UNITED NATIONS, Nov 29 (APP):UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Monday warned that Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and illegal settlement activity was putting the prospect of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at risk.
“Persistent violations of the rights of Palestinians along with the expansion of settlements risk eroding the prospect of a two-State solution,” he said in a message to marking International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Despite being ‘encouraged’ by recent engagements between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, the UN chief said that “containing the situation is not sufficient”.
Guterres reiterated that the overall goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security remains.
This includes fulfilling the “legitimate national aspirations of both peoples, with borders based on the 1967 lines and Jerusalem as the capital of both States”.
The Secretary-General called on the parties to avoid measures that would undermine the chances for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.?
He urged the parties to engage constructively “to end the closure” of the Gaza strip, and improve the living conditions of all Palestinians who continue to live under occupation.
Guterres’ message came ahead of a special meeting held in New York on Monday to discuss the unresolved question of Palestine and the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights.?
The occasion will be an opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that their rights as defined by the General Assembly Committee (CEIRPP) in 1975, have yet to be attained. These are namely, the right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty and the right to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced.
Alongside the event, a permanent exhibition has been mounted at UN Headquarters in New York, on “The Question of Palestine and the United Nations”.
Speaking at the meeting in New York, General Assembly President, Abdulla Shahid, said that the Day should be marked with a “sense of humility”.
Reminding that peace in the Middle East has remained at the forefront of the global agenda since the UN’s founding, he said that “it is disappointing that despite the priority accorded this issue, the amount of energy expended, the multiple UN resolutions adopted, and the decades of negotiations, dialogues, and engagements, so little has been accomplished”.
Shahid added that Palestinians in the Gaza enclave, “are trapped inside a cycle of unemployment, limited economic opportunity and poverty – a dynamic that has been severely exacerbated by COVID-19”.
Commending the ongoing work by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Shahid urged the global community to guarantee “sufficient and reliable financing to ensure that Palestinian refugees receive adequate assistance”.