By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Israel continued to defy a 2016 UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate halt to all settlement activity on land Palestinians want for their future state, laying out plans to build nearly 2,000 homes in the last three months. the UN envoy for the Middle East said on Wednesday.
Tor Wennesland told the council that the Israelis and Palestinians made no progress on other demands of the resolution: to prevent all violence against civilians, to refrain from acts of provocation, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, to distinguish between Israeli territory and territories occupied since 1967 war. , and exerting “collective efforts to initiate credible negotiations”.
He cited several positive steps during the three-month period ending September 20: two contacts between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and high-level Israeli officials in July, Israel issuing some 16,000 worker and business permits to Palestinians in Gaza, and a 1.5% increase in imports and a 54% increase in exports through the main Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel to Gaza compared to the monthly average for the first two quarters of 2022.
But Wennesland said “we continue to see little progress” in implementing the resolution since its adoption in December 2016.
The resolution was approved by the Security Council when the United States, in the final weeks of the Obama administration, abstained rather than use its veto to support longtime ally Israel, as it had done many times before. The Trump administration strongly opposed the resolution.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council Wednesday that from day one the Biden administration has supported a two-state solution, a position President Joe Biden reiterated to world leaders at the high-level meeting. of the General Assembly last week.
He said many leaders made similar calls, praising Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s “courageous and passionate speech, which articulated his vision of ‘two states for two peoples.'”
“The importance of his call for peace between Israelis and Palestinians should not be underestimated,” said Thomas-Greenfield. “And I also want to acknowledge President Abbas’s stated commitment to non-violence and reaffirmation of his support for a two-state solution.”
She said now is the time to “turn these words into action” and make real progress, stressing that “there are no shortcuts to statehood.”
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, called on the Security Council to start implementing its resolutions.
It should now propose “practical steps” to open the doors “to a meaningful political process” to start implementing the “global consensus” for a two-state solution, he said.
Wennesland warned that “the absence of a meaningful peace process to end the Israeli occupation and resolve the conflict is fueling a dangerous deterioration” in the Palestinian territories, particularly in the West Bank, “and generating the perception that the conflict is insoluble.” .
“Israelis and Palestinians must determine how they envision the future,” he said. “Negotiations can no longer be pushed forward indefinitely.”
“The current course is leading us into a perpetual state of violence and conflict,” the Middle East envoy warned, and “significant initiatives” are needed quickly to change this trajectory.
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