New York | January 19, 2022 – Today the Council held its quarterly open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. The meeting was chaired by H.E. Anniken Huitfeldt, Foreign Minister of Norway. The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, and two civil society representatives from EcoPeace, Ms. Nada Majdalani Mr. Gidon Bromberg, were invited to brief the Council. There were 39 speakers that took the floor in the debate.
Tor Wennesland informed the Council about the deteriorating security situation on the ground and the ongoing violence, involving settler attacks on Palestinians and Palestinian attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians. Eviction of Palestinians from Sheik Jarrah neighborhood and the demolishing of their homes, the further expansion of settlements received special attention. “If these developments are not reversed and the prospect of two-state solution kept alive, it is only a matter of time before the irreversible collapse and widespread instability,” warned Wennesland.
During the open debate, most speakers endorsed the UN framework for the peaceful resolution and called on both parties to refrain from unilateral actions such as the continuous expansion of settlements in occupied territories to allow for a two-state solution and uphold international law, especially the obligation to protect civilians, pursuing its security policies. They also reiterated the need to restart the peace process and renew the will for meaningful negotiations.
In his speech, Ambassador Hoxha highlighted the importance of practical steps and measures to build trust among the parties to allow for a two-state solution with Jerusalem as a shared capital. Fully supporting the right of Israel to defend itself, the Ambassador stressed “the need to respect full and equal rights of both Israelis and Palestinians in order to achieve a just and last solution where both respective populations live in peace, security, and dignity.”