Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – The deteriorating security situation in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, took centre stage at the Security Council as the UN Special Coordinator for the peace process in the region, expressed his “continued concern” over recent developments.
Tor Wennesland painted a grim picture of “clashes, attacks, military operations” and continued settler-related violence amidst a severe fiscal and economic crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
“It is crucial that all parties take immediate steps to lower tensions and restore calm”, he said, warning that if left unchecked, the situation in the West Bank would further deteriorate – impacting security in Gaza and undermining the fragile peace that has held since May.
Devoting his briefing to the implementation of Resolution 2334 (2016), which calls for the cessation of all settlement activities in the OPT, the Special Coordinator said that “violent incidents have unfortunately continued”.
While updating ambassadors on a host of incidents, he said that14 Palestinians had been killed, along with three Israelis, since 29 September.
He mentioned that the most recent confrontation had occurred on Sunday, when hundreds of settlers attempted to enter the Homesh outpost to set up illegal structures, breaking through Israel Security Forces’ (ISF) barricades and using violence against Israeli soldiers, “including hitting one soldier with a vehicle”.
Meanwhile, there have been some positive developments, such as a virtual meeting between United States and Palestinian officials last Tuesday to renew the US-Palestinian Economic Dialogue – the first such meeting in five years.
Reminding that Israeli settlements constitute “a flagrant violation” of UN resolutions and international law, Mr. Wennesland drew attention to the advancement of building plans in areas “crucial for the contiguity of a future Palestinian State”, including Atarot and Givat Hamatos.
“I call on the Government of Israel to cease the advancement of all settlement activities immediately”, he said.