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UN warns about impact of Israeli settlement activities on Middle East

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov

A United Nations (UN) envoy has warned about the Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, saying the Israeli move is one of the main causes of instability in the Middle East.

UN Special Coordinator for the so-called Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov raised concerns about the illegal settlement activities by the Israeli regime in the occupied West Bank including East al-Quds (Jerusalem) during a session of the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, including East al-Quds (Jerusalem), in 1967.

The UN envoy said that the 15-member council must have “no illusions about the impact of these unilateral actions” by Israel on destabilizing the situation in the occupied territories and in the whole region.

The UN envoy warned about the repercussions of the continuation of tensions in the Palestinian territories, saying the conflict should be settled in order to avoid instability in the region.

“This hard-earned belief in peace and negotiations must not be allowed to wither away,” he demanded, referring to efforts to establish peace in the Palestinian territories through negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

He warned that failure to establish peace in the occupied territories "can further destabilize the Middle East for decades.”

He further referred to the Israeli onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip and the continuation of the Israeli blockade on the territory as one of the developments harming peace and security in the region. On July 7, 2014, Israel launched a 50-day war on Gaza, in which over 2,130 Palestinians lost their lives and some 11,000 others were injured.

About 1,500 buildings and structures were also demolished during the Israeli offensive. Many Gazans remain homeless as a result of the war.

The Gaza Strip has also been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007.

“No one can remain untouched by the scale of devastation, the slow pace of reconstruction, and the vast needs to rebuild lives and livelihoods” in the besieged Gaza Strip, Mladenov said, stressing that people in the blockaded area remain “desperate and angry” at the isolation imposed by the ongoing blockade on the territory, at the closure of the Rafah border crossing, and with donors for “not honouring their financial commitments for reconstruction.”

“There is a clear moral and humanitarian imperative not just for the United Nations and the international community, but primarily for the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to prevent the implosion of Gaza,” he stressed.

Mladenov further referred to the large number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and the spillover of the Syrian crisis on Lebanon, calling on the international community to increase and expedite support for Lebanon.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011.

Mladenov concluded that the growing tensions and “a vicious tide of terror and extremism” in the Middle East indicate that “peace cannot be achieved through violence, but at the negotiating table.”

He further warned about the dire consequences of unabated conflicts in the region, saying that the UN should step up efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.


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