Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
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I thank the Special Coordinator, Mr. Tor Wennesland, for his comprehensive briefing, and for his continued contributions to de-escalate the situation, especially in the recent period. We also thank Ms. Tania Hary for her briefing, which underscored the difficult conditions in the Gaza Strip.
Our meeting today takes place during a month that has been marked by grave developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. These events further contribute to the ongoing escalation since the start of this year – despite this Council’s numerous meetings and the international community’s repeated calls to halt all unilateral measures. The current situation portends additional concerning repercussions. As such, there is a need to make significant progress towards restoring calm and charting a clear political path that paves the way towards ending this conflict and achieving the two-State solution.
We must acknowledge that recurring provocative actions are driving this continued escalation – the results of which will not be in the interest of any party. The events witnessed this month in both the Gaza Strip and Israel serves as a testament to this. There must be a clear commitment to cease all hostilities and illegal practices, and to exercise maximum restraint to avoid being drawn into unprecedented levels of violence and large-scale confrontations.
In this context, we condemn the Israeli raids that targeted areas in the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the killing and injuring of civilians, including women and children. We also condemn the incendiary speeches during the flag march as well as the repeated storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by extremists as well as by members of the Knesset and other members of the Israeli government, the latest of which was carried out this Sunday by Minister Ben-Gvir. These provocations, which resulted in clashes only days after reaching a cease-fire in Gaza, underline the extreme fragility of the situation and the high levels of tension.
We reiterate once again our firm position calling for the full protection of Al-Aqsa Mosque and to respect the role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as a custodian of the holy sites and endowments in Jerusalem in accordance with international law. We also underscore the urgent need to renounce hate speech and violence, particularly in areas rife with tension.
While the parties involved bear the responsibility for de-escalation, we underscore the important contributions made by regional and international mediators to contain the situation and promote peace. The latest of which is the relentless efforts made by the Arab Republic of Egypt to reach a ceasefire, restore calm in Gaza and halt the loss of civilians’ life. It is imperative that the international community continue to work in the coming period to sustainably maintain and strengthen the ceasefire, while also exploring new paths to create an environment that is conducive to peace as well as a political horizon that will bring the parties back to the negotiating table. In this regard, we look forward to building upon the Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh meetings, while focusing on the progress achieved during these talks.
The humanitarian and economic conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory remain a matter of great concern. This is particularly worrying for the Gaza Strip, which cannot withstand further escalation. The local population is already grappling with high levels of poverty and unemployment, while also trying to recover from the events of recent years. We welcome this month’s meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) to discuss the challenges of improving the economic conditions of the Palestinian people and potential solutions.
We note, however, that improving living conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory requires, above all, stopping the ongoing settlement activities, demolitions, displacement, and restrictions on the movement of people and goods. These constitute violations of international law, including international humanitarian law, and further exacerbate the humanitarian and economic conditions. We condemn the Israeli government’s order to establish a permanent presence in one of outpost in the northern West Bank and any attempts to legitimize these settlement outposts.
Finally, Madam President, we affirm the call made in the final communique of the Arab League Summit held in Jeddah last week to intensify efforts to reach a comprehensive and just settlement of the Palestinian issue in accordance with the agreed upon international references, particularly the Arab Peace Initiative as well as the relevant international resolutions. We stress that the Palestinian people deserve to live in security, peace, and dignity.
Thank you, Madam President.