(United Nations Headquarters, New York, 23 July 2013)
We welcome the announcement in Amman that the basis has been established to resume talks between Israel and Palestine. Our Committee appreciates the active diplomacy of Secretary of State Kerry, supported by the Arab League follow-up committee, and many world leaders. It is important that the close engagement of the international community be sustained, to make sure the parties live up to their commitments, negotiate in good faith, and refrain from steps which can jeopardise negotiations.
Just last month our Committee convened an International Meeting on Israeli-Palestinian Peace in Beijing. The high turnout and extensive media coverage it received speaks to the high priority the international community accords to this issue. Our Committee sincerely thanks the Chinese Government for hosting this event, and the Chinese experts for their active participation.
The need to redouble long-standing efforts to reach a negotiated two-State solution was stressed by participants. Speakers strongly supported the renewed engagement of the United States and the energetic diplomacy of Secretary of State Kerry, which should be given a chance to succeed. They expressed appreciation for China's efforts and initiatives, and for the revitalized role of the Arab League. They warned however that other key stakeholder such as this Council and the Quartet remained on the sidelines. They were also deeply troubled by the refusal by Israel to abide by its legal obligation to stop all settlement activities, to commit to 1967 borders and release prisoners, which continued to block progress.
The recent European Commission's directive which bans EU funding for Israeli projects in settlements is a welcome first, and hopefully not the last, concrete measure against settlements. It sends a strong message that the patience of the international community with Israeli settlements has run out. The Israeli leadership should be paying attention, and acting wisely if irreparable damage to negotiations is to be avoided.