UNITED NATIONS, , Sep 30 (APP):A UN Middle East Envoy has called for re-energizing international efforts to establish a political horizon that can end the occupation of Palestinian territory and achieve a two-State solution, as Security Council members took stock of developments following the formation of a new government in Israel in June.
Tor Wennesland, the special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report on implementation of Security Council resolution, which called on Israel to cease all settlement activity in Palestinian lands, said recent engagement between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials – including a meeting in August between Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – is encouraging.
However, efforts must continue to address the ever-worrying situation on the ground, including reversing negative trends in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and stabilizing the fragile situation in Gaza, he told the 15-member Council in a briefing delivered via video-teleconference.
“I once again urge Israelis, Palestinians, regional states and the broader international community to take practical steps that will enable the parties to re-engage on the path to peace,” he said, adding that he will continue to engage with the Middle East Quartet, key regional partners and Israeli and Palestinian leaders in that regard.
Wennesland reported that during the June 12 to September 27 period covered in the Secretary-General’s report, no new Israeli settlement housing plans were advanced or approved. However, the seizure and demolition of Palestinian-owned structures continued in the West Bank, while daily violence left 24 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier dead.
He welcomed steps by the new Government to ease the economic pressure on the Palestinian Authority and encouraged their expansion.
The UN envoy also urged the two parties to act urgently to stabilize the Palestinian economy and strengthen Palestinian institutions. He added that they United Nations firmly supports Egyptian-led efforts aimed at Palestinian reconciliation.