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Annex to the letter dated 26 June 2013 from the Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations addressed to
the President of the Security Council
Assessment of the work of the Security Council during the presidency of Rwanda (April 2013)
Middle East (including the Palestinian question)
On 24 April, the Council held its quarterly open debate on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs provided a briefing to the Council, including on the stalled Middle East peace process, saying that the tragedy in the Syrian Arab Republic made it even more vital for all parties to work collectively to preserve stability in the Middle East. The situation in the Syrian Arab Republic continued to deteriorate. He called for swift action to address the humanitarian situation, both inside and outside the Syrian Arab Republic, adding that Jordan and Lebanon in particular needed support given their proximity to the crisis.
There was currently increased risk throughout the Middle East. Rapid action was necessary not only to address the impact of the Syrian crisis, but also to make progress in advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, had visited the region in March, affording an important opportunity for both parties to make serious efforts to further peace.
On the Middle East peace process, the United Nations remained committed to working with the parties involved, but much would depend on their political willingness to create conditions conducive to resuming the political process. The financial viability of the Palestinian Authority remained at risk, he said, reiterating the call for it to receive more financial support. The past month had seen an increase in Palestinian casualties, mostly as a result of new clashes with Israeli security forces during Palestinian demonstrations that had grown violent.
On the occasion of Palestinian Prisoners Day (17 April), some 3,000 prisoners had gone on hunger strike for the day. Demonstrations had been held in the main West Bank cities, resulting in 11 Palestinians being injured by Israeli security forces. During the ensuing clashes, the Israeli security forces had killed two Palestinian teenagers and injured two others at a checkpoint near Tulkarem after they had allegedly thrown Molotov cocktails at the checkpoint.
He reiterated that demonstrations must remain non-violent, while urging the Israeli security forces to show the utmost restraint and to ensure the right of Palestinians to demonstrate peacefully and freely. He also expressed concern at the continued developments with regard to settlement activity. Such activity was in violation of international law and could further undermine Palestinians’ confidence in the viability of the two-State solution.
In the same vein, he reiterated his strong condemnation of the ﬁring of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Indiscriminate rocket firing was intended to sow fear and cause civilian casualties and could trigger cycles of violence that were difficult to stop. He also called upon Israel to act with restraint, expressing concern about the impact of Israeli restrictions on the civilian population in Gaza.