Statement by Amb. Byrne Nason - UNSC Briefing on the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question
Statement24 June 2021
Thank you very much Mr President,
I want to thank our Special Coordinator Wennesland for his briefing.
Tor, your briefing, and the Secretary General’s report, paint a grim picture of developments in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
Illegal settlement activity further entrenches the illegal Israeli occupation, undermining the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, encroaching on Palestinian land and natural resources, hampering free movement and increasing the risks of violent confrontation. And it undermines the prospect of achieving a two state solution.
Ireland condemns violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, including damage to property and farmland and recalls Israel’s obligation to ensure the safety and security of the Palestinian population and to investigate.
Ireland strongly condemns rocket and other attacks by Hamas and others from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Ireland calls on Hamas to provide full information on the fate of two Israeli civilians and on the remains of two Israeli soldiers, in accordance with international humanitarian law.
We acknowledge Israel’s legitimate security concerns but recall that self-defence must be exercised in a proportionate way and in accordance with international humanitarian law.
In the wake of the recent conflict, Ireland calls on Israel to work with others to ensure the unimpeded provision of humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza. Failing this, the humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate and the needs of the people of Gaza will continue to grow. Israel must also facilitate the passage of essential humanitarian and reconstruction personnel including Palestinian nationals.
Ireland echoes the Secretary General’s call for an integrated, robust package of support for a swift, sustainable reconstruction and recovery that supports the Palestinian people and strengthens their institutions.
We reiterate our strong support for UNRWA and other UN agencies and commend staff for their continued unstinting service. The de facto authorities in Gaza must allow them to do this work, not least for the wellbeing of the civilian population. We must acknowledge however - as you have Tor - that humanitarian or economic support alone will not address the challenges in Gaza nor the occupied Palestinian territory as a whole. Only progress towards a lasting political solution can do this.
Ireland welcomes the new Israeli government and looks forward to constructive engagement. We urge Israel to take steps to address the root causes of conflict by ending the expansion of illegal settlements, demolitions and the threat of forced evictions and allowing for legal construction for Palestinians.
As Resolution 2334 makes clear, such steps are essential for salvaging the two state solution and reversing the negative trends that imperil the vision of a viable, contiguous, Palestinian state on the 1967 lines, alongside a secure state of Israel, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.