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New York, 23/04/2021 – 09:47, UNIQUE ID: 210423_6

Mr President,

Members of the Security Council,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union

The EU reaffirms its commitment to a just and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the two state solution, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign, and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition.

The EU reaffirms that there is no alternative to a negotiated two state solution. The status-quo is not an option, as the viability of the two state solution is constantly being eroded by new facts on the ground. The EU urges both parties to demonstrate their stated commitment to the two state solution through concrete actions. Actions by either side which call into question their stated commitment to a negotiated solution must be avoided. The EU will actively support the parties to restore confidence and create an environment of trust necessary to engage in meaningful negotiations as soon as possible.

In this regard, the EU has welcomed the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and a number of recent countries in recent months, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.  The EU believes that these developments represent a positive contribution to peace and stability in the Middle East.

The preservation of the viability of the two state solution is at the core of EU policy and will remain a priority. In this regard, and recalling that settlements are illegal under international law, the EU reiterates its strong opposition to Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in this context, such as building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, demolitions and confiscation – including of EU funded projects – evictions, forced transfers including of Bedouins, illegal outposts, settler violence and restrictions of movement and access. These actions seriously threaten the two state solution. Settlement activity in East Jerusalem seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both states. The EU will continue to closely monitor developments on the ground and their broader implications and remains ready to take further action in order to protect the viability of the two state solution.

The EU calls for all parties to take swift steps to produce a fundamental change to the political, security and economic situation in the Gaza Strip, including the end of the closure and a full opening of the crossing points, while addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns. Rocket fire by militant groups is unacceptable. All stakeholders must commit to non-violence and peace.

Strong, inclusive, accountable and functioning democratic Palestinian institutions based on the respect for the rule of law and human rights are vital for the two-state solution. In this context, the EU has welcomed the decree-law by President Abbas on holding legislative, presidential and National Council elections in the coming months, starting with legislative elections on 22 May. This is an important development as participative, representative and accountable democratic institutions are key for Palestinian self-determination and state-building.  The EU calls upon all Palestinian factions to unequivocally commit to democratic principles prior to elections. The EU has consistently supported the work of the Central Elections Commission and reaffirms its willingness to engage with relevant actors in support of the electoral process.  We call on Israel to facilitate the EU in monitoring the electoral process, and in this context we hope that the EU election expert mission will soon receive the authorisation to travel. The EU also calls on the Israeli authorities to facilitate the holding of elections across all of the Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem, in line with the Oslo accords.

The EU reiterates its deep and genuine appreciation for UNRWA’s work and for its dedicated staff who are working in an extremely difficult and challenging context.  UNRWA is an essential provider of vital services to millions of Palestine refugees, and a stabilising force in the region. Until a just, fair, agreed and realistic solution to the Palestinian refugee issue in accordance with international law is found, UNRWA remains crucial for providing the necessary protection and essential services for Palestinian refugees, and we will continue to support UNRWA in all its fields of operations, including in East Jerusalem. The EU welcomes the additional financial support from other and new donors and calls upon all partners to increase their contributions to UNRWA

Securing a just and lasting peace will require an increased common international effort. The EU will work actively on a renewed multilateral approach to the peace process in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including partners in the Quartet, notably the US, in the region and the United Nations Security Council.

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