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 thank Tor Wennesland for the briefing on the progress of UNSC resolution 2334.

We note that outbreaks of violence in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and Gaza Strip have started to recur with alarming frequency. We are convinced that the situation is going to remain highly explosive unless the sides achieve mutually acceptable agreements on all outstanding issues of final status while proceeding from the internationally recognized legal basis of the Middle Eastern settlement with the two-state solution as its central piece, which we unfailingly support.

In the context of SRSG’s remarks about the implementation of resolution 2334, we reiterate our principled position that construction of Israeli settlements on the Palestinian territory (including Eastern Jerusalem) that has been occupied since 1967 constitutes a violation of international law and one of the main impediments to resolving this crisis.  

Mass detentions of Palestinians take place daily. In the West Bank, Israelis carry on with disproportionate forceful and deadly raids; there are recurrent outbreaks of violence around Gaza. By current estimates, 158 people have been killed since the beginning of the year in the West Bank and further 52 in Gaza. Last week another tragic incident happened in Jenin, where a young girl named Jana Zakarna was killed. Expropriation of Palestinian properties continues, as well as demolition of housings, and systematic violations of the status quo of Jerusalem’s Holy Sites.

Israel’s arbitrary unlawful activities reach beyond the limits of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, having an impact on the neighboring Arab States. This includes numerous violations of their sovereignty, i.a. for launching of attacks against the territory of Syria and Lebanon.


Against this backdrop, the United States holds back (on a far-fetched pretext) from meaningful participation in the Quartet of international intermediaries for the Middle East which also includes Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. So the work of this UNSC-endorsed multilateral mechanism has virtually been blocked. Russia is committed to resolving the Middle Eastern conflict in accordance with provisions of international law. We stand for the soonest recovery of the Quartet’s activities.

History has repeatedly demonstrated that attempts by the United States to monopolize the Middle East settlement process are futile and doomed to failure. Those can only exacerbate the antagonism of Palestinians and Israelis. Suffice if to say that Washington’s efforts to resolve the conflict all by themselves back in 2014 rendered the peace process deeply stagnated, and so it has remained since then. 

We remain convinced that the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians to have an own independent state need to be accommodated in conformity with the universally recognized legal basis. There is no alternative to direct Palestinian-Israeli talks on all parameters of the final settlement. Based on this understanding, we supported the cluster of resolutions on Middle Eastern settlement in the General Assembly last week.  

The global community must play a constructive role in Palestinian-Israeli settlement and in alleviating the acute humanitarian and socio-economic problems in the occupied territories, first of all in Gaza. We attach great importance to continued efforts of UNRWA, which provides support to Palestinians both in the occupied territories and in the neighboring Arab states.

Thank you.