29 JUNE 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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Questions and Answers

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Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  This morning, a large Israeli force entered the Bustan neighbourhood of the city of Silwan, adjacent to Jerusalem, and started destroying the houses, which they had promised to do, about 17 houses, hosting 20 families.  And Israel is not only destroying these houses; they ask the owners to destroy it, and if they do… if the Israeli does… the Israelis do the destruction, then the owners have to pay a penalty, which reaches up to 35,000 shekels.

First, do you have any statement?  And why you didn’t mention that in the briefing?  Such an incident, which Hamas just issued a statement, threatening that, if the destruction go ahead, which has started, it’s true, one commercial… one store was already destroyed, and the confrontation is going on as we speak between the owner and the Israelis.  That…  [cross talk]

Spokesman:  First of all, I would tell… well, you’re asking me a question, so I’m going to answer it, is that we’re, obviously, following these recent developments in East Jerusalem, including in the Al-Bustan neighbourhood, extremely closely.  The Secretary-General is, indeed, deeply concerned by the continued demolitions.  He, once again, reiterates his call to the Israeli authorities to end demolitions and evictions, in line with Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law.

Question:  Stéphane, what is the UN can do other than asking the Israeli… and you know the Israeli will not submit.  [outside noise]

Spokesman:  Okay.  Somebody has their mic open.

Depends which UN you’re talking about.  From the Secretary-General’s standpoint, we continue to report back, as mandated by the Security Council and other organs as to what the situation is on the ground, and we will continue to make our position known to Israel and others in the region.

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For information media. Not an official record.