24 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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Questions and Answers

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Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  I have two questions on Palestine.  First, this week, two Palestinians were detained at the checkpoints, claiming they have knives.  And the second is this Palestinian who was murdered in June last year at the checkpoint in Bethlehem.  There is an international human rights group called Forensic Architecture, based in London, issued a statement qualifying that murder as extrajudicial killing.  It said in its report, he posed no threat to the Israeli soldier or to any property.  And also his body is tainted by Israel nine months later.  And on another… so, that’s one question, why there is no statement from the new coordinator of peace process in the Middle East?  So far, he did not issue any statement regarding any incident of that magnitude in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Spokesman:  Thank you.  You will see that the Special Coordinator will report, as all Special Coordinators have done, I think, very transparently and fully to the Security Council.  We will check with them on these specific incidents that you’ve mentioned…

Correspondent:  This incident… when [Nickolay] Mladenov was the coordinator, he issued a statement about Ahmad Erekat, who was murdered at Bethlehem checkpoint because it was… they let him bleed to death.  There was a statement, because it’s not a regular thing just to report at the end of the month…

Spokesman:  No, no, I understand.  I understand.  We will check with the Special Coordinator’s office.

Question:  Another question… may I?

Spokesman:  Elena… yes, please.  Go ahead.

Question:  Okay.  An American reporter, when he said half of the Israeli population were vaccinated and I can guess that only Jewish half, he was accused of being anti‑Semite.  However, I want to quote what the Israeli health minister said on 20… 21 June… on 21 January.  He said, Israeli obligation to vaccinate Palestinians is as much as the obligation to the health of the dolphins in the Mediterranean.  So, what… how you call that kind of a statement?

Spokesman:  Look, I’m not going to start commenting on what was said on SNL [Saturday Night Live].  It’s not for me to get into.  I haven’t seen the statement from the Israeli minister you refer.  We have… we have called from here for Israel to do greater cooperation with the Palestinian Authorities in line with its obligations to ensure that the vaccine gets to the population… the Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

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