Rosemary DiCarlo was briefing ambassadors on developments related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as recent protests in Lebanon.
“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not immune to the tensions in the region”, she said. “At the same time, the effects of its persistence are felt far beyond Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Ms DiCarlo reiterated the UN’s position that there can be no sustainable peace in the Middle East without resolving the decades-long dispute.
However, with the political process deadlocked, she said “negative developments” continue to undermine prospects for a Two-State solution, including Israel’s expansion of settlement activity and threats to annex parts of the West Bank.
“In the absence of progress towards an agreement that will resolve all final status issues based on the 1967 lines, the United Nations continues to focus its efforts on establishing an environment conducive to the return to the negotiations”, she said.
“Recent regional events have once again brought to the fore the crucial necessity of dialogue and diplomacy in the region.”
The UN deputy humanitarian coordinator informed the Council that $348 million will be needed this year to provide food, protection, health care and other services to some 1.5 million vulnerable Palestinians, particularly in Gaza.
Ursula Mueller was fresh from a six-day visit to the region, where she witnessed Gazans trapped in a cycle of deepening poverty and insecurity due to a decline in external aid, high unemployment and economic recession.
“UNICEF reports rising rates of school dropout, child labour, and child marriage, and an estimated 270,000 children suffer from some form of mental disorder,” said Ms Mueller.
Ms. Mueller also pointed to signs of “cautious optimism”, such as an increase in the number of people allowed to leave Gaza, and the creation of 37,000 jobs by the UN agency that assists Palestinians, UNRWA, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“Ultimately, the solution for the occupied Palestinian territory is neither humanitarian nor development action, but lies in political discourse and agreement”, she stated.
Darul Ihsan Media Desk