UN Special Coordinator at UNSC: 2023 ends as one of deadliest in history of Palestinian-Israeli conflict

UN’s Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said addressing the UN Security Council’s continuing sessions on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, that 2023 ends as one of the deadliest in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with the situation deteriorating on nearly all fronts.

He also drew attention to the dire humanitarian situation across the Gaza Strip. “The delivery of humanitarian aid in the Strip continues to face nearly insurmountable challenges.” Adding that amid displacement on an unimaginable scale and active hostilities, the humanitarian response system is on the brink.

He also condemned the killing of civilians in Gaza, including women and children, and expressed his sadness at the loss of every single civilian, including 131 UN personnel who were killed in the Israeli aggression on Gaza.

Wennesland further voiced “deep concerns” over escalating tensions in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

He also expressed alarm at the lethal attacks carried out by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Israel.

“All perpetrators of violence must be held accountable and swiftly brought to justice,” he said.

The UN Special Coordinator said he was appalled at the numerous instances of officials glorifying violence and encouraging the killing of civilians.

Wennesland said the “relentless expansion” of Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, threatens the viability of a future independent Palestinian State.

He reiterated that Israeli settlements are a flagrant violation of United Nations resolutions and international law, calling on the Israeli government to stop these activities immediately.

The United Nations remains committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis in ending the occupation and resolving the conflict in line with international law, relevant United Nations resolutions and bilateral agreements in pursuit of a two-State solution, he said.

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