UN Security Council: The Situation in the Middle East Including the Palestinian Question

27 Jul

Since there were many speakers and lengthy dialogue at yesterday’s SC meeting, we’ve included notes on each in order for you all to gather a sense of each nation’s position on these important and timely issues.

Robert Serry – Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process

Mr. Robert Serry noted the deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He stated that the peace talks ceased in September when the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas withdrew from direct talks following Israel’s refusal to extend the freeze on settlement activities. He acknowledged that leaders on both sides want a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

He called on Israel to cease all aggression and settlement activities. Palestine has made progress on both security and economic fronts despite the high unemployment rate. Israel should allow more commercial activities across the border, reopen the crossings as this will discourage smuggling.

He mentioned that Gaza authorities wanted to audit NGOs. He also called on the Palestinian authorities to ensure the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit and for the exchange of prisoners by both side.

He further noted that reconciliation negotiation has been delayed and encouraged reconciliation with legitimate organizations. He stated that since the Madrid agreement, the parties, yet again, have failed to reach an agreement. Without agreement, the two state agenda can’t be realized and such agreement was within the confines of UN resolutions and International Law.

Palestinian Authority

The answer to the stalemate lies in the legal principles and resolutions. This has not been achieved due to the lack of political will and cooperation from Israel. Israel’s illegal policies continue – settlement and home demolition, attack of Palestinian population by Israeli civilians and military raids and attacks on Palestinian civilians.

Israel’s boycott is evidence of its right wing agenda. The rise in tension deserves the council’s attention. Appeasement of Israel will lead to conflict. Palestine and Arab states remain committed to Palestine independence.

To continue to deny Palestine self-determination is unjust and Palestinians are determined to overcome the obstacles to peace. Failure of the Middle East quartet to adopt a position was caused by Israel’s refusal to accept its decisions. The quartet was unable to call on parties to comply with the parameters.

The 1967 borders remain the goal. If the international community continues to appease Israel, there will be no peace. These steps to a two-state solution are in line with international law. Palestinian authority will comply with international law and will do so transparently.

The next few months will be critical. Next month the Palestine authority will achieve the 2 year path to self-governace. This process was indicative of the universal recognition of Palestinians right to self-determination. The members of the UN should recognize Palestine as a state with Jerusalem as its capital and then admit Palestine as a member. This will make Israel realize the resolve of the international community.

This is the time to end Israel’s occupation; this is the time for Palestinian independence.

Israel

Israel has over 3000 year title to Jerusalem. Palestinian people deserve their state. Unilateral action cannot achieve peace. Sader, King Hussein and others had multilateral peace negotiation with Israel. South Sudan is an example of multilateralism. Palestine’s attempt to unilaterally declare a state is not popular. Mr. Fayad is not in support of a unilateral declaration. Now is the time for the international community to tell the people what its government will not tell them; there is no shortcut to independence.

Palestine is reluctant to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Hamas and Hezbollah have fired over 1200 rockets into Israel since the withdrawal. There is no guarantee that it will be safe.  Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that Israel will accept a Palestinian state with a Jewish state. It is unclear if Mr. Riyad Mansour will be relaying or presenting these security issues to Mr. Abbas or Hamas?

Iran remains a sponsor of terror and is responsible for destabilizing the Middle East. Iran Recently attempted to install centrifuges in a nuclear facility that was not revealed to the IAEC.

The international community cannot standby as hateful ideology is propagated. Friends of Palestine should tell them that peaceful negotiation cannot be bypassed. Pursuing a unilateral approach should be abandoned for a multilateral one.

USA

Pres. Barack Obama had outlined a comprehensive peace plan in his remarks on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. We encourage negotiation on the basis of that remark. Palestine cannot achieve their quest for independence with Hamas embracing violence. Isolating Israel in September 2011 will not achieve the desired peace. US will not support a unilateral act.

Members should encourage negotiation. The US does not support the Israeli settlement activities. The rocket attacks on Israel should also remind all of the security risk it faces. These security concerns make it necessary that charitable groups use legitimate and approved means for delivering their Gaza bound aids.

Syrian suppression of demonstrators is a demonstration of the people’s quest for self-determination. US calls on the Syrian government to cease violence and allow UN monitors.

The US hopes the new Lebanese government will meet its international obligation and also comply with international resolutions.

Nigeria

The Middle East situation is deadlocked. One party is threatening to abandon its commitments to the terms of the Oslo Accord while the other is seeking international support to enable it unilaterally declare its statehood.

The international community should encourage Israel to facilitate the peace process and for Palestine to recognize the state of Israel. Similarly, Nigerian welcomes the improved traffic of commercial shipments and encourages flotilla activities to seek required permission. Also, Lebanon should adhere to UN Security Council resolution 1701 of 2006. Nigeria is hopeful of a peaceful compromise.

Lebanon

Welcomes Pres. Obama’s suggestion.  States that Israel continues to flout international resolution by not freezing settlement activities, not grant right of return to refugees etc Also, the negotiation was frustrated by Israel’s refusal to stop settlement activities. There cannot be real negotiation without a comprehensive approach.  Statehood of Palestine is an exercise of the right to self-determination.  The fact that the border is not confirmed is not an impediment to statehood. Capacity to enter in relations with states is proven by the fact that Palestine has office in over 100 countries.

In the light of Resolution 181 of 1947, recognition of Palestine by member states is not a unilateral action but an expression of the wish of the majority of members. Also, demolition of Palestinian homes by Israel is not multilateral actions. Legitimizing Palestine does not delegitimize Israel, it delegitimizes its actions.

China

The protracted peace talk is a major cause of problems in the Middle East. China stands for peaceful resolution based UN resolution calling for a two-state solution. Israeli settlements are reasons for the stalemate and China wish Israel will discontinue those activities.

China supports the Middle East quartet and hopes it will facilitate the peace process and encourages the Security Council to continue deliberations. All relevant parties should continue the peaceful path – and this includes Lebanon. China will support the Palestinian peaceful quest for statehood.

South Africa

Based on Pres. Obama’s statement, a Palestinian state will be in the UN this September. South African is ready to support the Middle East quartet.  Parties should resume negotiations without precondition.

Israel’s disregard for the international community is an obstacle to peace. Violent attacks against Israel and the disproportionate response by Israel does not help this process. Israel has celebrated its 63rd anniversary while the statehood of Palestine is still being debated.

South Africa supports Palestinian statehood and welcomes the agreement between Fatah and Hamas. South Africa is concerned about Israeli actions towards flotilla activities.

France

France supports all peaceful and negotiated effort. Its position is formed by the following facts:

–          The status quo is untenable

–          The two-state solution is generally acceptable

–          Agreement on borders based on the 4 June 1967 lines

–          Security arrangements that preserves the sovereignty of Palestine while guaranteeing the safety of Israelis

–          Just solution to the issue of refugees

–          Jerusalem as the future capital of the 2 states

All donors to Palestine should continue to do so. France condemns on-going settlement activities.

On Lebanon, France condemns the attack in Lebanon against UNIFIL and asks Lebanon to comply with UN Security Council resolution 1701.

The Syrian regime is still repressing its people. The attack on Western diplomats is condemned by France. It is hoped the Security Council will shoulder this and address the Syrian issue.

Gabon

Gabon supports the UN resolution and the two-state solution. The present situation calls for a doubling of efforts. The security of Israel and of the Palestinian state should be of paramount interest.  Lebanon is doing well in promoting political plurality. Gabon condemns settlement activities as we condemned violence against Israel.

Portugal

Portugal is concerned about stalemate in the Palestinian/Israeli talks. Negotiation is the only way to the two-state solution with both states co-existing peacefully.  Clarity is necessary in achieving this and time is of essence. Settlement activities and the demolition of Palestinian homes are not helpful. Palestine should facilitate the release of Israeli soldier and an end to provocative rocket into Israel. Israel should comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1860, adopted on January 8, 2009 and open Palestinian borders.

Based on Pres. Obama’s remarks of May 19th Palestine should be able to obtain self-determination by attaining statehood.  Time is of essence.  We condemn the attack on the UNIFIL convoy. Israel should comply with its commitment under Resolution 1701. Also, it is sad that the Syrian government has not complied with the call for cessation of violence.

Brazil

Palestinian aspiration for statehood is a valid aspiration.  Not surprised that the Palestinian authorities should ask the UN to recognize it with the 1967 border lines and with Jerusalem as its capital. Palestinian state is a reality.  International law will facilitate the process.  Dialogue and peaceful process is the only way.  Condemn the use of lethal force on unarmed peaceful demonstration.

Bosnia—Herzegovina

Condemns the violence and the absence of progress, a situation that benefits none of the parties.  Supports the two-state solution.  Calls on Israel to end all settlement activities on occupied Palestinian territories.

Resolution 1860 should be observed.  Smuggling of arms into Gaza should be addressed. Urged that parties return to direct talks without delay.

Russia

The nonissue of a statement by the Middle East quartet is bad and dangerous in the light of the Middle East development.  Parties should refrain from a manifestation of violence especially against civilians. Settlement activities should cease.  Supports the two-state solution with a 1967 border line and with East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine. Supports Palestinian quest for statehood and the lifting of all blockage.  Encourages the quartet effort.

UK

Sustainable reform needed in the Middle East. The UK condemns the violence in Syria and the attacks on the UK and US offices.  The Security Council action to end the violence is long overdue.

September timeframe set by Obama and the quartet is fast approaching.  Parties should redouble efforts at peaceful negotiation.  The 3 areas where they must concentrate are:

–          Settlement activities must stop. It’s illegal.

–          Israel has legitimate security concerns

–          Lifting restrictions that stifle Gaza’s economy are essential

India

Palestine factions have signed an agreement.  Hopes for the speedy completion of the reconciliation process and that Hamas will recognize Israel. The Middle East quartet failed to reach an agreement on July 11 ended without a statement.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza is desperate. Freezing of settlement activities in Gaza is imperative as it would enable negotiation to resume. Without peace talks, there may be frustration and then resort to violence.

Members of the quartet should intensify their effort. India has supported the Palestinian effort for statehood with East Jerusalem as their capital. India has financially supported this goal. This will lead to a resolution of the Middle East conflict.

Columbia

Supports the legitimate aspiration of the peoples of the Middle East. Appeals for an end to the use of force and terrorism. Supports the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines and changes agreed to by the parties. Without an agreement accepted by the parties, 1947 will be replayed. Settlements are obstacles to Peace. International community should support building of institution in Palestine. Hamas must renounce violence and recognize Israel.

Germany

Germany hopes for the implementation of the two-state solution. Leaders should engage in talks with clear parameters. Internationally endorsed parameters are needed. Germany supports the establishment of a Palestinian state, but this must be by negotiation. Also, is concerned about settlement constructions—these are illegal.  Rockets and mortar attacks are unacceptable—release of Israeli soldier.

Resolution 1860 is necessary for the independent economic development of Gaza.  Germany is shocked by events in Syria. The SC should send a strong response to Syria.

Egypt – (Non Aligned movement)

The international community should work to realize the two-state goal.  Israeli settlements are obstacles to negotiation. All Israeli actions indicate Israel is choosing settlement over piece.  Israel should be compelled to lift all blockades.  Israel should open all its crossing points for Gaza.  Israeli arrest and imprisonment of Palestinian civilians should be condemned and the prisoners released.

The Security Council and the quartet should set clear parameters and timeframe aimed at Palestinian statehood with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Condemns Israeli violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty

Cuba

Associates itself with the Egyptian representative on behalf to the Non-aligned movement. Asserts that the US veto continues to facilitate Israel impunity. Cuba urges states that have not done so to recognize Palestine based on the 1967 borders.

Calls on Israel to withdraw from the Golan and favors comprehensive peace and return of all Arab states occupied by Israel.

Indonesia

Supports the development of a Palestinian administration. Welcomes recognition of Palestine by states based on the 1967 border lines.

Israel continues to frustrate the peace process.  Israel should conduct direct negotiation with Palestine. Commitment to the independence of Palestine is absolute.

European Union

Middle East Quartet—July 11, 2001. 2 states peaceful existence, security.

Negotiation should include all parameters:

–          Borders—June 4, 1967

–          Security Arrangement

–          Refugee Question

–          Jerusalem as future capital of both states

Supports the institution-building process and commends the Palestinian authority’s success as noted by the Coordinator. Syrian repression should cease and the legitimate demands of the Syrian people should be addressed.

Kyrgyzstan

Only way to address internal conflict is direct reforms. Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be solved as quickly as possible and negotiations should continue. Political/diplomatic means of solving this crisis are needed, remove all impediments to direct talks, recent talks in DC were a failure and did not produce any results, new settlements in Gaza and West Bank do not help move the peace process forward, STOP BUILDING ISREALI SETTLEMENTS

Turkey

Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies at the heart of the issues and problems of the Middle East and beyond. This is still the priority issue in the Middle East despite all that is occurring. Settlement activities cannot continue if the peace process is to succeed. Israel must recognize this and prove it is serious about peace. Palestine is ready to join the world as a sovereign nations, it should be recognized in September as a full member of the UN and international community. Situation in Gaza is a serious concern, Res.1860 has to be implemented as a whole, the status in Gaza is not acceptable and Israel must lift its blockade on Gaza immediately. Israel must recognize their crimes last year in attacking the flotilla heading toward Gaza, Turkey will not accept anything less than an apology, compensation and reparations for those affected.

Japan

Strongly supports a two-state solution of mutual recognition. 1967 lines should be used as a foundation for a peace deal between the two states. Both sides must resume direct negotiations with the help of the international community. Israel should freeze settlement activities in East Jerusalem and West Bank, Palestinians must work to curb violence and incitements amongst their people. 1860 Resolution must be implemented, situation in Gaza is concerning.

Jordan

Return to direct negotiations is necessary, but negotiations will be in vain as long as settlements are continued to be built. Steps need to be taken to protect religious sites from being tampered by the Israeli settlements, lifting the embargo and blockade on Gaza Strip is crucial as well.

Malaysia

Israel’s illegal actions prevent a two-state solution from being realized. The Gaza blockade has robbed Palestinians of their right to live with dignity, pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital should be the basis for the establishment of the Palestinian state.

Iceland

Supports resolution on Palestinian statehood based on pre-1967 lines. Iceland supports this but as long as it does not contradict the peace negotiations between the two sides.

Kuwait

Fully supports Palestinian efforts for statehood in the Fall, broadly and strongly condemns the actions, stances and policies of Israel. Kuwait called out the Security Council by condemning it for not doing more to ensure the rights, dignity and aspirations of the Palestinian people.

Nicaragua

Strongly condemns Israeli occupation of Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territories. Condemns Israeli settlements and blockade of Gaza, specifically. This meeting comes on the eve of Palestinian vying for statehood which is supported mostly by this organization. There must be an end to the impunity that Israel has been enjoying that has been guaranteed by the SC through the use of the veto which has been applied irresponsibly, SC and GA should recognize Palestine with the 1967 borders, this is the only way to ensure lasting peace which would allow both sides and their people to enjoy full rights they deserve.

Pakistan

Condolences to Norway, recent approvals of new settlements in occupied territories are a serious concern as they are serious violation of international law and should be treated as such. Settlements impede the peace process and there will be no peace unless they are stopped.

Venezuela

Supports NAM’s statement. Speaks of “a system of apartheid imposed by the government of Israel”. Venezuela comments on the impunity that is reflective of this council’s lack of action. Palestine should immediately be recognized and be a full member of the UN. The speaker calls for immediate lift of the inhuman blockade in Gaza.

DPRK

The key to statehood for Palestine is their internal unity and the unity peace deal last year is a key step for Palestine moving forward. In general, DPRK supports the Palestinian “justifiable” right to sovereignty and statehood in the UN.

Bangladesh 

Supports NAM and OIC’s positions. Condemns Israel and its recent actions on expansion, destroying livelihoods, and violating international law in the “illegal occupation”. Expresses support for Palestinian statehood, including self-determination and right of return. Expressed concern of the “collective failure” of the international community.

Morocco

Supports NAM and OIC’s positions, and suggested that the international community ought to be more effective. Denounces Israeli actions in East Jerusalem attempting to changing the demographics in the area, “Judaism of Jersusalem”, by forcing out Palestinians, and for Israel to return to 1967 borders.

Kazakhstan (on behalf of the group on Organisation of Islamic Cooperation)

SC attempts to address this issue have failed because Israel has refused to abide by resolutions. They call for the establishment of Palestinian state based on 1967 borders. Recent Israeli actions have been very concerning, such as the illegal and destructive settlement campaigns, the raid on the fortilla, and condemn Israel’s attempts to “colonize historic landmarks”. Speaker is concerned by attacks on peace protesters and innocent civilians an condemns the collective punishment of Palestinians through the blockade on Gaza put in place by Israel. It’s crucial that the two sides resume direct negotiations; the International Community / SC cannot afford to lose time, and must uphold responsibly of international law (including the 4th Geneva Convention, SC resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, Madrid and the Quartet Road map) as urgent steps for peace.

Syria

There is a dangerous trend in the UN of hesitancy to subject Israel to international law even when they consistently violate international law and UN resolutions. Israel must withdraw from all Arab lands and Palestine should become a sovereign nation. Delegate goes into the attempts of permanent member states to interfere in Syrian internal affairs which has nothing to do with the agenda today and is out of the power of the Security Council. Regardless, Syria claims that Bashir al-Assad has began a process of political reform that is aimed at creating a more just and representative political system through greater pluralism, the creation of a human right’s council, empowering women and promoting the rights of children. The speaker also claims that Syria is dedicated to protecting US and French embassies inside Syria, which have recently come under attack.

Iran

Peace in Middle East will only be achieved by justice in Palestine and a fair solution to this crisis. More and more countries are beginning to support the momentum for statehood. Israeli comments on Iran’s nuclear program are a means of deflecting attention from its own crimes against the Palestinian people. The Israeli nuclear program is illegal, dangerous and puts in jeopardy the security of the Middle East. The speaker from Iran further rants about Israeli crimes against humanity and illegal nuclear stockpiling.

– Nnamdi and Anthony

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