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 debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question


We thank Special Coordinator Wennesland for his informative briefing about the situation with the Middle Eastern settlement.

We have just listened to a very emotional address by Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour. His speech surely strikes a cord with everyone who cares for the future of the Palestinian people and wishes for Palestine and Israel to live peacefully side by side.


The Council is truly indebted to the Palestinians. Resolutions by the Security Council and General Assembly failed to be implemented for decades. I wonder why those who actually sabotaged those resolutions provide no account of it. We believe it is high time the Council made steps to rectify this unacceptable situation. 

Today’s debate on the situation in the Middle East is taking place against the backdrop of another spiral of Palestinian-Israeli escalation in the occupied Palestinian territories – the West Bank, including Eastern Jerusalem, and also the Gaza Strip – that triggered deadly clashes and numerous casualties.   

Reports are coming in almost daily that civilians die there in the course of Israel’s so-called “anti-terror raids”. There are also victims among the Israeli servicemen. These developments raise our grave concern. We call on everyone to act in a reserved manner, abstain from violence and provocative steps.

This is not the first time such outbreaks of violence are taking place. Violence may recur due to unilateral steps, first of all by Israel, that create irreversible facts on the ground, e.g. settlement activity in the occupied territories, eviction of Palestinians and demolition of their houses, expropriation of property, arbitrary arrests, and a de-facto carte blanche of the Israeli military to use force.

The current situation has resulted from many years of stagnation in the area of Middle Eastern settlement. The United States and the European Union bear a considerable share of responsibility for this tragic state of affairs. While claiming that there are other crises that need to be prioritized, Washington and Brussels seek to divert the attention of the global community from acute regional conflicts, i.a. the one that is key for the entire Middle East – the conflict of Israel and Palestine. The interaction in the Middle East Quartet of intermediaries – a unique diplomatic mechanism that has been endorsed by UNSC resolutions – has stalled. And this is not the first time such a thing happens. Our colleagues can always find a pretext to explain why they are not ready to get down to serious work aimed at bringing peace to Palestinian-Israeli relations.  

Russia sticks to its consistent and unchanging position on this matter: a reliable and lasting solution of the Palestinian problem can only be effected through enacting the UN-endorsed two-state formula, which prescribes for Palestine and Israel to co-exist peacefully within the 1967 borders. Thereby Israel’s security concerns must be taken into account.

We do not recognize attempts to deviate from this principle or substitute it by some doubtful concepts like “alternative homeland” or “economic truce” for the Palestinians. Such ideas are promoted by those who cherish plans to plunge the entire Middle East into a state of chaos, and undermine the evolving momentum to resolve the lasting problems through a dialogue.

Those who are opposed to the peace process make use of this protracted recession of Middle Eastern political settlement. They exploit the current status quo to create singlehandedly irreversible reality on the ground. Violence coupled with settlement activities and unilateral attempts to revise the status of Jerusalem’s Holy Sites further antagonize the situation. This undermines prospects for creating an independent, integral, and territorially contiguous Palestinian state.

We see a way out of this vicious circle in the immediate resumption of Palestinian-Israeli talks, the need for which we repeatedly emphasized over a long time, and the restoration of international cooperation. Other issues pertaining to the final status, including refugees and water management also need to be resolved in the course of direct negotiations. As a positive development, we note the recent decision made by the Palestinian factions at a meeting in Algiers to keep moving towards national unity. We think this was an important step that confirmed the commitment of Palestinians to embark on negotiations from common positions. Russia stands ready to assist both Palestinians and regional stakeholders in this matter.

In principal terms, we remain committed to collective efforts. In our national capacity, we will follow up on our extensive contacts with the sides and all regional stakeholders in order to improve the situation in the Middle East and resolve problems in the region, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

We we surprised to hear the Permanent Representative of Israel make steadfast assertions about alleged use of Iranian UAVs in Ukraine, to which he referred as to a confirmed fact. 

Thank you.