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GA Plenary session on the situation in the Middle East

GA Plenary session on the situation in the Middle East


3 December 2019


Statement by Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland

Mr President,

Today’s debate comes at a critical time for the Middle East Peace Process and the viability of the two-state solution.  

Three years since the passing of Security Council Resolution 2334, the situation on the ground has continued to deteriorate. Israel's occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem continues, settlement activity has accelerated, and the blockade of Gaza remains in place. These actions erode the prospects for peace and for the two-state solution, a prospect further undermined by the constant threat of violence, extremism, terrorism and incitement, and the lack of progress with regard to intra-Palestinian reconciliation. 

Against this backdrop, Ireland reiterates its readiness to work with all parties towards the resumption of meaningful negotiations to resolve all final status issues and to achieve a just and lasting peace.  The meeting of European and Arab Ministers convened in Dublin last February by Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, was testament to this commitment.  

Minister Coveney is currently visiting Israel and Palestine, his fourth visit as Minister for Foreign Affairs.  During his visit, he is holding meetings with senior Israeli and Palestinian political leaders and UN officials.  He also visits Gaza, including a meeting with Minister Mazen Ghunaim, the head of the Palestinian Water Authority, to discuss Ireland’s investment, along withother European partners, in solar energy to power a waste water plant in North Gaza, and visits an UNRWA school for girls.  Minister Coveney also plans to announce further support from Ireland to the Palestinian Education sector. 

The Minister will use his visit to discuss how Ireland can support efforts towards a durable two-state solution to the conflict, and to convey clearly and firmly Ireland’s concerns about the impact of the occupation, including in relation to settlement activity and the blockade of Gaza. His visit reflects the importance Ireland attaches to the Middle East Peace Process, and the high priority that the Government and the Irish people continue to give to this issue. 

We continue to advocate for a negotiated two-state solution that ends the occupation which began in 1967, ending all claims and fulfilling the aspirations of both parties, including Israeli and Palestinian security needs and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, on the basis of international law, internationally agreed parameters and relevant UN Security Council resolutions. This accords with the European Union’s firm and united position as set out in detail on numerous occasions, and the GA resolution of 6 December 2018 on a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, which Ireland was proud to introduce, and which was overwhelmingly endorsed.

Finally, Mr President,

In relation to the resolutions before us today, we wish to thank the Palestinian Mission for their work to streamline the resolutions under the agenda item "Question of Palestine".  We also fully align ourselves with the Explanation of Vote to be delivered later by the European Union.  We look forward to continued engagement of all parties in good faith here and elsewhere aimed at advancing a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

It is still possible to reach peace based on the two-state solution if credible steps are taken.  Ultimately, it is the lack of implementation of international law that is the real challenge to the achievement of peace and security in the Middle East.  We call on all States to uphold their responsibilities and obligations in this regard.

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