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Statement by Amb. Byrne Nason at UNSC Meeting on the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question

Thank you very much Mr. President and I want to welcome you Foreign Secretary to this Security Council table.


Thank you Tor for your report.


The fact is, we should all be concerned by the rising tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip over recent weeks, and Tor your comprehensive report today just reinforces us in that view.  The fragility of the ceasefire underlines, as if those of us here need reminding of that, the urgent need to address the root causes of this conflict.


The high number of casualties, including children, from recent violence at protests along the Gaza border are unacceptable, and we also strongly condemn the release of incendiary balloons from Gaza. We have already this year seen the devastating loss of so many lives, including the deaths of children in Gaza and in Israel. In addition, 13 children have been killed in the West Bank so far this year as a result of this conflict, many by live fire from Israeli security forces. We expect the Israeli government to hold the perpetrators of these killings to account and to conduct transparent investigations to that end. There is a clear risk of an even more severe escalation and today we urge all sides to exercise restraint and to uphold rules of international humanitarian law applicable to children in armed conflict.


Mr. President,


We welcome recent positive developments including the agreement to distribute Qatari aid payments to vulnerable families in Gaza through the UN. The situation in Gaza remains dire, marked by alarming unemployment and poverty rates, increased food insecurity and an inadequate health service to tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic.


Without the hope of a better future for Gazans, especially for young people in Gaza, we cannot hope to resolve these issues in a sustainable way.


It is imperative that Gazans are given such hope, and that reconstruction and recovery moves forward without delay. I reiterate our appeal to international donors to step up support, including through UNRWA. I would like also to underline the necessity of full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access into Gaza.  Positive steps we have seen in recent days must be expedited and expanded. I repeat Ireland’s call on Israel to end its illegal blockade in line with Resolution 1860.


Time and again, Council members have expressed support for the development of a sustainable and sovereign Palestinian state. To make this possible, we simply must keep alive the viability of a two-State solution.


Ireland repeats our call on Israel to end all settlement expansion, in line with international law. We remain very concerned about the impact of settlements and increasing reports of settler violence on Palestinian communities. We call for attacks against civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory to cease immediately and for those responsible to be clearly held to account.


Demolitions, including in Humsa al-Baqai’a and Ras al Tin last month, as well as threatened evictions of Palestinian families from their homes, including in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Al Walaja and elsewhere in the West Bank are part of a deeply concerning trend in displacement of Palestinians which simply must cease. We reject any attempts to undermine the status quo of the Holy Sites of Jerusalem, which will only further fuel tensions on the ground.


Mr. President,


Ireland encourages the Quartet to renew their efforts to revive the Middle East Peace Process.


We also recognise the importance of holding Palestinian elections across the occupied territory, giving a democratic voice to Palestinians, redoubling efforts to achieve intra-Palestinian reconciliation, and renewing the legitimacy of national institutions. 


We will continue to say it- it is essential that Palestinian women are supported in respect of their right to full, equal and meaningful participation in all aspects of public and political life. That should be guaranteed. We all have a responsibility in seeing that be realised.


Mr. President,


The arrest and intimidation of human rights defenders and activists for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and association is unacceptable. Denying them the right to peaceful assembly is also completely unacceptable. We call on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to protect and uphold these fundamental rights.


Finally Mr. President,


After decades of strife and loss of life, we all know that the underlying causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be resolved by ending the illegal occupation, which began in 1967. It can only be realised through a two-State solution, the parameters of which are well known and are agreed. This would see an independent, democratic, viable and contiguous Palestinian State side by side in peace and security with Israel. It is in the interest of both peoples.


Notwithstanding the obstacles, that will and must remain our vision and our shared goal, as we have already set out in numerous resolutions here in the work of this Council and in the General Assembly. 


Thank you Mr. President.

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