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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 January 2017


January 2017
Volume XL, Bulletin No. 1

Bulletin
on action by the United Nations system and
intergovernmental organizations
relevant to the question of Palestine



Contents
I.
UN Special Coordinator issues statement on terror attack in Jerusalem
II.
Security Council condemns terrorist attack in Jerusalem
III.
UN Secretary-General condemns deadly Jerusalem terror attack
IV.
UN Special Coordinator expresses concern about the electricity crisis and protests in Gaza
V.
UN Special Coordinator welcomes reactivation of the Israeli - Palestinian Joint Water Committee
VI.
Conference on peace in the Middle East sponsored by France reaffirms two-state solution
VII.
UN Special Coordinator, in briefing to Security Council, calls on stakeholders to avoid any unilateral action




The Bulletin can be found in the United Nations Information System
on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL) on the Internet at:
http://unispal.un.org
Disclaimer:

The texts cited in this Monthly Bulletin have been reproduced in their original form. The Division for Palestinian Rights is consequently not responsible for the views, positions or discrepancies contained in these texts.



I. UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR ISSUES STATEMENT ON TERROR ATTACK IN JERUSALEM

On 8 January 2017, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, issued the following statement on a terror attack that killed four Israeli soldiers:

I condemn today’s terror attack by a Palestinian perpetrator in Jerusalem which reportedly killed four Israeli soldiers and injured several others.

My thoughts are with the families and friends of all victims.

It is reprehensible that some choose to glorify such acts which undermine the possibility of a peaceful future for both Palestinians and Israelis. There is nothing heroic in such actions.

I urge all to condemn violence and incitement, maintain calm and to do everything they can to avoid further escalation.


II. SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS TERRORIST ATTACK IN JERUSALEM

The following press statement was issued on 8 January 2017 by Security Council President Olof Skoog condemning in the strongest terms a terrorist attack in Jerusalem (SC/12670):

‎The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in Jerusalem on 8 January, in which 4 Israelis were killed and 15 injured. They expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Israel. They wished a speedy recovery to those injured.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need for those responsible for this reprehensible act of terrorism to be held accountable.‎

The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. They reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.


III. UN SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS DEADLY JERUSALEM TERROR ATTACK

On 9 January 2017, the Spokesperson for Secretary-General António Guterres issued the following statement on a deadly terrorist attack that occurred in Jerusalem (SG/SM/18403):

The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack by a Palestinian assailant which took place in Jerusalem yesterday. He conveys his condolences to the bereaved families and wishes a swift recovery to those who were injured.

Violence and terror will not bring a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — quite the opposite. All those responsible for such acts must be brought to justice, condemned and disavowed. Their acts should not be allowed to deter from the need for a renewed commitment to dialogue.


IV. UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT THE ELECTRICITY CRISIS AND PROTESTS IN GAZA S

On 13 January 2017, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, issued the following statement on electricity shortages in Gaza:

I am following with great concern the tense situation unfolding in Gaza after two million Palestinians have been left with just a couple of hours of electricity per day in the middle of winter.

I call for the full respect of the right to freedom of expression, peaceful protest and assembly in Gaza. All responsible authorities must cooperate to resolve the electricity crisis immediately.


V. UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR WELCOMES REACTIVATION OF THE ISRAELI - PALESTINIAN JOINT WATER COMMITTEE w

On 16 January 2017, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, issued the following statement:

I welcome the signature of an agreement to renew the activity of the Israeli – Palestinian Joint Water Committee to improve the water infrastructure and supply in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

This, along with previous joint agreements on electricity, water, mail and 3G cellular coverage, is in line with the Middle East Quartet’s recommendations.

If fully implemented, this agreement would be an important step towards preserving the two-state solution. I encourage further cooperation between the two sides which is critical to the viability of a future Palestinian state.


VI. CONFERENCE ON PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST SPONSORED BY FRANCE REAFFIRMS TWO-STATE SOLUTION

On 15 January 2017, a conference on Peace in the Middle East sponsored by France was held in Paris where participants from more than 70 countries and international organizations reaffirmed that the only way to achieve lasting peace is through a negotiated solution with two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. The following is the declaration issued after the conference:

Following the ministerial meeting held in Paris on 3 June 2016, the participants met in Paris on 15 January 2017 to reaffirm their support for a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They reaffirmed that a negotiated solution with two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, is the only way to achieve enduring peace.

They emphasized the importance for the parties to restate their commitment to this solution, to take urgent steps in order to reverse the current negative trends on the ground, including continued acts of violence and ongoing settlement activity, and to start meaningful direct negotiations.

They reiterated that a negotiated two-State solution should meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides, including the Palestinians’ right to statehood and sovereignty, fully end the occupation that began in 1967, satisfy Israel’s security needs and resolve all permanent status issues on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and they also recalled other relevant Security Council resolutions.

They underscored the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 as a comprehensive framework for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, thus contributing to regional peace and security.

They welcomed international efforts to advance Middle East peace, including the adoption of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016) on 23 December 2016, in which the Council clearly condemned settlement activity, incitement to and all acts of violence and terror, and called upon both sides to take steps to advance the two-State solution on the ground; the recommendations of the Quartet on 1 July 2016; and the United States Secretary of State’s principles on the two-State solution on 28 December 2016.

They noted the importance of addressing the dire humanitarian and security situation in the Gaza Strip and called for swift steps to improve the situation.

They emphasized the importance for Israelis and Palestinians to comply with international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law.

The participants highlighted the potential for security, stability and prosperity for both parties that could result from a peace agreement. They expressed their readiness to exert necessary efforts towards the achievement of the two-State solution and to contribute substantially to arrangements for ensuring the sustainability of a negotiated peace agreement, in particular in the areas of political and economic incentives, the consolidation of Palestinian state capacities, and civil society dialogue. Those could include:

• A European special privileged partnership; other political and economic incentives and increased private sector involvement; support to further efforts by the parties to improve economic cooperation; continued financial support to the Palestinian Authority in building the infrastructure for a viable Palestinian economy.

• Supporting and strengthening steps taken by Palestinians to exercise their responsibilities of statehood through consolidating their institutions and institutional capacities, including for service delivery.

• Convening Israeli and Palestinian civil society forums, in order to enhance dialogue between the parties, rekindle the public debate and strengthen the role of civil society on both sides.

Looking ahead, the participants:

• Call upon both sides to officially restate their commitment to the two-State solution, thus disassociating themselves from voices that reject this solution.

• Call upon each side to independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-State solution and refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of negotiations on final status issues, including on Jerusalem, borders, security and refugees, and that they will not recognize.

• Welcome the prospect of closer cooperation between the Quartet and Arab League members and other relevant actors to further the objectives of this declaration.

As follow-up to the conference, interested participants, expressing their readiness to review progress, resolved to meet again before the end of the year in order to support both sides in advancing the two-State solution through negotiations.

France will inform the parties about the international community’s collective support and concrete contribution to the two-State solution contained in this joint declaration.


VII. UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR, IN BRIEFING TO SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS ON STAKEHOLDERS TO AVOID ANY UNILATERAL ACTION i

On 17 January 2017, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, briefed the Security Council on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”. The following are excerpts from his briefing (S/PV.7863)

I report to the Security Council today in the aftermath of the appalling truck-ramming attack on 8 January that killed four Israelis and injured 17 others in Jerusalem. Such attacks can never be justified and must be universally condemned. This act of cowardice was neither courageous nor heroic. Such terrorist attacks must be unequivocally condemned by all. It is regrettable that some Palestinian factions and leaders have chosen to praise the attack, to glorify it or simply to ignore it.

Despite the relative tranquillity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict compared to developments in the region, the spectre of violence is always near. Leaders on all sides have a responsibility to reduce tensions and provide a political horizon to their people. Most importantly, we all have a responsibility to prevent the conflict from being engulfed in the nexus of violent extremism and religious turmoil that is sweeping across the Middle East.

In this first briefing to the Security Council in 2017, I would like to begin by honouring the critical efforts of the United Nations country team on the ground. The United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, which work in a challenging security and political environment, deserve our full support and recognition. Every day, the United Nations provides free basic education to over 300,000 students in 350 schools and family health services to almost 1.7 million people in 64 health centres. Every month, we deliver an average of 780,000 litres of fuel to sustain health, water and sanitation, and municipal services. Every quarter, the United Nations provides food assistance to 1 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza and the West Bank.

Yet, we also plan for the future. The United Nations in Palestine implements programmes that will bring about sustainable solutions to the economic challenges facing Palestinian households. United Nations programmes have supported the Palestinian Government in the creation of approximately 14,000 businesses and 45,000 jobs for people who were previously reliant on humanitarian assistance. We help strengthen Palestinian institutions and prepare them for the future. The United Nations facilitates emergency preparedness and regional disaster-risk cooperation between Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian emergency authorities.

The services that we provide to Palestinians touch thousands of lives across the West Bank and Gaza. This vital work would have been impossible without the cooperation and support of both Israeli and Palestinian authorities and our counterparts. On behalf of the teams on the ground, I would like to thank the Security Council and all Member States for their invaluable and continuing support.

In the Council, I have repeatedly warned that the failure of leaders on both sides to reverse the current negative trajectory will ensure that Israelis and Palestinians continue to live as prisoners of fear, trapped in a perpetual cycle of conflict. On 23 December, the Security Council adopted resolution 2334 (2016). It reiterated some of the key obstacles to achieving a negotiated two-State solution that were also identified in the July 2016 report of the Middle East Quartet, namely, the construction and expansion of illegal settlements; continued acts of violence and terrorism; and incitement.

The international community has clearly said that both sides must do their part in creating the necessary conditions to launch final status direct negotiations. It has called on Israel to demonstrate its commitment to the two-State solution by ceasing settlement activities and by implementing policy shifts consistent with prior agreements. It has called on the Palestinian leadership to demonstrate its commitment to a peaceful two-State future by clearly condemning all acts of terrorism and taking significant steps to curb incitement. Such steps by both sides would have a powerful and positive impact on the prospects for peace. The Middle East Quartet has been calling for such steps — a call that the Security Council and the international community has now welcomed. In the aftermath of the vote, emotions on the ground have been heightened. Calls have been made for the annexation of parts of or the whole of Area C. Such divisive positions risk destroying the prospects for peace. All stakeholders must avoid any unilateral action that would prejudge a negotiated final status solution.

Last weekend in Paris, France hosted over 70 countries and international organizations, not to impose conditions on Israelis and Palestinians but to reaffirm our collective support for the two-State solution and our readiness to support both parties in returning to meaningful negotiations. In particular, I note and appreciate the participants' welcoming of the Quartet recommendations.

While these political developments were unfolding abroad, important events were taking place on the ground. After a relative lull, during the reporting period Israel conducted 24 demolitions, resulting in the displacement of 167 persons in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Yesterday the Israel Defense Forces fatally shot a 17-year-old Palestinian during clashes near Bethlehem. I reiterate that live fire should be used only as a last resort in situations of imminent threat of death or serious injury. Such incidents where use of force has resulted in death or injury must be properly investigated.

Turning to internal Palestinian developments, the reported revocation in December of the parliamentary immunity of five Fatah-bloc members in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) renewed debate about the legality of the decision to lift parliamentary immunity in the absence of regular PLC meetings. Palestine has come a long way on its path towards building State institutions. Safeguarding their independence and checks and balances is vital to maintaining the public's trust.

Much-needed preparations have begun on holding a regular session of the Palestinian National Council, which was last convened some two decades ago. I encourage all factions to seize this opportunity to achieve genuine reconciliation on the basis of the Palestine Liberation Organization principles. Russia's recent initiative in Moscow, which provided a forum for Palestinian factions to hold open discussions, is also a welcome effort in that direction.

In Gaza, I remain greatly concerned by increasing tensions exacerbated by the continued closures and the protracted humanitarian and development situation. I am particularly concerned by Hamas' crackdown on recent peaceful protests after 2 million Palestinians were left with just a couple of hours of electricity per day in the middle of winter. The right to freedom of expression, peaceful protest and assembly in Gaza must be respected fully by all. While the immediate electricity crisis has been averted thanks to the generous and timely support of the State of Qatar, the responsible authorities must find a suitable, long-term solution to resolve the chronic electricity shortage. The United Nations is working to support such efforts.

Against that backdrop, there have also been some positive developments. Israel has increased the entry of critical construction materials into Gaza in recent weeks, but donor funds for shelter remain critically low. The current $300-million reconstruction gap is far too large. Less than half of the $3.5 billion that were committed two and a half years ago at the Cairo Gaza pledging conference have been disbursed.

The long, bloody history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has offered us many lessons, some of which we have learned but too many that we have not. One lesson that we should all have learned by now is that opportunities to advance peace are rare and must be seized. Making the necessary compromises will never be easy. In recent weeks, the international community has expressed its continued commitment to the two-State solution, but resolutions and communiqués alone will not achieve a just and lasting peace. What is required is action, first and foremost on the part of the parties themselves. The United Nations remains committed to supporting Israelis and Palestinians on the difficult road ahead.


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