He reiterated his deep concern about the high level of violence in the past few months, characterized by clashes, demonstrations, attacks, Israeli security operations and other incidents.
“I am deeply concerned by the sharp increase in violence against civilians on both sides, exacerbate mistrust and undermine a peaceful solution to the conflict, he speak.
young life lost
Mr. Wennesland – officially the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process – presented his latest report, covering the period from September 21 to December 7.
He regretted that the violence continued throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories even after submitting the quarterly update.
He said that since December 8, Israeli security forces have killed six Palestinians, including two children.
The special envoy said he was “particularly appalled” that boys and girls continued to be victims of violence.
Forty-four Palestinian youths and one Israeli child have been killed this year.
They include a 16-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot dead by Israeli forces amid alleged stoning in the community of Aboud, near Ramallah, on December 8.
Three days later, a 15-year-old Palestinian girl was killed during a search and arrest operation in Jenin in which Israeli and Palestinian forces exchanged gunfire.
“Also worrying is the continued killing of Palestinians by Israeli security forces in incidents where they do not appear to pose an imminent threat to life,” he added.
“The increase in the number of Israelis killed or wounded by Palestinians, including in bombings and gun attacks, is also alarming.”
Mr Wennesland called for an end to the violence and for all perpetrators to be held accountable.
“I condemn every act of terrorism, which everyone must reject and condemn. I urge political, religious and community leaders on all sides to help calm the situation, avoid spreading inflammatory rhetoric and speak out against those who seek to incite and escalate the situation. .”
Expansion and demolition
Turning to other issues, the UN special envoy said the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, remains deeply concerning.
About 4,800 housing units have been upgraded this year in the area known under the Oslo peace agreements as Area C, although no cases occurred during the reporting period. Still, the number is still high, albeit slightly lower than the 2021 figure, he said, while bids fell from 1,800 to 150.
Meanwhile, the number of upgraded housing units in occupied East Jerusalem this year has more than tripled: from 900 in 2021 to 3,100. The bid also doubled from 200 to 400.
“I also remain deeply concerned about the continued destruction and seizure of Palestinian structures,” Mr. Wennesland said.
“In particular, I am concerned about the demolition of a sponsor-funded school in Masafer Yatta and the stated intention of the Israeli authorities to destroy additional structures in herding communities in the area. area, this would cause significant humanitarian harm if implemented. ”
He called on Israel to stop all settlement activities and destruction of property owned by Palestinians, and prevent possible displacement and deportation.
Mr. Wennesland expressed his growing concern for the fragility of current political and security dynamics.
The deepening occupation, increasing violence, including terrorism, and the absence of a political horizon have empowered extremists and are eroding their hopes, he warned. Palestinians as well as Israelis that a solution to the conflict can be reached.
The special envoy said the Palestinian Authority is facing increasing economic and institutional challenges, coupled with the limitations of occupation, a lack of serious reform and the prospect of financiers’ support. unclear support.
In Gaza, which has been blockaded for about 15 years, the situation is still fragile and the risk of escalation remains.
He said the ceasefire was being maintained in part thanks to efforts by the United Nations and its partners to improve lives, along with Israeli measures to ease travel and access restrictions, and create favorable conditions for economic activities.
Affected humanitarian activities
Currently, more than 18,000 Gaza residents have permits to work or do business in Israel, the highest number since 2007. In addition, the volume of goods leaving Gaza through the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Israel has increased by nearly 50 % in this year.
“Despite much progress, limitations and delays continue to negatively impact humanitarian and development efforts and critical sectors of the economy,” Mr. Wennesland said.
He stressed the need for more action, including supporting the World Food Program (WFP), supporting more than 400,000 vulnerable people in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and UNRWA, the United Nations agency that supports Palestinians throughout the region.
Solve core problems
In conclusion, Mr. Wennesland stressed the need for a solution to the decades-long crisis.
Seeking to freeze the conflict, or manage it permanently, are not viable options, he said, reiterating his message to the Council last month.
“Have no substitute for a legitimate political process that will solve the core issues that lead to the conflict,” he said.
“I call on all parties, together with countries in the region and the broader international community to take concrete steps that will negative trajectory change on the ground and have an immediate impact on the lives of Palestinians and Israelis, while ensuring that these steps are anchored within a political framework that will lead to the creation of two States.”