Egypt proposes three concrete measures to achieve calm in occupied Palestinian territories

Habiba Hamdy , Wednesday 26 Apr 2023

Ambassador Osama Abdel-Khalek, the Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations, proposed three concrete measures to achieve calm and end the cycle of violence in the occupied Palestinian territories.

 Egypt s UN Rep.
The Permanent Representative of Egypt to the UN Osama Abdel-Khalek

 

Ambassador Abdel-Khalek’s proposal came during an open debate session of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the Middle East on Tuesday.

His proposed measures include 1) the implementation of the understandings reached in recent meetings between the Israeli and Arab sides in Aqaba and Sharm El-Sheikh, 2) respect for Jordan's guardianship over Jerusalem's Muslim and Christian holy sites and 3) the provision of international protection for the Palestinian people.

In February, the meeting in Aqaba, Jordan, which was attended exclusively by high-ranking security officials, released a joint communiqué in which they reaffirmed the need to de-escalate the situation and prevent further violence and to recognise the importance of upholding the historic status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem inclusive of the Hashemite custodianship of them

The communiqué added that Israel and the Palestinian Authority were committed to immediately working to end unilateral measures for a period of three to six months.

It also included an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months and to stop the authorisation of any new outposts for six months.

In March, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Israeli government reaffirmed commitment to work on ending unilateral measures for a period of three to six months, a joint statement shared by Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said.

Abdel-Khalek said the escalation of tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories over the past few weeks was a result of Israeli violations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

These violations included illegal expansion of Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories, home demolitions, raids into Palestinian cities and the killing of unarmed Palestinians including children at the hand of the occupation forces and settlers, he noted.

The settlers also restricted access to both Muslim and Christian places of worship in violation of International Law, UN resolutions and the Jordanian Kingdom’s guardianship, Abdel-Khalek said.

Most alarmingly, Israeli forces as well as settlers have killed 98 civilians in the West Bank including children since the beginning of this year and arrested many more,' he noted.

There must be accountability for the violent actions committed against Palestinians, Abdel-Khalek further asserted.

The situation remains tense despite efforts by Egypt and Jordan as well as the United States’ over the last few months to reach an agreement that would achieve calm and end unilateral measures, Abdel-Khalek said.

Continuing Israeli violations of the current status in Jerusalem’s holy sites and Jordanian guardianship of these sites have exacerbated tensions, he stressed.

It will be fruitful in the short-term to lift the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip as well as provide support to the UNRWA, Abdel-Khalek said.

In the medium-term, he added, the root causes of the conflict must be addressed along with a revival of peace negotiations between the two sides of the conflict through the re-activation of Quartet on the Middle East.

In conclusion, Abdel-Khalek reaffirmed Egypt’s support of the rights of the Palestinian people to sovereignty and self-determination on the border of 1967 with East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

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