In his first briefing as the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland reiterates his support to the Palestinians and condemns Israel’s violations, including demolishing homes, building illegal settlements and settlers violence.
In his opening remarks, Wennesland welcomed the decision to hold legislative, presidential and National Council elections in Palestine, calling this step as “a crucial step towards Palestinian unity, giving renewed legitimacy to national institutions, including a democratically elected Parliament and Government in Palestine.”
“The United Nations stands ready to support efforts for the Palestinian people to exercise their democratic rights,” he said.
Wennesland also condemned Israel’s plans to build more than 850 new illegal housing units in Area C settlements, urging ‘Israel’ to cease all settlement activities.
“I reiterate that settlements are illegal under international law and are a major obstacle to peace. They undermine the prospect of achieving a two-State solution. I urge the Government of Israel to cease all settlement activity in the occupied territory, including in East Jerusalem.”
Wennesland also condemned Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinians’ houses and razing lands, urging ‘Israel’ to “cease demolitions and seizures of Palestinian property, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law, and to allow Palestinians in Area C and East Jerusalem to develop their communities.”
Wennesland praised the concerted efforts taken by the Palestinian government to contain and halt the spread of the coronavirus, which have succeeded in lowering the overall number of active cases in the West Bank and Gaza.
He also referred to the increasing in Israeli settlers violence against the Palestinians, saying “all perpetrators of violence must be held accountable.”
“OCHA recorded 45 incidents where Israeli settlers and others injured Palestinians or reportedly damaged their property, resulting in 22 injuries and damage to property. In two separate incidents in East Jerusalem and Al Lubban ash Sharqiya, near Nablus, a boy and a man were physically assaulted and injured.”
He concluded his briefing by reiterating “that the financial situation of UNRWA remains a serious concern.”
“The Agency is not only a lifeline for millions of Palestine refugees but is also critical for regional stability. I renew the Secretary-General’s appeal for support.”
(Source / 27.01.2021)