Statement by Ambassador Flynn at UNSC Meeting on the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question
Statement28 July 2021
Thank you Mr. President,
I would like to welcome the participation of Deputy Special Coordinator Hastings and Ms. Oppenheimer, Executive Director of Ir Amim, for your very comprehensive briefings morning. I would also like to welcome the participation Ambassador Erdan and Ambassador Mansour.
While the ceasefire agreed in May broadly continues to hold broadly, it remains fragile.
Ireland reiterates that the all unilateral actions which threaten the ceasefire and which undermine prospects for a two-State solution must be avoided. The root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be addressed.
We emphasize that women and girls are disproportionately impacted by the conflict, not least during the recent escalation in May, and must be an intrinsic part of efforts to secure a sustainable peace.
We continue to be concerned by worrying trends on the ground.
Ireland condemns the demolitions and seizures in the communities of Humsa al- Baqai’a and Ras al Tin in Area C of the occupied West Bank earlier this month. The increased rate of demolitions, including of donor-funded structures, across the West Bank so far in 2021 is deeply concerning. We have seen an increase in the total number of structures targeted and people displaced in the first 6 months of 2021 when compared with the same period in 2020.
The most recent mass demolition in Humsa al- Baqai’a constitutes the sixth incident of demolitions or confiscations the community has faced this year. This disturbing cycle has serious implications for affected communities. There is a particular risk of long-term effects on children, whose sense of safety is fundamental to their development. Ireland calls on the Israeli authorities to end further unnecessary demolitions of Palestinian homes and property, and to ensure humanitarian access is granted to communities in need and in compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Ireland is also deeply concerned by the possible evictions of families from their homes in East Jerusalem, including in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, a source of tension, which seriously undermines the prospects for peace. It is imperative that these evictions do not go ahead; that families are allowed to remain in their homes, living in dignity and in safety. Recent events once again underscore the importance of maintaining the status quo at the Holy Sites.
I repeat Ireland’s call on Israel to halt all settlement activity in occupied territory including in East Jerusalem. Such actions are illegal under international law and continue at an alarming rate despite repeated calls from this Council for their immediate and complete end.
Furthermore, Ireland underscores that individuals exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression, must be protected and these rights upheld.
We note the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry by the President of the Human Rights Council, to be chaired by Navi Pillay and express support for the Commission in undertaking its mandate.
In the Gaza Strip, our immediate priority must be on the recovery from the latest cycle of conflict. The World Bank, UN, and EU Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment identified a need for almost half a billion dollars for immediate and short-term recovery. An integrated, robust package is essential for sustainable reconstruction and recovery that supports the Palestinian people and strengthens their institutions. Ultimately, however, only a political solution will address the challenges in Gaza and throughout the occupied territory. We must redouble efforts to this end.
UNRWA, as the largest international organisation operating in Gaza, has a critical role to play. In the face of an increasingly complex operating environment, we urge international donors to support UNRWA’s emergency appeals and increase support. Ireland renews its call on Israel to end the blockade of Gaza.
I would like to touch briefly on the situation in Syria. Ireland supports the efforts of Special Envoy Pedersen and underlines that a negotiated political solution, with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and the inclusion of youth is the only solution to the Syrian conflict. We urge the Syrian government to engage constructively with the Special Envoy so that a meaningful sixth session of the Constitutional Committee can commence.
Turning finally to Lebanon, we are following the political and socio-economic crisis with growing concern. We welcome the nomination of Najib Mikati as Prime Minister-designate and call on all Lebanese political leaders to put the people of Lebanon first, and form an inclusive government so that reform and recovery, so badly needed, can begin.
Thank you Mr. President.