Russia blamed Israel’s “disproportionate and arbitrary” force against Palestinians for the ongoing West Bank violence when it spoke Monday at a meeting of the United Nations Second Committee in New York.
“We consider it counterproductive, those efforts, particularly by Western states, to replace the political process with economic peace and promote an Arab-Israeli normalization of relations without addressing the Palestinian problem.”Evgeny Varganov, a senior counselor at the Russian mission to the UN
“The steady, high level of violence continues not only near the Gaza Strip, but also on the West Bank... because of arbitrary and disproportionate use of force in Israeli military operations,” said Evgeny Varganov, a senior counselor at the Russian mission to the UN.
He spoke a week after the UN condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine amid rising tensions between Jerusalem and Moscow. Israel did not speak at the meeting, which was held during the Shimini Atzeret holiday.
Israel is in the midst of an IDF Operation Breaking the Wave, whose aim is to stop terror attacks.
Varganov said Moscow was “particularly concerned” by “Israel’s establishment of facts on the ground.”
He included in this the expansion of “illegal settlements while continuing the practice of violent displacement of Palestinians” such as through “demolishing houses, and expropriating property, including farmland.”
Varganov spoke in Russian, but his words were translated by the UN. He expressed his concern at the absence of a peace process to achieve a two-state resolution to the conflict within the confines of the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.
“Stagnation in the Middle East peace process continues to be a source of permanent tension in the Middle East region and North Africa,” he said.
No replacement for two states
Varganov dismissed the possibility that economic peace, or the Abraham Accords, that normalized ties between Israel and four Arab states, could replace a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We consider it counterproductive, those efforts, particularly by Western states, to replace the political process with economic peace and promote an Arab-Israeli normalization of relations without addressing the Palestinian problem.”
He took issue with the decisions of the Trump administration to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“The widening practice of unilateral measures” are dangerous, he said, as he pointed to those two examples.
“This is the decision of the US on Jerusalem and the illegitimate recognition of Israel’s sovereignty in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, which is a gross violation of international law,” he said.
“We wish to assert that the Golan is unconditionally Syrian territory,” Varganov emphasized.