Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – The destabilizing deterioration of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continues in the absence of political solutions that would “reset the trajectory”, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said.
Briefing the Security Council, Tor Wennesland underlined the need for “firm action” that will enable Israelis and Palestinians to re-engage on the path to meaningful negotiations.
“There is no substitute for a legitimate political process that will resolve the core issues driving the conflict,” he said.
Mr. Wennesland reported on ongoing worrying trends that he said are increasing the territorial fragmentation of the West Bank, undermining the Palestinian Authority, and further eroding prospects for peace.
“Across the West Bank, daily violence continues; tensions in East Jerusalem and the refugee camps are mounting and settler violence remains a serious concern. Illegal settlements and planning processes are steadily advancing, alongside demolitions and evictions, including in and around Jerusalem,” he told Ambassadors.
Meanwhile, although “a fragile calm” currently prevails in Gaza, the envoy stressed it is only temporary.
“Hamas control of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian divisions and the Israeli closure regime are creating a generation who have experienced multiple wars and humanitarian crises and who have few prospects for a better life,” he said, urging Israel to further ease restrictions on the movement of goods and services there.
Mr. Wennesland outlined the violence that has occurred throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory since his last briefing in January.
Six Palestinians, including two children, were killed by Israeli security forces in the occupied West Bank during this period. These deaths occurred during demonstrations, clashes, search-and-arrest operations, attacks and alleged attacks against Israelis, as well as other incidents.
Overall, some 205 Palestinians were injured, 25 of them children.
While settler-related violence also remained a concern, recent efforts by Israel to reduce incidents “are well-noted,” Mr. Wennesland told Council members.
Addressing settlement activity, he reported on plans for some 400 new housing units in the Gilo settlement in occupied East Jerusalem to replace 80 units there.
Earlier this month, the Israeli Attorney-General also published a legal opinion allowing authorities to advance plans for a settlement at Evyatar, a West Bank outpost.
“I reiterate that all settlements are illegal under international law and remain a substantial obstacle to peace,” he said.