Statement by Ambassador Vitaly I. Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, during the Security Council Meeting on situation in Middle East
The ongoing escalation of the situation in the Palestinian territories, particularly in East Jerusalem, is a matter of great concern to Moscow. It is causing increased suffering among peaceful Israelis and Palestinians, exacerbating the lack of trust between them and reducing the possibility of a political solution. Russia firmly rejects any terrorist manifestation and we again calls on both parties to stop the violence, cease acts of provocation and take immediate measures to de-escalate the situation. Any violent act against peaceful citizens is intolerable and unacceptable. It is of key importance to normalize the situation around the holy sites in East Jerusalem, which are considered sacred by Jews, Muslims and Christian. At this stage, we must avoid any step that would disrupt the status quo or lead to violent action against either Palestinians or Israelis. A situation that has lasted for decades nevertheless cannot last indefinitely. The holy sites in Jerusalem must be dealt with in a mutually beneficial way. That is possible only through negotiations on all issues relating to Jerusalem and the permanent status of the Palestinian territories.In calling for immediate steps to reduce the tension, we also note that we need to consider the root cause of what is taking place in the Palestinian territories, which goes back to the 1967 occupation of Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. It is the dangerous decades-long lack of a proper resolution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians that lies at the root of the current escalation. We cannot turn a blind eye to that fact. Israel, as the occupying Power under the norms of international law, has the primary responsibility for the situation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Until we achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian problem in the context of an internationally accepted basis for a peaceful settlement, Israel, on the basis of international conventions, must comply with humanitarian principles in its dealings with the populations of the occupied territories.We are also concerned by the situation in the Gaza Strip. We welcome the steps taken by Israel to simplify the access of necessary supplies into the Strip. But it bears saying that the individual steps taken to attenuate the blockade have not met the main demands of the Security Council and the international community, namely, the complete removal of the blockade and the restoration of control to the central Palestinian authorities over the Strip.We are ready to continue our efforts, including through the Middle East Quartet of international mediators, in order to de-escalate the situation in Palestinian-Israeli relations. The Quartet’s ministerial statement issued in New York on 30 September (SG/2220) called for specific steps to restore mutual trust and a stabilization of the situation so that both peoples can hope for a two-State solution. An important continuation of the Quartet’s efforts would have been the trip to Israel and Palestine that was supposed to take place a few days from now but was postponed at the request of Israel in connection with the recent events. We hope that the planned visit by the Quartet to the region can take place as soon as possible. It is also important to consider organizing a Security Council mission to the Middle East, which the Russian delegation proposed some years ago.Despite the overall turbulent situation in the whole region and the growth in regional terrorism, the Palestinian-Israeli problem remains the epicentre of the Middle East situation. The fact that it has not been resolved is one of the main factors for the lack of stability in the entire region, That fact continues to shake up the region, which helps extremists to recruit new members to their cause. A renewal of direct talks between Israel and Palestine, on the basis of the two-State solution, would represent a very important contribution to establishing stability in the region and security for the people living there.In July 2014, Mr. Abbas sent to the Secretary-General a request to place the Palestinian State under the United Nations system of protection. The Security Council soon received a letter from the Secretary-General saying that the matter was under consideration in the Secretariat. As we know, the Secretariat has prepared its study in that regard. We hope that the Secretary-General will officially convey the results of that study to the Council.