The federal government of Nigeria yesterday expressed worries about the upsurge in violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, describing reports of Israel’s decision to expropriate 154 hectares of land in the West Bank as “deeply worrying”.
Speaking in his national capacity during a United Nations Security Council’s briefing on the situation in the Middle East, an official of the Nigerian Mission in New York, Mr. Anthony Bosah, said if the Israel’s decision is implemented, it would be Israel’s largest land seizure in that area since August 2014.
Bosah pressed further that such actions undermined a two-State solution, which the international community broadly accepted as the only path to resolving the question of Palestine.
Urging Israel to freeze all settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Nigerian official urged both Israel and Palestine to strengthen their engagement with the Middle East Quartet.
He urged that both sides must take steps to resume negotiations on the basis of relevant Council resolutions, the Quartet road map, the Madrid Principles, the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant agreements between them.
Earlier in his opening statement, UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, said 2016 had begun much like 2015 had ended, with violence and a polarized public discourse across the spectrum in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory — stabbings, vehicle attacks and shootings by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians, as well as clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.
Emphasising that security measures alone would not stop the violence, the United Nations Secretary-General said the full force of the law must be brought to bear on all those committing crimes, with justice applied equally to Israelis and Palestinians.
Also briefing the Council, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, Mr. Riyad Mansour, said that every day that passed with the Council failing to shoulder its Charter responsibility with regard to the question of Palestine meant the deaths of more innocent civilians, and more destruction of property, lives and the prospects for peace.
“Neither support nor solidarity for Palestine had been lacking, but rather the political courage and will to implement the countless Council and General Assembly resolutions. The failure to hold Israel, the occupying Power, accountable and to compel its compliance with the law had caused immense suffering for the Palestinian people,” he added.
Describing the suffering caused by Israeli settlement activities, the wars on Gaza and military raids in the West Bank, he said that any claims that such violence was necessary to ensure Israel’s security was offensive and must be rejected.
All peoples were entitled to security, not exclusively Israelis, and it could not be achieved through illegal and aggressive actions “that only fan the flames of violence and intensify anger and tensions”, he stressed, adding that such unlawful actions must be stopped.
Addressing the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Ambassador Samantha Power of the United States said the delegation of her country remained concerned about the impact of terrorism on the situation on the ground.
Condemning attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians, including one just yesterday, she described them as “reprehensible and inexcusable”. She also condemned Israeli settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, underlining that there could be no justification for any acts of terrorism, and all perpetrators must be brought by justice.
Turning to Syria, she said her delegation was horrified by the immense human suffering and the fact that “the situation just keeps getting worse”.
Some 13.5 million people were now in need of humanitarian assistance, 6 million of them children, she said, adding that humanitarian access to besieged areas remained “pitiful”.
She, however, called upon Member States to put forward robust pledges at the upcoming London conference, as well as to put increased political pressure on those who besieged civilians, dropped barrel bombs and committed other offenses.