South Africa says it’s gravely concerned by the continued disregard for the Middle East Peace Process through the systematic foreclosing of final status issues, including the status of Jerusalem, and the ever expanding illegal settlements, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor has told the UN Security Council (UNSC).
With Pretoria UNSC President for October, Pandor presided over a UNSC session on the Middle East, which focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – on one of the oldest items on the agenda of the Security Council – emphasizing that “peace in the Middle East will not be resolved until the question of Palestine is resolved.”
She bluntly told her fellow council members that the failure to find a resolution to the “plight of the people of Palestine and to secure their peace and freedom is a profound stain” on the stated mission of the UN as articulated in the founding charter of the world body.
“South Africa believes it is always possible to find solutions to seemingly intractable challenges. Our own struggles were advances by UN action and determination to end a crime against humanity.”
Pandor said the hopes of Palestinians are “dissipating in the face of diminishing world support, and the absence of any genuine attempt at honest negotiation.”
She warned that it was clear that there was no intention to achieve peace as a result of the “offending breaches” of resolutions adopted “in this very chamber” which undermine the peace process, including the questions on the return of refugees, borders, ever expanding illegal settlements and the status of Jerusalem.
As in the case of apartheid South Africa, Pandor said, “We need similar vigorous international solidarity indignation and commitment for Palestine. Council is fully aware that it is in this very body that the elusive breakthrough exists. That it is only several of the members present here that can ensure peace and security in Palestine and the entire Middle East.”
“A growing number of Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, remains a substantial obstacle in the peace process.
“In the last month, plans have advanced for housing units to expand in the occupied West Bank, and though exact numbers have yet to be confirmed, even without this latest advancement, the approval of settlement expansion so far this year is already greater than that for all of 2018, said Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
He emphasized: “Efforts to address the Israeli-Palestinian question, as with the Middle East at large, “cannot be sustained on a purely humanitarian basis. They need a political perspective that illuminates a path forward…”
Pandor firmly stated that Council resolutions on Palestine have been routinely been “breached and ignored,” specifically pointing to Resolution 2334.
“The Council must find ways to repair its damaged and waning credibility as a source of peace and security. Council must insist on regular written reports on the implementation of its decisions, particularly with respect to resolution 2334,” Pandor said.
“Secondly, council must visibly show its solidarity with the long-suffering people of Palestine by conducting the long-overdue field visit to the occupied Palestine territory by those on Council willing to do this. And thirdly, council must take further action against the continued violation of human rights and disregard for international law.” Pandor underlined.