Pervasive deteriorating facts on the ground in Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “are pushing us every further” from achieving a viable two-State solution, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process told the Security Council.
With the spotlight on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Special Envoy Nicolay Mlandenov on Monday detailed “new dangerous flashpoints” emerging in the region, under rapidly shifting developments in the Middle East as a whole, which have snowballed into a growing threat to international peace and security.
Occupations in Palestinian areas continue, “and no progress has been made in realizing a negotiated two-State solution”, he reported during his quarterly update to the Council on the Middle East. “It is a multi-generational tragedy for the peoples of this land.”
A growing number of Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, remains a “substantial obstacle” in the peace process. In the last month, plans have advanced for housing units to expand in the occupied West Bank, and though exact numbers have yet to be confirmed, even without this latest advancement, the approval of settlement expansion so far this year is already greater than that for all of 2018, Mlandenov explained.
Meanwhile, Palestinian structures have been demolished or seized, as Israeli-issued building permits are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain. The teardown or seizure of 51 structures has displaced 80 Palestinians, including 40 children, he said.
Citing a deescalation of tensions in recent weeks, the Special Envoy said Gaza has seen a reduction in violence, brokered by the UN and Egypt, however still, “three Palestinians were recently killed by Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), and over 500 injured” in demonstrations along the Gaza perimeter he said, urging authorities to exercise restraint in the use of lethal force.
The exposure to violence, particularly for children, must be contained, he said, with one infant killed following tear gas inhalation during West Bank clashes, among two Palestinians killed, in addition to 88 injured in various incidents, including 11 children. Four Israelis, including two Israel Security Forces personnel were also injured.
In addition, Mladenov said he is “particularly concerned” by settler attacks in the occupied West Bank, recalling a recent “alarming incident” this month during the annual olive harvest, in which Palestinian farmers, Israeli and foreign volutneers were hit by stones and metal rods by people in the Yitzhar settlement. Four foreign volunteers were injured in addition to one 80-year-old rabbi. (UNI)