Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question


We support the convening of this emergency Security Council meeting on the initiative of the delegations of China and the UAE regarding the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. We thank ASG Khiari for his briefing on the alarming developments in the Old City of Jerusalem on the Temple Mount.

The escalation that took place against the backdrop of the visit on 3 January of national security minister of Israel Itamar Ben-Gvir (escorted by the Israeli security forces) to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound raises gravest concerns. This incident can hardly be perceived otherwise if we recall the events of 2000, when the Temple Mount visit of A.Sharon, who was guarded by a hundred policemen, triggered the “Second Intifada” that claimed several thousand lives on both sides.

We remind once again that violation of the historical and legal status quo of Jerusalem, which is the cradle of the three monotheistic religions, and its Holy Sites is unacceptable. We note the stabilizing role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , which historically has come to protect Jerusalem’s Muslim sites and ensure free access to them. Controversies around this city remain one of the major sources of instability not only in the area of Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but also in the entire Middle East. Such steps threaten to shatter the situation completely and result in large-scale armed clashes, the likes of which we witnessed on numerous occasions.

In this regard, we strongly call on both sides to act in a reserved manner, and abstain from provocative steps and unilateral action.

In particular, we do count on the new Israeli cabinet to not embark on the escalation path, but rather demonstrate political will and reject radical steps that create irreversible facts on the ground, including demolition of Palestinian real estate and confiscation of property. Such a stance would serve the interests of peaceful settlement.


The developments in Jerusalem that turn out highly explosive for the entire region, once again prove that finding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict can no longer be postponed. We need to preclude recurrence of violent confrontation. To achieve this, we need to conjugate the international and regional efforts, aimed at creating conditions for resetting direct negotiations of Palestinians and Israelis in the framework of the negotiated principle of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and in the borders of 1967. To our utter disappointment, our American colleagues in the Middle East Quartet still refuse to work together in the interests of revitalizing the Middle Eastern settlement. In the meantime, it is clear that attempts to monopolize the settlement process and impose an economic truce on Palestinians instead of meeting their aspirations for an independent state in good faith lead to no concrete results, which is now obvious to everyone.

On our part, we will go on with efforts aimed at finding an international consensus and coordinating joint steps to be taken together with Israelis and Palestinians, as well as interested international stakeholders in order to effect a just solution of the Palestinian question. We are convinced that direct dialogue between the two sides should be carried out under energetic assistance of the Quartet as the only internationally recognized and UNSC-endorsed mechanism for the Middle Eastern settlement.

At the same time, we note the importance of conjoining the activity of the Quartet with that of regional stakeholders. Guided by these considerations, Russia proposed to hold an extended ministerial meeting of the Quartet with representatives of Arab states. On 3 January, Foreign Minister of Russia S.Lavrov talked on the phone with his Israeli counterpart E.Kohen. During the conversation, Minister Lavrov underscored our principled and consistent position on the Palestinian question, which envisages settlement of Palestinian-Israeli disputes on the basis of relevant UNGA and UNSC resolutions and the principle “two states for two peoples”. We call on the colleagues to approach with all seriousness the issue of revitalizing the peace process in the framework of the universally recognized international legal basis for the Middle East settlement.

Thank you.