Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
We thank Special Coordinator for the Middle East Tor Wennesland for his briefing on the settlement activity of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories.
We are concerned over continuation and even intensification of unilateral steps that create irreversible trends in the West bank and around Gaza. Over the past year, Israel issued permits for construction of more than 12,000 housing units and had more than 1000 Palestinian houses demolished. Announced plans of Israeli authorities to double the number of Israelis residing in the West Bank and occupied Golan Heights by 2026 contradict the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention. In this regard, we underscore Russia's unwavering position of non-recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that constitute an inalienable part of Syria.
We must state with regret that violence in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem keeps increasing, i.a. as a result of a crackdown on Christian and Muslim worshippers and restriction of their access to the Holy Sites.
In parallel to this, there are arbitrary detentions of Palestinians and disproportionate use of force by Israeli military in the course of their so-called operations that often victimize women and children. The killing of Al Jazeera’s anchor Shireen Abu Akleh who was covering the operation of Israeli troops in Jenin on 11 May this year is very indicative. We have taken note of conclusions made by the UN Human Rights Council upon thorough consideration of this incident, according to which responsibility for the death of the journalist rests with the Israeli troops.
On 10 June, Israeli air force again launched strikes against the territory of Syria, this time targeting the International Airport of Damascus. The Airport sustained heavy material damage – the tarmac was badly hit, which put on hold all flights, including humanitarian.
It may seem that Israel received a carte blanche to engage in illegitimate unilateral action upon silent approval of Washington that basically blocked all opportunities to have the peace process recovered. In return, our colleagues in the Council try to impose “economic truce” on Palestinians without meeting their legitimate aspirations and letting them have a sovereign state.
The fact that the international community basically ignores any systemic violations of the rights of the Palestinians reflects Western states’ double standards with regard to provisions of the international humanitarian law and protection of human rights. We see them apply the same double standards to the situation in Ukraine.
Palestinian-Israeli conflict can only be resolved on the basis of a universally recognized two-state formula. Solid and lasting settlement is impossible unless inter-Palestinian unity is recovered. Therefore we support the relevant initiatives of Egypt, and Algeria’s plans to host another round of talks between representatives of Fatah and Hamas. Besides, our proposal to employ the potential of the Moscow platform remains on the table.
In the current conditions, it is essential that provision of comprehensive humanitarian assistance to those in need of it in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring Arab states should continue. In this connection, we support the efforts of UNRWA as the main international mechanism that renders assistance to Palestinians in the area of education, healthcare, social services, as well as improvement of infrastructure and living conditions in refugee camps.