Statement by Chargé d'Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Russia to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
We welcome you in the Chair of the Security Council today. We welcome Foreign Minister of Ghana Shirley Botchwey and Foreign Minister of Palestine Riyad al-Maliki who are taking part in this meeting.
We thank Tor Wennesland for a substantive briefing about the situation around the Middle Eastern settlement. We also listened carefully to Mr. Gidon Bromberg and Ms. Nada Majdalani.
Tension would not go down in the area of Palestinian-Israeli confrontation, causing casualties on either side. As we heard from Special Coordinator today, the situation gets aggravated by unilateral illegitimate action: violations of the status of Holy Sites, expanding settlement activity, confiscation of Palestinian lands, evictions, arbitrary arrests and violence against civilians. We are concerned over recurring outbreaks of confrontation in Jerusalem, that bring along wounds and injuries. In particular, we are very much concerned by what the Israeli police did yesterday in Sheikh Jarrah, evicting a Palestinian family from its home.
We call on the sides to demonstrate restraint and reject radical steps that create irreversible developments on the ground, as well as resume the settlement process on the universally recognized international legal basis.
We attach great importance to providing comprehensive humanitarian assistance to those in need in the West Bank and Gaza, and to Palestinian refugees in neighboring Arab states. We support efforts of specialized international organizations, especially of UNRWA. It is essential that financial support to the Agency must not be impeded so that UNRWA could set forth its comprehensive efforts to render humanitarian support to millions of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. Russia will keep making annual voluntary contributions to the budget of UNRWA.
In this context, we give a positive assessment to the results of the ministerial meeting of the Ad-hoc Liaison Committee that took place in Oslo last November. We note the contribution of Norway to organizing this event, which confirmed that the global community remained seized of the issue of Middle Eastern settlement.
Today the Norwegian Presidency suggests focusing on preparing the ground for negotiations in order to reinvigorate the peace process between Israel and Palestine. We are convinced that settlement can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the sides. Thereby we believe multilateral efforts remain highly relevant and need to be galvanized in order to create favorable conditions for the negotiations, first of all in the framework of the international Quartet of intermediaries for the Middle East. We will continue engaging meaningfully with our partners in the Quartet in order to boost efficiency of this mediator tool by articulating possible collective steps that should help implement the UN-endorsed two-state solution. We reiterate the importance of calling a ministerial meeting of the Quartet and establishing close interaction of this mechanism with Palestinians, Israelis and key regional stakeholders.
We emphasize that peace process cannot move forward unless Palestine recovers its unity on the PLO platform. We stand ready to render the required assistance at this track while working together with other interested sides, first of all our Egyptian friends.
Let me say in conclusion that we have growing concerns regarding Israel’s announced plans to expand its settlement presence on the occupied Golan Heights. It is not only about progress with endorsement of the construction of “Ramat Trump” settlement, thе plans for which were announced back in 2020, but also about construction of two more settlements – Asif and Matar – containing 12,000 housing units. The Israeli leadership said it was going to double the number of Israelis on the Golan Heights, which directly contradicts the provisions of the Geneva Convention of 1949.
On our part, we reiterate that Russia does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that are an integral part of Syria.