The United Nations top envoy for the Middle East peace process told the Security Council today that hopes for a two-State solution have been dashed with Israel moving forward with illegal settlement activity at a high rate since late June.
“Continuing settlement expansion, most notably during this period in occupied East Jerusalem, is making the two-State solution increasingly unattainable and undermining Palestinian belief in international peace efforts,” Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov told Council members. Violence against civilians and incitement had also perpetuated mutual fear and suspicion, impeding efforts to bridge gaps between the two sides.
Over the last three months, Israel had not stopped settlement activities, as called for by Council resolution 2334 (2016), he said. In occupied East Jerusalem, plans were advanced for more than 2,300 housing units in July, 30 per cent more than for the whole of 2016.
According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the destruction of Palestinian-owned property across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, continued; albeit at a significantly lower rate, he said.
Violence persisted as one of the main obstacles to resolving the conflict, he underscored. Nineteen Palestinians had been killed in attacks, clashes and Israeli military operations. Further, eight Israelis had been killed in clashes and attacks, including three Israeli-Arab perpetrators of the 14 July attacks against two Israeli policemen in Jerusalem’s Old City. After three months of quiet, on three separate occasions, Palestinian militants fired rockets towards Israel with no injuries reported, he said. In response, the Israeli Defense Forces conducted five airstrikes in Gaza, resulting in three Palestinians being injured.
While all initiatives to improve the Palestinian economy were welcome, much more needed to be done to support the political process aimed at establishing Palestinian statehood. Economic development was no substitute for sovereignty and statehood.
[From meeting notes of Security Council meeting 8054]