Statement at UNSC briefing on the Middle East, Incl. the Palestinian Question
Statement28 November 2022
Thank you President and thank you Special Coordinator Wennesland for your briefing, which as you say sets out the very bleak picture of the situation on the ground
Tor, you warned last month that 2022 is on course to become the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory since OCHA began documenting in 2005.
Unfortunately, as the situation in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, continues to deteriorate, we are moving quickly and closer to this sobering reality.
We are deeply disturbed by continued reports of the use of excessive force by Israeli Security Forces.
OCHA has reported that between the 25th October and 7th of November alone, 15 Palestinians, including 3 children, were killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. The continuing killing of children is reprehensible.
Ireland deplores all attacks against civilians, in Israel or the occupied Palestinian territory.
We condemn in the strongest terms the attacks on civilians with explosive devices in Jerusalem last week in which two people were killed, and the recent stabbings in which three Israeli citizens were killed near the settlement of Ariel.
Terrorism and violence are never justified and they only serve to increase tensions at a time when urgent de-escalation should be the priority.
Every month for the past two years in this chamber, Ireland has reiterated the urgent need for a just, inclusive and lasting solution to the conflict.
Regrettably, the prospects of meaningful negotiations between the parties on realising a two-State solution are as remote today as when we joined the Council two years ago.
It is equally clear that the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory is unsustainable and it is likely to deteriorate further if we do not establish a genuine political horizon.
I would like to emphasis a number of issues that undermine prospects for resumed negotiations that would allow for the realization of a two-State solution, and the right of Palestinians to self-determination.
In particular, today, we wish to stress the urgent need for accountability in the occupied Palestinian territory. Accountability is a cornerstone of a political horizon and a meaningful peace process.
The pervasive culture of impunity in response to excessive use of force by Israeli Security Forces, as well as to incidents of settler violence, is deeply concerning. So long as this culture of impunity persists, and the root causes of conflict remain unaddressed, conflict and violence will continue throughout the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel.
Ireland calls for accountability in respect of all civilian deaths. We reiterate our call for an independent investigation into the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. We note the decision by the United States to conduct its own investigation into Abu Akleh’s death and that this has been welcomed by the Palestinian Authority and by her family.
We also underline the need for a full, independent investigation into the death of Palestinian human rights defender and activist Nizar Banat, following his arrest by Palestinian Authority security forces.
Furthermore, against the backdrop of the deteriorating situation on the ground, it is important that the international community supports Palestinian efforts in seeking legal responses to the occupation.
In this regard, Ireland welcomed the adoption by the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly of a draft resolution, which included a request for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice.
The issue of Israeli settlements is also a fundamental concern and I know we will have the opportunity to address this in more detail next month.
Ireland remains deeply concerned by developments in Masafar Yatta, including the recent demolition of a donor-funded school by the Israeli Security Forces. Let me reiterate that Ireland urges Israel to cease evictions and demolitions, including of donor-funded structures, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law.
Mr President, the ongoing Israeli blockade continues to exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
UNICEF has reported that over 1 million children in Gaza today have constrained access to essential services, including food, water, education and health care. We renew our call on Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza.
We deplore Israel’s continued refusal to grant visas for OHCHR and other UN staff, which further restricts vital human rights and humanitarian engagement. We also remain alarmed at the reduced space for civil society and NGOs in the occupied Palestinian territory.
We commend UNRWA for its vital support to Palestine refugees throughout the region and we strongly welcome the recent renewal of UNRWA’s mandate for three years, until the 30th of June, 2026.
Finally, President, let me reiterate that Ireland will – for the rest of our Council term and beyond – continue to call for accountability for all civilian deaths.
Ireland stands ready to support all efforts to achieve a just and lasting two-state solution based on international law.
This represents the only sustainable prospect that will enable Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace – a peace that is not only urgent, but long long overdue.