Delivered By: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
I thank the Special Coordinator, Mr. Tor Wennesland, for his comprehensive briefing and his efforts against a gravely alarming backdrop. I am also grateful to Dr. James Zogby for his important remarks today.
Colleagues, it is crucial that the warnings we have heard today are heeded.
Last week’s events mark a dangerous escalation, that much is clear.
But, we must acknowledge that they represent the logical outcome of a moribund peace process.
As others have said here today, the situation is approaching the point of no-return, risking a complete breakdown of any semblance of stability and security.
The specter of the Intifada and the widespread violence that gripped Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory more than two decades ago looms perilously large.
Colleagues, we are courting disaster if we do not collectively work to avoid that outcome at all costs, accordingly, I wish to make three points:
First, the situation is long past expressions of concern and condemnation. The Security Council and the international community must assume their responsibilities and move beyond the evidently-failed status quo.
It is time for determined, intensified action to help de-escalate the situation on the ground, and revive the peace process.
This means greater diplomatic efforts at both the regional and international levels.
The international community must also firmly underscore to the parties that incitement begets incitement, violence begets violence, and security is ephemeral in the absence of justice, rule of law, and accountability.
This Council must be unequivocal in its rejection of all illegal actions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including those at the core of the current heightened tensions.
That includes the repeated and violent incursions by Israel into Palestinian cities and villages, especially in Nablus and Jenin most recently. During this month, we also witnessed the first aerial bombardment in the West Bank since 2002 – another data point of an alarming deterioration on the ground that should set this Council’s alarm bells ringing.
Second, the incitement to violence risks undermining what remains of the hard-won gains of the past and could result in regional spillover as well.
In a visit to an illegal outpost far in the interior of the West Bank, an Israeli senior official celebrated the settlement and called for the killing of thousands of Palestinians. This must be identified for what it is: dangerous and irresponsible incitement to violence.
It must be condemned without prevarication.
Statements such as this from the highest levels of government fuel grievances and stoke tensions.
Leaders should use their influential positions to responsibly renounce and condemn hatred and violence, not feed them.
Two weeks ago, this Council adopted landmark resolution 2686. It recognized hate speech as a contributor to fueling grievance and driving the outbreak and escalation of conflict.
There is no place on earth where the raw elements of conflict fueled by hate speech are so evident.
We saw this play out with the burning of copies of the Quran by Israeli settlers last week in Nablus.
Illegal practices in Jerusalem, particularly the repeated storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque, continue to be a source of domestic and regional tensions. At a time when the region desperately needs peace and stability after decades of conflict, it is imperative to prevent such spillover.
The sanctity of religious sites and places of worship must be upheld.
Third, all parties must refrain from unilateral measures and return to the commitments made most recently during the Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh meetings. This is the only viable way forward.
The latest advancements to Israel’s settlement policies, namely the approval of a law to ease and expedite settlement activities and the retroactive legalization of outposts, are but two in a long list of alarming developments undermining prospects for the two-State solution and moving us all towards a one state reality.
We unreservedly condemn the announcement by the Israeli government of over 5,700 new settlement units, making this year one of the highest in terms of settlement unit approvals. The Secretary-General’s latest report on resolution 2334 also outlines this unprecedented pace of settlement expansion. Israel’s settlement activities violate international law and constitute a major obstacle to peace.
The UAE further calls on Israel to put an immediate stop to terrorist attacks by settlers, such as those that took place in the town of Turmus ‘Ayya, and to prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.
In this vein, we welcome the recent contact between President Herzog and President Abbas earlier today – in which President Herzog condemned the settler rampages in the West Bank.
Additionally, we take note of the comments from the Israeli Defense Minister, emphasizing that the settlers who perpetrated violence against Palestinian citizens will be brought to justice.
We look forward to seeing this accountability process realized in line with Israel’s obligations to protect Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Once more, the UAE reiterates its commitment to the two-State solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel, in peace, security, and mutual recognition.
We must not let go of that objective in this chamber. Our words and actions matter too much for the future of both peoples and the entire region.