The absence of any Israeli-Palestinian peace process is fueling West Bank violence and creating a situation of perpetual conflict, United Nations envoy Tor Wennesland told the Security Council on Wednesday after four Palestinians were killed in a gun battle with the IDF in Jenin.
“The current course is leading us to a perpetual state of violence and conflict,” said Wennesland, who is the UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
“The absence of a meaningful peace process to end the Israeli occupation and resolve the conflict is fueling a dangerous deterioration across the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly in the West Bank and is driving the perception that the conflict is unresolvable,” Wennesland explained.
“Negotiations can no longer be pushed off indefinitely,” he said, adding that meaningful initiatives are needed and “needed quickly.”
Wennesland and many of the 15 UNSC members lauded Prime Minister Yair Lapid for affirming Israel’s support for a two-state resolution when he spoke to the UN General Assembly last week. They also welcomed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s assurance to that plenum that he was willing to engage in negotiations with Israel.
United States Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, however, that conditions were not right for peace talks at this time.
“Even if present circumstances don’t lend themselves to negotiation, we must not retreat into cynicism.
“The international community can and must take steps to achieve conditions conducive to negotiating a two-state solution. This will be a real challenge, but it’s a challenge we must take on together,” she said.
Other Ambassadors have thoughts
China, however, called on Israelis and Palestinians to immediately hold talks.
Ireland’s Ambassador to the UN Fergal Mythen said his country was “alarmed by the violence in Jenin” and was “appalled” by the level of Palestinian West Bank casualties at the hands of Israeli security forces.
The United Nations has reported that at least 81 Palestinians have been killed by the security forces in the West Bank and east Jerusalem since the start of the year. He did not explain that many of those killed had been involved in clashes or gun battles with the IDF.
Mythen said, “We must move beyond talking about the need for a two-state solution and take real steps toward a just, inclusive and lasting peace. Progress is possible but it requires political will.”
British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward said, “Peace will be achieved only through meaningful dialogue between the parties, which tackles the drivers of instability and violence in the immediate term.”