22 MARCH 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:  Thank you, Farhan.  I have two questions on major developments in the occupied Palestinian territories.  Probably you mentioned that last week.  I missed the briefings last… all last week.  So, the Israeli court decided to expel five Palestinian families from the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.  That will bring, I mean, almost a total control of this neighbourhood, which is a Palestinian neighbourhood.  And these houses will be granted to settlers.  So, is there a statement?  Is there a follow‑up on this major development?  And the second, which is related, also Israel decided to take a neighbourhood in the city of Silwan, adjacent of Jerusalem, to build a biblical park… a biblical park, in a Palestinian neighbourhood.  So, I don’t hear any statement.  I don’t hear the UN saying anything except those repeatedly statement in the monthly briefing.  But, these are major developments.  Why there’s no clear‑cut statement from the Special Representative?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, the Special [Coordinator] is following up, and of course, you’re aware of our continuing concerns at any efforts to change the demographic composition of these areas.  We’ve made those very clear, and he will continue to make his concerns clear, both with the parties on the ground and with the Security Council.  But, certainly, we are concerned about the developments you’ve mentioned, and we will continue to follow up, including, like I said, with the Security Council.  Evelyn?

Question:  That is more of an ethnic cleansing rather than just even as colonisation.  It’s more than that, expelling Palestinian people from their homes.

Deputy Spokesman:  I’ll leave you to your opinion, but certainly, we’re also expressing our own concerns on this matter.

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For information media. Not an official record.