Khalifa Al Marar must refrain from any activities that could jeopardize the two-state solution.
Khalifa Al Marar, the UAE Minister of State, appealed to Israel on Tuesday in the UN Security Council to discontinue all settlement activities straight away.
“We reiterate our call on Israel to immediately cease all its settlements activities, reverse the negative trends on the ground and uphold its responsibilities in accordance with international law, including international humanitarian law,” Mr Al Marar told the council session on the Middle East.
Quoting UN data, he said almost 700,000 people live in 279 illegally built settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.
“These numbers represent alarming facts on the ground and highlight the urgent need to protect the two-state solution,” Mr Al Marar said.US-brokered peace talks aimed at establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza have been stalled for almost a decade and show no sign of being revived.
Mr Al Marar underscored the need to avoid all action that would undermine a two-state solution and to restore an environment to allow talks between both parties to restart.
It was no longer possible for the international community to deal with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with the “complacency we have witnessed in the past years”, he said.Last year was one of the deadliest in the decades-long conflict, with more than 150 Palestinians and 20 Israelis killed in the West Bank and Israel, UN figures showed.
“The current situation requires maintaining pressure to reduce escalation on all fronts, continuing calls for exercising maximum restraint and avoiding unilateral steps,” said Mr Al Marar.
He emphasised the “special status” of Jerusalem’s holy sites, which he said must always be honoured by Israel.Tor Wennesland, special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process, said the current direction was neither “sustainable nor inevitable”.
Mr Wennesland said the parties, the region and the international community needed to address the underlying political, security, economic and institutional challenges driving the conflict.
“There must be an end to the unilateral measures, provocations and incitement that enable violence and prevent progress towards resolving this conflict and ending the occupation,” he said.
The UN briefing was led by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and attended by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Maliki.Israel’s envoy to the UN, Gilad Erdan, walked out of the session in protest against it being held on Israel’s Memorial Day. “We made numerous requests to reschedule today’s debate, describing the deep importance of the day, yet tragically, this council refused to budge,” Mr Erdan said before leaving the chamber.
Addressing Mr Lavrov, he said: “How would you feel if the council met to condemn Russia on May 9 [Victory Day, which commemorates the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany]?”