NEW YORK – 21 July 2020 – On behalf of the Group of Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in its capacity as Chair, the UAE urged the international community to salvage the prospects of peace between Palestine and Israel during the UN Security Council quarterly open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question.

“At a time when there is a worrying rise in COVID-19 cases, Israel’s plan to unilaterally annex vast swathes of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) remains a looming threat,” the UAE stated in the formal submission to the Security Council. “OIC Member States are deeply concerned about these developments, which pose health, economic, social, and security challenges in the OPT…We are determined to support the Palestinian people and protect the two-state solution, with a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel in peace, security and mutual recognition.”

OIC Member States urged the international community to continue to exert pressure on Israel to prevent annexation plans, having repeatedly stated their rejection of annexation. They reiterated that the unilateral actions undermine the peace process and would have grave consequences for the stability and security of the region and beyond. In this regard, they demanded that Israel stop all its illegal actions, including wall and settlement construction, land confiscation, and the demolition of homes and properties.

They also expressed concerns about Israeli restrictions on access to Islamic and Christian holy sites in the city of Jerusalem. They commended the efforts of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al-Hussein, the custodian of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Al-Quds Al-Sharif, in protecting and preserving the city and its Islamic and Christian identity, as well as the continued efforts exerted by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee.

OIC Member States encouraged that key international actors work towards breaking the deadlock and launching a credible, time-bound, and multilateral-sponsored political process in accordance with the established terms of reference. They also emphasized the crucial role of the UN Security Council in supporting a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict.

Furthermore, OIC Member States stressed that the international community assist the OPT in responding effectively to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, noting that support should focus on enhancing the capacity of the health system, particularly in the Gaza Strip, in addition to mitigating the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. They also strongly encouraged funding the UN COVID-19 Response Plan for the OPT and UNRWA’s Flash Appeal for the COVID-19 response. Additionally, on the deteriorating humanitarian and economic situation in the OPT, the Member States stated that the international community should not ignore the alarming trends that severely impact the livelihood of Palestinians and the peace effort.

OIC Member States reiterated their call to support the Palestinian people in exercising their legitimate rights, including their right to self-determination and sovereignty over the territory of the State of Palestine, based on the 4 June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. They called for Israel’s full withdrawal from the Occupied Syrian Golan to the borders of 4 June 1967 in accordance with Security Council resolutions. They also further affirmed the need to preserve the unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and social harmony of Syria, and reiterate support for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, consistent with Council resolution 2254 (2015).