Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question


We thank Mr.Tor Wennesland for the substantive briefing about the state of affairs in the Middle Eastern settlement.

The overall situation in the Middle East cannot improve unless the Palestinian problem is resolved. As shown by the results of the vote on yearly thematic resolutions that took place at the General Assembly this November and December, the overwhelming majority of the international community is united in its shared commitment to finding a just solution to the Palestinian question.

Given the absence of prospects for relaunching the peace process in some foreseeable future, this source of permanent tension will keep producing new waves of violence. A clear example of this was the escalation that happened in May in Gaza Strip, West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem and the Arab-populated areas of Israel. We are concerned over occasional spikes of confrontation in Jerusalem’s Old City, which inflict damage and injuries. We call on the sides to exercise restraint and reject radical steps.

The situation is exacerbated by unilateral actions – expropriation and demolition of Palestinian property, building of settlements, arbitrary detentions, violations of the status of the Holy Sites, incitement of violence. The recent Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 2334 cited very sad statistics in this regard. In particular, we were concerned over Israel’s plans (announced in October) to resume after a short pause construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank, and double the number of settlers in Jordan Valley by 2026.

We call on the sides to resume the peace process on the universally recognized international legal basis including the two-state formula. In order to achieve this, sides will need to keep from provocations and unilateral steps that create irreversible trends on the ground.

The need to overcome internal Palestinian divide on the PLO platform remains an essential prerequisite for resolving the crisis. Our proposal to convene another unifying meeting in Moscow remains on the table – whenever the leading Palestinian forces and movements are ready to endorse shared approaches and envisage them in a corresponding document. We count on assistance of other interested parties, first of all of our friends from Egypt.

We keep interacting with both Palestinians and Israelis, as well as international and regional stakeholders, i.a. in the framework of the international Quartet of intermediaries for the Middle East. One month after the visit of Prime Minister N.Bennet to Russia, President Putin met in Sochi with M.Abbas on 23 November. As a matter of principle, we support the initiative of the Palestinian President to organize an international conference on the Palestinian question.

We will keep engaging actively with our partners in the Quartet, that convened via VTC on 10 December. Our initiatives aimed at enhancing the efficiency of this mediator mechanism are well known and remain on the table.

We attach great importance to providing comprehensive humanitarian assistance to those who need it in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as Palestinian refugees in neighboring Arab states. After the May escalation, the problems of maintaining the ceasefire and rendering humanitarian assistance to the affected Palestinians, first of all in Gaza have been very pressing. In this connection, we support the efforts of specialized international organizations, including UNRWA. At the UNRWA support conference in Brussels on 16 November, Russia announced an intention to keep financing the Agency. For the next five years, Russia will be making voluntary contributions to the UNRWA budget. We believe it important that UNRWA should be able to continue with its holistic efforts to bring humanitarian assistance to millions Palestinian refugees in the Middle East, without meeting any impediments.


Since this is the last official UNSC meeting this year, we would like to express appreciation to you and the entire delegation of Niger for your able leadership of the Security Council in December. Also, availing of this opportunity, I would like to thank your delegation, as well as the delegations of Viet Nam, Tunisia, Estonia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for the cooperation during their two years at the Security Council, i.a. on the issue that we address today.

Thank you.