The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
At a public meeting held on 24 August 2005, the Council was briefed by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs on the situation in the Middle East following the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank. The disengagement had mostly proceeded smoothly and rapidly, but genuine and difficult challenges remained. At the informal consultations which followed, the members of the Council welcomed the way in which the process had unfolded. The President then read out a statement to the press in which he emphasized the importance of full disengagement as a first step towards resumption of the peace process.
On 23 September, following a briefing by Alvaro de Soto, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, on the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the Council adopted a statement by the President (S/PRST/2005/44) supporting the statement issued in New York on 20 September 2005 by the Quartet.
On 20 October, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs briefed the Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, emphasizing that, because of violent incidents, deteriorating security was once again threatening to derail the political process.
On 30 November, in a further statement by the President (S/PRST/2005/57), the Council welcomed the successful opening of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
On 20 December, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs once again addressed the Council, notably speaking on the preparations for Palestinian legislative elections. During the consultations which followed, the members of the Council discussed the implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access, the obligations of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and preparations for the Palestinian elections due shortly thereafter.
On 3 February 2006, after consultations of the whole, the Council adopted a statement by the President (S/PRST/2006/6) congratulating the Palestinian people on the free and fair elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council. The Council expressed the hope that the new Palestinian Government would remain committed to realizing the aspirations of the Palestinian people for peace.
During consultations held on 14 March, the Council considered, but did not adopt, a draft statement by the President proposed by the representative of Qatar.
On 13 April, at informal consultations, the delegation of Qatar proposed a further draft statement by the President on the upsurge of violence in the Middle East. Because of differing positions, the statement was not adopted.
On 17 April, following a request by three States on behalf of the Group of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, the Council held a public meeting on the Middle East, during which 33 speakers took the floor. Most representatives condemned the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on 17 April and urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to do their utmost to curb attacks and counter-attacks. The Council failed to reach agreement on a draft statement to the press proposed by the representative of the United States.
On 24 April, at a public meeting, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process pointed out the potentially dangerous deterioration of the situation in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Afterwards, the members of the Council held informal consultations and agreed in general with the assessment of the situation by the Special Coordinator.
On 24 May, the Security Council considered the conclusions of the meeting of the Quartet on the Middle East, in particular the new Government of the Palestinian Authority led by Hamas, and the humanitarian and financial crisis in the Palestinian territories.
At a public meeting on 13 July, the Council voted on a draft resolution on the situation in the Middle East submitted by Qatar. Having received 10 votes in favour, 1 against and 4 abstentions, the draft was not adopted because of the negative vote of a permanent member of the Council.