Israel/Palestine: ‘conflict mitigation efforts must be met with steps by both sides’

Source United Nations


Media – The Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, told the Security Council that “while the ceasefire is holding”, between Israel and Palestine “conflict mitigation efforts must also be met with steps by both sides – supported by the international community – to reset a trajectory out of the cycle of violence.”

Addressing the Council on Wednesday (24 May), Wennesland also called “on all parties to stop unilateral and inflammatory actions that undermine prospects for peace, and to address the acute financial and institutional challenges facing the Palestinian Authority.”

The Special Coordinator said he was “particularly alarmed” by the funding crisis facing UN agencies supporting basic services and social support, including emergency food assistance, to Palestinians.

He informed that “without new funding, World Food Program will suspend cash assistance to some 200,000 Palestinians next week and UNRWA will not have the resources to deliver core services in September.”

For Wennesland, “the immediate priority is to support steps to bolster the PA and preserve the provision of critical services to the Palestinian people.”

“These steps should be implemented in a way that encourages the parties to engage with each other, including on underlying political issues. This requires actions by Israeli and Palestinian leaders, alongside increased support and attention from the international community,” argued the Special Coordinator.

Wennesland concluded, “We must take action — not only to ensure Palestinian well-being and governance, but as an integral part of ending the occupation and restoring a political horizon toward a viable two-State solution, based on UN resolutions, international law and previous agreements.”

From the civil society, Council members heard from Tania Hary, Executive Director of Gisha, an Israeli human rights organization founded in 2005 that promotes freedom of movement and other rights which are dependent on it, especially in Gaza.

The activist noted that last month’s violence was the 6th major Israel military attack in Gaza, among hundreds of smaller campaigns, over the past 15 years, and asked, “Like in previous rounds, Israeli officials said they were protecting Israeli citizens from rocket fire. I am one of those citizens. I don’t wish the reality of rocket fire on anyone. The question should be – how do we break this cycle?”

Hary noted that “some 80% of children in Gaza are said to suffer from emotional distress” and “children and their know the names of the six children killed in the latest military campaign.”

She added, “The wounds that can’t be seen – the trauma, hopelessness, and helplessness – are the hardest to heal. How can this situation possibly contribute to security? Real, sustainable security and deterrence aren’t created by force, they are created by hope.”

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