UN Secretary-General's Brief to Security Council

On September 27, members of the Security Council received a brief of the UN Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016) for the reporting period from June 15 to September 19 of this year.

Security Council resolution 2334 (2016) calls on Israel to "immediately and completely cease all settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem" and to "fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard." Settlement activity has, nevertheless, continued. Israeli authorities advanced plans for 6,300 housing units in Area C, including the retroactive 'legalization,' under Israeli law, of three outposts near the settlement of Eli. In East Jerusalem, approximately 3,580 housing units were advanced. [...]

"I remain deeply troubled by the unrelenting expansion of Israeli settlements and settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with over 10,000 housing units advanced in this reporting period alone. Settlements further entrench the occupation, fuel violence, impede Palestinian access to their land and resources, and systematically erode the viability of a Palestinian State as part of a two-State solution. I reiterate that settlements have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of international law and United Nations resolutions. I call on the Government of Israel to cease all settlement activity and dismantle outposts immediately, in line with its obligations under international law."

Demolitions and seizures of Palestinian-owned structures continued across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Citing the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain, Israeli authorities, demolished, seized or forced people to demolish 238 structures, displacing 183 people, including 46 women and 91 children and 32 structures which were donor funded.

Fifty-nine schools, serving some 6,500 Palestinian students, are at risk of demolition. The demolition and seizure of Palestinian structures, including internationally funded humanitarian projects, entail numerous human rights violations and raise concerns about the risk of forcible transfer. "I call upon the Government of Israel to end this practice, in line with its international obligations, and to allow Palestinian communities to build and address their development needs," the UN Secretary General said.

The report further recorded the following: "Over the reporting period, 68 Palestinians, including 18 children, were killed by Israeli security forces during demonstrations, clashes, security operations, attacks or alleged attacks against Israelis, and other incidents. 2,830 Palestinians, including 30 women and 559 children, were injured. Of that number, 271 were injured by live ammunition and 2,119 by tear gas inhalation. In addition, two Palestinians were killed and 73 injured, including three women and 12 children, amid a high level of attacks by Israeli settlers. Israeli security forces carried out 1,042 search-and-arrest operations in the West Bank, resulting in 1,504 Palestinians arrested, including 88 children. Israel currently holds 1,264 Palestinians in administrative detention, the highest number in over a decade."

Security Council resolution 2334 (2016) calls for the parties to refrain from acts of provocation, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric. Unfortunately, such acts continued. In an interview, an Israeli Minister said, "My right and that of my wife and my children, to travel on the roads in Judea and Samaria, is more important than the freedom of movement for Arabs." A Member of the Israeli Knesset said that any "Palestinian running away from an Israel Defense Forces soldier must be shot." "A Palestinian who approaches an IDF soldier must also be shot," he added. An Israeli minister visited the Holy Sites on the Jewish commemoration day of Tisha B'av and called on Israelis to "return" to the sites and "show our governance."

The Secretary-General called on Israel "to abide by its obligations under international law, including with regard to the proportional use of force, and ensure thorough, independent and prompt investigations into all instances of possible excessive use of force, holding those responsible to account. [...] I am disturbed by the multiple instances in which officials have used dangerous or racist rhetoric and engaged in incitement."

The Secretary-General said that he continues to remain committed "to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to end the occupation and resolve the conflict in line with international law, relevant United Nations resolutions, and bilateral agreements in pursuit of the vision of two States -- Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, viable, and sovereign Palestinian State -- living side by side in peace and security within secure and recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both States." For 30 years now, Israel has shown it has no intention of abiding by its obligations under international law and that the two-state solution was never its intention. The Palestinian people are courageously seeking an end to the occupation, the apartheid regime and the crimes of genocide committed against them.

This article was published in
Volume 53 Number 11 - October 2023

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