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Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UN Security Council on the Middle East - Palestine

I want to thank Special Coordinator Wennesland for your briefing and a very special thanks to Mai and Meredith. You show us the pivotal work that young women are doing, day in, day out, as agents of change. We’re really glad you’re with us today. We have heard your voices. In my view, it’s your generation and maybe your gender that hold the key for a brighter future for both Palestine and Israel.


Mai, thank you for setting out the ongoing worrying impact of settlements and related issues on the Palestinian population. You registered with us.


Meredith, your work on capacity building for strategic, sustainable and scalable peace efforts on the ground has given all of us here in the Council very useful insights and in my case, some hope.


Ireland remains steadfast in its view that a two State solution offers the strongest prospect for sustainable peace. Ongoing contacts between the parties, and within the region are welcome, but they are no substitute for direct negotiations, as part of a wider political process.


Today we heard another deeply concerning briefing from Special Coordinator Wennesland on the implementation of Resolution 2334.


Tor, once again, your report reminds us that settlements remain a major obstacle on the path to peace.


I reiterate Ireland’s long-standing condemnation of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.


Ireland is extremely concerned at the increase in demolitions, evictions and seizures of Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.  We call on the Israeli authorities to cease these activities and to provide adequate permits for legal construction in Palestinian communities, as well as development of Palestinian territories.


In particular, I wish to underline clearly our serious concern at the recent increase in the number of Palestinian families at risk of eviction in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan. This remains of serious concern.


We underscore again the importance of maintaining the Status Quo at the Holy Sites, in particular at Haram al Sharif/The Temple Mount.


Let’s be clear: Acts of violence, including rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel, continue to erode trust between the parties, and to also erode trust within their own communities. All of this adds up to making a political settlement more difficult to achieve. Ireland condemns all acts of terrorism.


We are concerned about the increase in violence in the occupied Palestinian territory. We unreservedly condemn yesterday’s incidence of settler violence in the South Hebron Hills in which a young child was seriously injured. We call on the Israeli authorities to hold those responsible accountable and to end the culture of impunity around all such incidents of violence.   We call out in particular the devastating impact of the occupation and of violence on children, as we have just heard this morning from Tor.


We remind all the parties of their obligations under international human rights and international humanitarian law.


We call on the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to use their influence and authority to reduce tensions, to prevent violence and to contribute to resolution of long-standing issues.


Once again we renew our call on Israel to end the blockade of Gaza. We welcome the decision by Israel to allow more reconstruction material to enter Gaza, its expansion of the fishing area and provision of more work permits for residents of Gaza. 


This though is the minimum we need to see to help Gaza residents on the path to recovery. As we all know however, Gaza remains still far removed from normal economic activity and the situation there will continue to pose challenges, including a deepening humanitarian crisis, until the underlying issues are addressed.


Ireland reiterates its view that it is incumbent on this Council, incumbent on the Quartet, incumbent on partners in the region and on the international community to uphold international law, and to remain fully engaged in working to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict.


The time for this has long passed, we simply cannot afford to wait.


Thank you.

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