UNSC members: Israeli-Palestinian talks must be based on pre-1967 lines

‘The two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the future capital for both states, is the only way to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the region,’ the six EU nations said

The UN Security Council (photo credit: TAMAR BEERI)
The UN Security Council
(photo credit: TAMAR BEERI)
United Nations Security Council members Tuesday pushed back at US President Donald Trump’s peace plan by calling for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks based on the pre-1967 lines, even as they lauded the normalization deals he brokered between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
“We remain convinced that sustainable peace, security and stability in the Middle East cannot be reached without a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in line with international law and relevant UN resolutions,” four European Union nations that are also Security Council members said.
Belgium, Estonia, France and Germany issued the statement right after Tuesday’s monthly Security Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Norway and Ireland – incoming council members as of January 2021, both EU nations – also supported the statement.
“The two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the future capital for both states, is the only way to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the region,” the six EU nations said.
At the UN General Assembly Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinians to resume negotiations on the basis of Trump’s peace plan, which rejects the pre-1967 lines. It provides instead for the eventual Israeli annexation of 30% of the West Bank and recognizes Israeli sovereignty over a majority of Jerusalem.
Many of the 15 Security Council members, however, said that the pre-1967 boundaries are still very much in play.
At the meeting in New York, Russia said: “There was an understanding that a just solution to the Palestinian problem within the internationally recognized legal framework [endorsed by the UN, including its resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative and the fundamental ‘two-state principle’] must be an inalienable component of [a peace] settlement.”
China lauded a call by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for a UN-convened international conference to be held in early 2021 to resume talks with Israel, based on the pre-1967 lines.
GERMANY TOLD the council it had held a foreign ministerial meeting with France, Egypt and Jordan in Amman earlier this month that affirmed the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state resolution to the conflict.
It said that it supports Abbas’s calls for a UN-brokered international conference to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian talks and would be “willing to participate” in such an event.
Both in its statement to the council and again as part of the six EU-nation declaration, Germany demanded that Israel scrap any plans it has to annex portions of the West Bank and cease settlement activity and the demolition of illegal Palestinian structures.
“Israel’s commitment to suspend plans to unilaterally annex areas of the occupied Palestinian territory is a positive step and should become permanent,” the six Security Council EU members said.
“We call on Israel to immediately cease unlawful demolitions and to halt continued settlement expansion, including east Jerusalem, especially in sensitive areas such as Har Homa, Givat Hamatos and E1,” the six EU countries said.
RUSSIA STATED: “We reiterate the call to abandon provocative actions and unilateral steps. In the first place, annexation plans must be canceled, [and] Israel must stop its settlement activity in the West Bank and the policy of demolishing Palestinian property.”
During the meeting, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov similarly said the suspension of annexation plans “removed a critical threat that had the potential to upend peace and regional stability.”
During the meeting, Mladenov delivered his quarterly report on UNSC Resolution 2334 that demanded Israel halt all its activity over the pre-1967 lines. He confirmed that no settlement planning took place during the period of his report, which focused on activity from June 5 to September 20 of this year.
“During this and the previous reporting period, there were no settlement housing plans advanced, approved or tendered in Area C,” Mladenov said.
Mladenov told the council that in spite of the lack of settlement planning activity, the threat “to the viability of a two-state solution posed by continued settlement expansion and demolitions remains.”
He noted that he was particularly concerned by discussions held in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in recent months supporting the demolition of illegal Palestinian structures and the strengthening of Israel’s hold over the West Bank’s Area C.
“Citing the absence of Israeli-issued building permits, which remain almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain, 250 structures were seized or demolished, resulting in the displacement of 360 Palestinians, including 179 children and 87 women,” he said.
“Of the structures demolished, 181 were in Area C, and 69 in east Jerusalem. In 32 cases, Palestinians were forced to demolish their own homes [in order] not to incur the heavy Israeli demolition fees. Health and water facilities, as well as agricultural structures, were also demolished, affecting the services and livelihoods of up to 2,000 Palestinians,” he added.
MLADENOV WELCOMED the normalization agreements signed earlier the month in Washington between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
“The [UN] secretary-general hopes that these developments will encourage Palestinian and Israeli leaders to reengage in meaningful negotiations toward a two-state solution and will create opportunities for regional cooperation,” he said.
Mladenov said he was encouraged by a meeting of Jordanian, Egyptian, German and French foreign ministers in Amman that spoke of the need for resumed Israeli-Palestinian talks based on the pre-1967 lines.
“I reiterate the secretary-general’s call to the members of the Middle East Quartet, key Arab partners, and to the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to urgently reengage and strengthen efforts to advance the goal of a negotiated two-state solution before it is too late,” he added.
At the Security Council meeting, the US mission’s political coordinator Rodney Hunter called on other council member states and the Palestinians to support his country’s regional peace-building efforts with Israel, known as the Abraham Accords.
“We now call on Palestinian leaders, who owe it to their people to reject violence, to embrace the opportunities for broader peace that the Abraham Accords offer, and to work with Israel to resolve their long-standing issues,” Hunter said.