12 JANUARY 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.  Israel this morning decided to go ahead and construct 800 settlement units, and Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu said we should start today and not wait for next week, which means they want to take advantage of the last few days of the [Donald] Trump Administration.  That is one question and, as I always, ask why there is no reaction from the UN immediately and… because of this transition between the two coordinators.  So, the Israelis are expediting their operation.  The second question, which is related also, B’Tselem, which is the Israeli human rights group, said in a report that, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, there are about 12 million, and only Jews are entitled to be considered Jewish citizens, and that is called apartheid, and it has no other name but apartheid.  Do you agree with their analysis?  And if you don’t, can you please define what that kind of system is?  Thank you.

Spokesman:  Look, on your second question, I have no comment on B’Tselem’s own analysis.  Our analysis of the situation is laid out extremely clearly on a regular basis to the Security Council on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  We report and we denounce measures regularly, including the building of illegal settlements.

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For information media. Not an official record.