Thank you, President. And I also thank Deputy Special Coordinator Hastings for his briefing. I would also like to thank the United States for the update. We were heartened by President Biden’s visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories this month, as well as the announcement of US funding for East Jerusalem hospitals and UNRWA.
We welcome Israel’s commitment during this visit to restart the Joint Economic Committee and accelerate the transition to 4G in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These are important steps that have the potential to boost the Palestinian economy. We echo President Biden’s calls for urgent progress on both counts, and the UK stands ready to support.
The recent direct discussions between Prime Minister Lapid, President Herzog and Defense Minister Gantz, President Abbas and other PA leaders are similarly welcome. Such cooperation and dialogue are essential to meeting common challenges.
However, the situation on the ground remains fragile. We note with concern the UN IOM report on the increase in deaths. In the first six months of 2022, 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces during law enforcement operations in the West Bank. In the same period, 19 Israelis were killed as a result of terrorist attacks. Terrorist attacks against citizens are disgusting and unacceptable. We call on all parties to de-escalate tensions and stop the loss of life.
We applaud the US’s engagement with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to seek the truth surrounding the death of Shirin Abu Akley, and we now call for those responsible to be brought to justice.
We remain deeply concerned about the imminent threat of forced displacement of more than 1,000 Palestinians in Masafar Yatta and the recent arrest of humanitarian workers seeking to help the community.
This month we saw the dissolution of a community in Ras al Tin after their homes were demolished and settlers attacked. We call on Israel to uphold its obligations under international law to ensure the protection of the residents of Masafer Yatta and other communities in Area C, to allow humanitarian access, and to refrain from further evictions and demolitions.
We also call on Israel to halt plans to advance 1,900 settlements in East Jerusalem on July 25. The settlements are illegal under international law and threaten the physical viability of the two-state solution.
The UK believes that Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal opportunities for peace, security and prosperity. A negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state remains the best way to achieve that outcome.
Thank you, President.
Palestinians and Israelis deserve an equal measure of peace, security and prosperity
SourcePalestinians and Israelis deserve an equal measure of peace, security and prosperity