UNSC Briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFING AND CONSULTATIONS ON THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST-THE QUESTION OF PALESTINE
I join in thanking Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his comprehensive briefing on the overall situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question, and welcome, in this regard, the briefing on the detailed measures being undertaken to restore calm in observed hotspots and to activate processes towards the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
We also welcome the participation of the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine and the Permanent Representative of the State of Israel in today’s meeting.
We note that while the new Israeli government could still contribute to stability in the Middle East, some of its early actions have given cause for concern regarding the prospect of peace, especially as it relates to the two-State solution. We have since 28th December 2022 been concerned by evolving developments, including (i) the pledge to annex the occupied West Bank, as part of the priority to “advance and develop settlement in all parts of the land of Israel”; (ii) the ban imposed on Palestinian flags in public spaces on 7th January 2023 and the attempt to associate national symbols of the Palestinian people with terrorism; (iii) the restrictions placed on the movement of Palestinian Authority officials, including the suspension of the travel permit of Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Maliki and three other high officials of the PA; and (iv) the seizure of Palestinian tax revenue.
We know that the price to be paid for peace is usually high, but the cost of conflict is not worth finding out. We therefore hope that the government of Israel would see beyond short-term national considerations to invest the needed time and efforts in restoring trust with the Palestinian Authority for sustainable peace, building upon past initiatives and seeking new possibilities.
Peace is, however, not a one-way activity. The Palestinian Authority on its part needs to work with Israel and, indeed, with all actors across the Palestinian nation to control the unauthorized use of violence by armed and militant groups whose actions do not serve the cause of peace nor the ultimate aspiration of Palestinian statehood. We urge all militant groups to channel their energies towards a robust political process that can deliver the much-needed peace.
The State of Israel has over the years tried earnestly to burnish its democracy, good governance, and rule of law in the Middle East and therefore when its policies and practices veer off global expectations, it creates great disappointments, regardless of the imperatives. We hope that its institutions would continue to be strengthened and their independence guaranteed.
We also hope that in pursuing its security concerns, the State of Israel would be mindful of its obligations under international law concerning the near-daily raids that have led to the arrest of hundreds of Palestinians; the demolition of several Palestinian homes and properties; and the increasing incidence of human right abuses, violations, and detentions without charge or trial against Palestinians, especially in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.
As we have stated in the past, we are deeply concerned about the interminable cycle of violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem and believe that a varied and international law-compliant approach is required in addressing the security concerns of Israel. We are equally concerned by the acts of terrorism perpetrated against Israeli citizens.
We remind the parties of their obligations under international law and several resolutions of this Council and urge them to refrain from unilateral action that obstruct and undermine efforts aimed at achieving a comprehensive and just settlement of the decades-old conflict. We continue to be concerned by the plight of the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza and reaffirm our support for the work of UNRWA in providing much needed humanitarian assistance.
In closing, Ghana reaffirms her belief that the path for lasting peace and stability in the Middle East is through the two-State solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side within secure and recognized borders, on the basis of the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian State.
We reiterate our commitment to support a meaningful peace process that can eventually provide the framework for a peaceful and prosperous Middle East Region.
I thank you for your kind attention.