestinian Authority had visited the village, and it was also destroyed in November.  So, is there any statement about the general position of the UN?  This is a particular eight, nine families…

Spokesman:  I haven’t seen.  We will ask the Special Coordinator’s office.

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For information media. Not an official record.