16 JUNE 2021

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

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Questions and Answers

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Question:  Thanks, Farhan.  As I’m sure you know, last night, there was escalating violence again in the Middle East, incendiary balloons coming from Gaza, air strikes from the Israelis into Gaza.  Does the Secretary-General have any reaction to that, any concerns about what this means for the so-called ceasefire?

Deputy Spokesman:  Yeah, what I can say about that is that the Secretary-General expresses concern over the most recent round of violence.  It calls for the full respect of the ceasefire agreed on 20 May.  He would like to see the cessation of hostilities be maintained and solidified in order to give space for the relevant parties to work out arrangements to stabilize the situation.

UN Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland is continuing his diplomatic engagements with all sides towards that aim.

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Question:  Yes, Farhan.  I have two, in fact.  First, in 1968, Farhan, Israel decided to do a military parade in East Jerusalem in violation of resolution 242.  Security Council met and adopted resolution 250…

Deputy Spokesman:  Abdelhamid, before we go too far, I want to make it clear, this is meant to be an informational briefing.  So, if you have a question, please get to the question.  I’m aware that you have your various other points.  [cross talk]

Question:  I have a question.

Deputy Spokesman:  Yes.  Okay.  Go ahead.

Question:  Is Israel in violation of international law when they conducted the flag parade yesterday in east… Occupied East Jerusalem?  I need a straightforward answer.  Was Israel in violation of international law or not?

Deputy Spokesman:  What I can tell you is that we’ve made clear what our concerns are.  We want… again, for us, the main priority at this stage is the ceasefire, which, as we’ve said several times over the past week, is still a fragile one and needs to be shored up.

We want to make sure that the cessation of hostilities are maintained and solidified, and we are working against any actions that can put that cessation of hostilities in danger.  So, that is what we’re doing.

At this stage, the UN is in contact with all relevant parties on matters related to the cessation of hostilities, and we’ll try to see what arrangements can be put in place to stabilize the situation.

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Question:  Yeah, just follow-up.  Today, there’s a young woman… [inaudible] a 29-year-old.  She was shot and killed with no [inaudible] at the checkpoint near the village of Hizma near Jerusalem.  Are you aware of this incident, too?

Deputy Spokesman:  We’re trying to collect all of the various bits of data around incidents of violence that have occurred, and we are trying to do what we can to make sure that all violence is halted.

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For information media. Not an official record.