At the outset, I extend Palestine’s congratulations to the Russian Federation on its presidency of the Security Council and our appreciation for convening of this important debate today.
I also thank Mr. Nikolay Mladenov, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and UN Special Coordinator, for his briefing and ongoing efforts, including to draw the Council’s attention to the critical issues before us.
I also reiterate our deep appreciation to the five Security Council members that co-chaired last week’s Arria-meeting on Israeli settlement activities, allowing for the Council to hear expert presentations about the stark reality and dangers of the ongoing illegal colonization of Palestine, both on the ground and on the prospects for peace. We thank Malaysia, Egypt, Angola, Senegal and Venezuela for this timely and important initiative.
Reflecting on that meeting and the firm positions reaffirmed by all Council members, along with many recent Government statements in response to Israeli settlement announcements, it is clear that the settlements issue is not, as cynically claimed by some, a “one-sided, Palestinian” issue. As affirmed in every statement, the illegality of settlement activities and the threats posed to the two-State solution and peace prospects, are matters of international law and involve all States concerned with a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and peace and security in the Middle East. [Read more…]