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Statement at the UNSC briefing on the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question

Thank you very much Madam President.

We strongly endorse your report Tor. This Council must consider very seriously how to respond to the extremely worrying situation on the ground, and I would like to echo your own remark Tor that a serious escalation is avoidable. 

Madam President,

As the Secretary-General has said, the ongoing holy days for Muslims, Jews, and Christians should be a period of peace and reflection.  Ireland is deeply concerned by the violence in Jerusalem over the past two weekends, particularly at Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount.

Ireland reiterates that the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem must be upheld and respected, with full respect for Jordan’s custodial role, to ensure existing worship rights.  Excessive and disproportionate use of force by Israeli security forces exacerbates an already tense situation.

We have heard the Special Coordinator outline the number of Palestinian deaths and injuries in recent weeks in incidents across the West Bank. We remain extremely concerned at the loss of civilian lives, including of women and children. Israel as the occupying power must ensure that its security forces exercise the utmost care to preserve civilian life.

Madam President,

It is clear to Ireland that unresolved conflicts –especially those with no discernible political horizon– breed instability, extremism and violence.

Ireland joins other members of this Council in condemning terrorism, and all attacks against innocent Israelis and Palestinians. We never underestimate the suffering violence causes, nor the obstacles it puts in the way of peace.  Resolving conflict is not to give in to the terrorists, instead it is to overcome the terrorists. 

Madam President,

All of us around this table know that instability, violence and extremism easily spread across international borders.  We also know, indeed too well, that a security response alone cannot address the issue. A credible political horizon is both vital and urgent.  

Unresolved conflicts between peoples – and long-running occupations – inexorably lead to violations of the rights of individuals.  The rights of the Palestinians to equality, to live without discrimination, to self-determination, to justice and to peaceful coexistence.  The rights of Israelis to live in peace and security. The rights of Palestinian and Israeli youth to build a future where peace is not just an aspiration, but a reality.

Unresolved conflicts are also inconsistent with – and eventually undermine - international law, including international humanitarian law, and international human rights law.  This is especially true of this unresolved conflict.  This Council has a duty to act. 

Madam President, 

Today we call the Council’s attention, yet again, to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

If there is one thing that could be done now to preserve the possibility of an eventual negotiated solution between the parties and open a horizon for hope, it would be to put an end to settlement expansion. It is possible. It should be done.

Not only are continued settlements wrong in and of themselves, the associated infrastructure encroaches on scarce Palestinian land and resources. We are concerned by the rise in severe settler violence incidents. The Israeli authorities must address these issues comprehensively and without delay. Those responsible for carrying out violent attacks must be held fully accountable.

The Palestinian institutions must work together to build greater democratic legitimacy, so that they can in turn build the confidence and the esteem of the Palestinian people in their capacity to lead them towards a peaceful and sustainable solution.  

The Palestinian people need concrete international support. Conscious of the mounting financial and interlinked humanitarian challenges they face, Ireland will continue to play its part, including through its support for UNRWA, which remains so critical to regional stability.  Ireland calls on others, particularly those in the region, to step up and to match their political commitments with the financial resources needed to enable the Agency to continue to provide vital services to Palestine refugees. 

Ireland will continue to support Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict through a negotiated two-state solution, on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements. 

Thank you.



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