The recent deadly escalation between Israeli security forces and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza was yet another reminder of the volatile security situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the United Nations senior official for Middle East peace told the Security Council today, as members urged parties to observe the recent ceasefire and voiced alarm over the continued violence, settlement activities and inflammatory rhetoric.
Tor Wennesland, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, speaking via videoconference, reported that the latest round of hostilities between Israeli security forces and Palestinian armed groups, sparked by the death of a Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader in an Israeli jail following an 86-day hunger strike, resulted in an exchange of airstrikes and rocket launches that killed 10 Palestinian civilians and displaced more than 1,100 others.
In that regard, he spotlighted the efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations to end recent hostilities and underlined the need to create conditions for a lasting peace, including by bolstering the Palestinian Authority and preserving the provision of critical services to the Palestinian people.
Also briefing the Council was Tania Hary, Executive Director, Gisha Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, who said that although her organization represents a minority view in Israel, it is part of “a vibrant civil society in Israel and in Palestine under increasing threat”. Detailing the impact of Israel’s persisting control over Palestinians — particularly regarding movement and access — she also stressed that young people in Gaza “know no other reality than closure and war”.
In the ensuing discussion, Council members urged parties to maintain the recent ceasefire and uphold their commitments made in the Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh meetings, with many also condemning the escalating violence and civilian casualties, as well as the ongoing settlement activities and inciteful rhetoric.
The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 11:43 a.m.