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Statement at the United Nations Security Council open debate on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question

Mr. President,

 

I wish to thank you for convening an open debate in the Security Council on the evolving situation in Israel and Palestine.

 

Iceland is deeply concerned about the ongoing military escalation taking place in and around Gaza and the rising violence in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel. 

 

Iceland strongly condemns all attacks on civilian populations, which have caused great suffering and casualties, including children. Rocket attacks from Gaza on civil populations in Israel are never justifiable and while we recognise Israel’s right to self-defence, we must demand maximum restraint and proportionality in use of force to safeguard civilians in line with international humanitarian law.  De-escalating the current volatile situation is of paramount importance. We urge all actors to step back before more civilian lives are lost or harmed. 

 

The ongoing clashes around holy sites in East Jerusalem have caused severe injuries and fuelled tensions. All religious and political leaders need to do their utmost to stop provocations and calm the situation. The settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem, are of grave concern and need to cease in line with Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian law. 

 

Iceland urges all parties to break out of this spiral of violence and work towards a sustainable political solution based on international law, relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and agreed parameters. Furthermore, we urge both parties to demonstrate their commitment to the two-state solution and refrain from any unilateral steps that could undermine it.

 

Finally, we call on the Security Council to remain firmly seized of the matter.

 

I thank you Mr. President.

 

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