30 AUGUST 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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Middle East

And as you may have followed, this morning, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, briefed the Security Council on the situation in the region.  He said that three months after the deadly escalation between Israel and militants in Gaza the situation remains tense, with militants launching incendiary balloons on multiple occasions and Israeli Defense Forces firing missiles.

Mr. Wennesland called on all sides to show restraint, avoid provocations at the fence and keep the protests peaceful.  He added that the UN continues to engage all sides to maintain calm and provide urgent assistance to residents of Gaza.  In addition, he urged Israelis to cease the demolition and seizure of Palestinian property throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law.  He also welcomed Qatar’s contribution of $40 million over four months to the UN to provide cash assistance to some 100,000 needy families in Gaza and thanked donors who contributed some $45 million to the requested $95 million during the humanitarian flash appeal.  His full remarks are online.

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Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  Mr. Wennesland, in his remarks, he mentioned that the Palestinian Authority arrested 29 Palestinian peace activists, human right defenders.  Did that… did he in any way contact the PA and raise the issue, or just he was reporting that from the press report…

Spokesman:  My understanding, I mean, we’ve been in contact with the PA over the last few months on this issue.

Question:  Okay.  And the…

Spokesman:  Okay?

Question:  …second question…

Spokesman:  Yes.

Question:  …he didn’t mention the case of Miss Anhar al‑Deek, whom I raised her issues several times.  She’s giving birth any day now in her prison cell.  Do you have any answer to that concern?

Spokesman:  I don’t.  I mean, Mr. Wennesland, I think, gave a very thorough briefing of the situation on the ground.  Obviously, there are always specific humanitarian cases.  I think the fact that he may not have mentioned one specific case doesn’t take away from the importance of every case.

For information media. Not an official record.