UNSC: Meeting on the Situation in Palestine
By Lizzie McGowan
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process
Nickolay E. Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East process, regretted that the security dynamics in Israel and Syria have continued to deteriorate. To make matters worse, the tensions in the Gaza strip have reached a boiling point. The demolition of Palestinian holy sites and structures have increased tensions because Israel has used it as a way to work around the temporary halt of establishing illegal Jewish settlements.
Put simply, the situation has taken a deadly turn for the worse. Violence around the border fence continues as Palestinians attempt to penetrate it. In addition, they are sending molotov cocktail kites to destroy the Israeli agricultural land.
The international community has put forth various economic initiatives to help Palestine. However, these efforts will be futile, if we cannot establish stability. To do this, we must work towards reconciliation. As previously mentioned, Israel continues to demolish Palestinian structures. This activity undermines the contiguity of a Palestinian state by breaking its territory into fragments, which would make a two state solution impossible.
If a permanent peace agreement were to be realized, Israel must cease operations that run contrary to international law.
Palestinians deserve to live their life in dignity and Israelis deserve to live their lives in peace without fear of rock launches and terrorist attacks.
Ambassador Riyad Mansour of Palestine cited the constitutions of France and the US, which underscore that all men are created equal. With this ideal enshrined in their constitutions it is ironic that they do not stand up to the human rights abuses faced by the Palestinian people.
As Israel continues its unlawful occupation, the Palestinians continue to suffer from military aggressions and the sea blockade. Unfortunately, the illegal Israeli settlements continue to diplace and terrorize the Palestinian people.
One generation after the other, they continue to be face with the same humanitarian violations and denial of determining their own destinies.
Recently, the advent of the new "Jewish Nation-State Law" is another display of Israel’s blatant and systematic racism. Quite frankly, this is another form of apartheid meant to make Palestinians, who are living in Israel, feel unwelcomed.
To back up his claims of racism, Ambassador Mansour made a striking comparison of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the treatment of African Americans in the southern US. The Palestinians are faced with a nuanced form of Jim Crow laws. Amb. Mansour lauded his allies, who were also previously occupied by foreign powers, in the meeting and emphasized that they are connected by shared experiences of occupation and trauma.
Ambassador Danny Danon cited the humanitarian efforts of the Israeli government in aiding the Palestinians. He asserted that contrary to the inaccurate propaganda spread among the member states of the UN, Israel cares about the well-being of the Palestinian people. However, Israel “draws the line”, when it comes to terrorism. Consequently, he proclaimed that Istael will in no way aid or abet Hamas terrorists with humanitarian aid.
He further explained that the international community's actions against Israel must cease. Recently, an IDF soldier was killed by a Hamas terrorist. As a result, Israel will not negotiate any deal that infringes upon its ability to defend itself.
The ambassador further claimed the lies and embellishments of other speeches in the council were designed to make Israel look like the villains in conflict. He also expressed his confusion about why council insisted on not working with Israel, let alone sit next to an Israeli delegate in the council. The diatribe ended with his assertion hat “Israeli bashing” does not serve the interests of the Palestinian people.
Ambassador Nikki Haley contended that 7,500 acres of land in Israel have been destroyed by Hamas. The recent violent events were provoked by Hamas and Israel is rightly defending its people. She noted that "Talk is cheap" especially among some of their Arab partners.
She also explained that if the Arab countries really supported the Palestinians, then they would have provided sufficient humanitarian aid to them. Furthermore, she mentioned that if you were to judge a state by its rhetoric, then would think the US did not care about the Palestinian people. However, as of July 2018, the US has donated 6 billion dollars in the form of humanitarian aid relief.
Ambassador Pierce began her statement by commemorating the troubling recent death of an IDF soldier. She urged both parties to work together to find peace and work towards a two-state solution with Jerusalem as the shared capital.
In addition, she explained that Hamas must stop sending "burning kites and rockets" into Israel, and Israel must stop their demolitions and humanitarian abuses. Hamas’ actions must cease in order to reach a peaceful two-state solution.
Coupled with violence, provocation, and the displacement of peoples by Israel, the road to peace will be a difficult one.
The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden
H.E. Mr. Karel J.G. van Oosterom raised a sharp rhetorical question, "Are the Jews the only ones entitled to a sovereign state?" He answered his question by stressing the importance of Palestine being free to determine its destiny and independence. He further called upon all states to support a two-state solution. The representatives of France and Peru shared similar views.
The Ambassador of Poland expressed his concerns over reoccurring rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel as well as relentless shelling from Israel. Furthermore, the Ambassador specified that Poland’s main goal is to achieve the peace process.
Ambassador Olaf Skog of Sweden reaffirmed Nikolay E. Mlandenov’s report by acknowledging the situation between the Palestinians and Israelis has deteriorated. Unfortunately, the many calls for peace have either fallen on deaf ears or have gotten derailed by a provocative action from either side. In this vein, expressed he concern over the use of disproportionate force from Israel. Put simply, this kind of warfare is not acceptable.
Following these points, he pointed out that globally women are too often left out of the peace process. This is evident in Palestinian and Israeli conflict. He pledge that Sweden would continue to work to involve Palestinian women and show young people that violence is not the way.
Côte d'Ivoire and Morocco
Ambassador Bernard Tanoh-Boutchoue of Côte d'Ivoire called on all stakeholders involved to use restraint. The dire situation in Gaza is exacerbated by the blockade and depressed economy. A two-state solution is the only way to resolve the issue.
Additionally, Ambassador Omar Hilale of Morocco, proclaimed that Israel has used excessive force against civilians. Further, its acts of provocation do not bring about peace and complicate hopes for a two state solution.
Bolivia and Brazil
Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenti Soliz of the Bolivia citied the July 22nd UN report issued, which states that fuel supply in Palestine is set to run out by August. He further specified that action must be taken to prevent a deteriorating humanitarian situation from getting worse. He also expressed the international community's failure, in particular, the UNSC’s failure, has significantly contributed to deterioration in the peace process.
Ambassador Mauro Vieira of Brazil voiced his concern over the status of Jerusalem, illegal demolitions, and Israeli aggression. Like his counterparts, Brazil is also concerned about the worsening situation in Syria.
Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi proclaimed that the dream of Palestinians was to be free. Further, Israel proves time and time again they are above the law and are virtually champions of impunity. The new Nation-State law reinforces the inhumane actions and racism against the Palestinian people.
Ambassador Al-Mouallimi further addressed the violence by the Houthi’s in Yemen and that Iran must stop their provocative actions. Iran's rockets in Yemen only worsen the conflict and endanger the lives of innocent Yemenis. Further, he argued that Iran is responsible for destabilization in the region and its desire is only to spread their extremist ideology.
Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam
Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani of Indonesia noted the failures of recent UNSC resolutions on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Djani emphasized the will of the majority rules on paper, but no significant action has taken place to aid the Palestinians.
Additionally, Ambassador Datuk Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob of Malaysia mentioned the international community must hold Israel accountable for its inhumane actions. He hopes to see Israel and Palestine peacefully co-existing with a two state solution.
Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga of Vietnam mirrored his regional colleagues in the council. He also reaffirmed his support for Palestine and expressed his desire for Israel and Palestine to work towards re-establishing the pre-1967 borders.