Settlements make two-state solution 'unattainable': UN official



Tue, 26 Sep 2017 - 11:42 GMT


Tue, 26 Sep 2017 - 11:42 GMT

 The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay ‎Mladenov - Photo credit UN

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay ‎Mladenov - Photo credit UN

CAIRO – 26 September 2017: The United Nations (UN) Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov said on Monday that “Israel's continued settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territory is making the two-state solution increasingly unattainable and undermines the Palestinian belief in international peace efforts," according to the Office of the UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process website.

The special coordinator, referred to rhetoric speeches by Israeli figures including the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who praised in August the achievements of his government in promoting settlement construction stating, “there will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel; we will deepen our roots, build, strengthen and settle.”

According to the report, other senior Israeli politicians made repeated calls for annexation of the West Bank, and one member of the Israeli Knesset expressed his desire to “destroy” hopes for Palestinian statehood, and stated that “there is room to define and realize the national aspirations of one people only -- the Jewish people.”

Mladenov delivered his message to the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) during the presentation of his third


on the implementation of the 2016 UNSC resolution No. 2334, which states that Israeli settlements in the oPt, including East Jerusalem, violate the international law.

Mladenov said that Israel did not “cease all settlement activities in the oPt, including East Jerusalem, and did not fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regards,” as called for by the resolution. He added that the settlement activity continued "at a high rate" and “a consistent pattern” over the reporting period, covering June through September.

“Activity during this period was concentrated primarily in occupied East Jerusalem, where plans were advanced for over 2,300 housing units in July, 30 percent more than for the whole of 2016,” said Mladenov in his briefing. He added that in early September construction resumed in a new settlement of “Amihai”, in the heart of the West Bank.

The Special Coordinator’s report also addressed deadly violence during this time, particularly related to unrest in Jerusalem's Old City, as well as the fragile situation in Gaza, among other concerns. He reported that 19 Palestinians and Eight Israelis were killed during the period June-September 2017. In addition, the Israeli forces conducted five airstrikes in Gaza resulting in three Palestinians being injured.

Mladenov referred to Egypt’s efforts in advancing the Palestinian unity and ending the split between Hamas and Fatah through hosting several talks between the two factions that led to the [the breakthrough decision by the de facto-Gaza leadership to dissolve the Administrative Committee and invite the Government to return to the Strip].

He also referred to reports from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), showing that since January 2017, 344 Palestinian structures were demolished; third of them in East Jerusalem, displacing some 500 people. Mladenov added that in the occupied West Bank in August, three educational facilities, serving 175 children, were demolished or confiscated, citing the lack of building permits, which are virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain, according to the special coordinator’s report. In addition, he reported that in July, 15 Israeli families illegally occupied a Palestinian house in Hebron, despite ongoing legal proceedings over its ownership.

In addition, he referred to a number of concerning passed laws and/or law amendments that further cement Israeli control over East Jerusalem including an amendment to the “Basic Law: Jerusalem the Capital of Israel” passed a first reading in the Knesset in July and a temporary injunction formally postponing application of the so-called “Regularization Law” by the High Court of Justice issued in August.

Also in August, a military order was issued establishing a “civil services administration” which further consolidates the Israeli presence in Hebron and reinforces the existing separation and division of this highly volatile area, where some 500 Israelis live among some 40,000 Palestinians.

Mladenov told the 15 members of the UNSC that "collective and determined action" by the parties, the region and the international community is needed to initiate a serious political process”. He added that there is a serious need to draw upon all relevant UN resolutions to help secure a peaceful future for Palestinians, Israelis and the entire region by ending the occupation and resolving all final status issues.

In December 2016, the UNSC passed a resolution that called on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the oPt, including East Jerusalem.” It also stated that the building of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and impediment to peace.” The resolution also states that the international community will not recognize any changes to the June 4, 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed to by the parties themselves through negotiations. Following this resolution, the Palestinian National Authority (PA) called on the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel’s settlement expansion in the West Bank.

Mladenov is a Bulgarian politician and diplomat born in 1972. He served as a minister of foreign affairs in Bulgaria, he also was a member of the European Parliament from 2007-2009. In addition, he served as the minister of defense from 2009-2010. In 2013, Mladenov was appointed as the UN secretary general’s special representative for Iraq and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq. In 2015, he was appointed as the UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.



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