Lasting resolution that delivers peace for Israelis and Palestinians is long overdue

Thank you President. I also thank Special Coordinator Wennesland for his briefing and for the continued efforts of his team.

Last week, the UK Minister for the Middle East, Amanda Milling, visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Minister met many inspirational Israelis and Palestinians doing vital work to improve the situation. This included Palestinian business leaders who, despite the challenges, are driving success in the Palestinian economy. The Minister also met Israelis in Lod who are working to bridge gaps and foster tolerance and co-existence in their communities.

However, the visit took place against a backdrop of ongoing violence and instability across the Occupied Palestinian Territories. As the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of resolution 2334 highlights, we are seeing continued negative trends and unnecessary loss of life. The Minister saw for herself last week the pain and suffering evictions and demolitions are causing Palestinians in Masafar Yatta and Sheikh Jarrah. Protecting human rights and ensuring accountability for illegal actions and abuses is essential.

Turning to UNRWA, the Minister observed first hand the critical role the agency plays in helping maintain stability through its delivery of core services and humanitarian and protection assistance to Palestinian refugees. The UK was proud to announce this week our new multi-year funding agreement with UNRWA and provide £15 million this year.

We are alive to the challenges facing the agency, and are committed to ensuring it’s on a more viable financial footing. We call on all donors, especially in the region, to provide predictable, multi-year funding so it can continue its vital work.

President, we must not ignore the toll this prolonged conflict has taken on the people of Gaza. We continue to call on the Israeli authorities to end restrictions on movement, access and trade. Fifteen years of these restrictions have caused significant damage to the living standards of ordinary Palestinians in Gaza. Supporting prosperity for Gazans is firmly in Israel’s long-term interests. We encourage a time bound commitment for a durable solution for Gaza.

The ongoing tensions underline that a just and lasting resolution that ends the occupation and delivers peace for both Israelis and for the Palestinians is long overdue. We urge the parties, supported by the international community, to do all they can to rebuild trust and take the path back to dialogue.

Thank you.

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