28 JULY 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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Middle East

Lynn Hastings, the Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, who is also the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, briefed the Security Council this morning on humanitarian efforts following the fighting in Israel and Gaza in May.

She noted that, according to the Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) issued by the UN, the World Bank and the EU earlier this month, damages in Gaza are estimated at between $290 million and $380 million, while economic losses may reach nearly $200 million.

She said that international efforts — coordinated by the United Nations — to implement the humanitarian response and stabilize the situation on the ground in Gaza are well under way.  Thus far, some $45 million (out of a requested $95 million) has been raised for the consolidated humanitarian flash appeal published by the UN in May.

Ms. Hastings said that it is essential that Israel implement additional measures to allow unhindered entry of all humanitarian assistance, including materials to implement the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan and the Flash Appeal.

She also called on the Palestinian Authority to ensure that the death of Nizar Banat and all allegations of use of disproportionate force against protestors by Palestinian Security Forces are investigated in a thorough, transparent and independent manner and that those responsible be held to account.

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Questions and Answers

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Question:  Thank you, Farhan.  In her speech to the Security Council, the Deputy Special Coordinator repeatedly urged Israel not to confiscate Palestinian land.  She asked Israel not to use force against civilians.  It asked Israel again and again.  It keeps repeating that.  Is that what the U… all that the UN can do regarding a country that violates international law, urge and ask and appeal?  That’s all?

Deputy Spokesman:  That’s not all that we do.  We back up our appeals with on-the-ground diplomacy, but clearly, one of the tools in our toolbox is briefings to the Security Council and getting the Security Council not simply to know about the situation but also to act upon it, and that is what Ms. Hastings is doing today.

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For information media. Not an official record.