Munich's quartet urges respecting rights of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan

Ahram Online , Saturday 19 Feb 2022

Munich's quartet committee urged on Saturday respecting the rights of Palestinians residing in the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan where tensions are soaring amid Israeli plans to forcefully displace residents from the districts.

Israeli riot police officers scuffle with protesters during a protest to show solidarity with Palest
Israeli riot police officers scuffle with protesters during a protest to show solidarity with Palestinian residents of the embattled Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. AP

"We stress the need to refrain from all unilateral measures that undermine the two-state solution and the prospects of a just and lasting peace," read a joint statement by the group – which comprises Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan – following a meeting in Munich today.

The quartet statement comes as eight Palestinians were reportedly arrested on Sunday following clashes with Israeli police around the sensitive neighbourhood.

The clashes came after controversial far-right Israeli lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir – known for his provocations against Palestinians – established a makeshift office in the sensitive neighbourhoods adjacent to a home whose family members are expected to be facing forced displacement next month upon Israeli court order.

Also known as the Munich Group, the quartet is tasked with supporting the peace process in the Middle East.

They called on Israeli authorities to refrain from expanding or building new settlements, confiscating land and evicting Palestinians from their homes, including in East Jerusalem.

The statement also urged against any acts of violence and incitement.

"We recall the importance of upholding the historic and legal status quo of the Holy sites in Jerusalem. In this regard, we recall the importance of the historic Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem’s Holy sites," it added.

The group re-emphasised support for all efforts meant to "achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace that fulfills the legitimate rights of all parties on the basis of the two-state solution, in accordance with international law, relevant United Nations resolutions and agreed parameters, including the Arab Peace Initiative."

"We recall the urgency of the resumption of serious, meaningful and effective talks and negotiations directly between the parties or under a UN umbrella, including under the Middle East quartet."

The quartet called for creating political and economic horizons and further mutual confidence-building measures based on reciprocal commitments, with a view to improving living conditions for the Palestinian people and restoring meaningful negotiations.

Munich's ministers also reaffirmed the "indispensable" role of UNRWA and the need to provide it with the political and financial support it needs to continue to fulfill its UN mandate and provide its vital services to refugees.

They reiterated the importance of all peace treaties between Arab states and Israel contributing to the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, according to the statement.

Saturday's meeting, held on the sideline of the three-day Munich Security Conference, marked the fifth gathering of foreign ministers from the four nations in a new bid to revive the long-frozen political track, especially following the current developments.

Israeli's previous attempt to evict Palestinian families in the Israeli-occupied territory triggered 11 days of violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip in May 2021.

The Israeli strikes on the enclave killed over 250 Palestinian people, including dozens of women and children, and destroyed infrastructure. Also, 12 Israelis were killed.

The 11-day military operation in the Gaza Strip was ended by an Egyptian brokered ceasefire deal between the two sides.

Egypt has repeatedly called for the two-state solution that involves the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital as per relevant international resolutions.

It has been in talks with several regional and international players, including Munich quartet, in an effort to break the current stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The country has called on Israeli authorities to stop building new settlements or expanding existing ones on Palestinian land and evicting Palestinians, stressing the necessity of reaching an atmosphere that is conducive to resuscitating the desired political track and achieve the two-state solutions.

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