United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. (File photo via UN)
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has sounded alarm bells over Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and illegal settlement activity, saying they erode chances of peace.
“On this International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory -- including East Jerusalem -- continues to pose a significant challenge to international peace and security. Persistent violations of the rights of Palestinians along with the expansion of settlements risk eroding the prospect of a two-State solution,” he said in a statement marking the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which coincides on November 29 of every year,.
“The overall goal remains two states living side-by-side in peace and security, fulfilling the legitimate national aspirations of both peoples, with borders based on the 1967 lines and Jerusalem as the capital of both states,” said the UN chief.
He urged all the parties “to avoid unilateral steps that would undermine the chances for a peaceful resolution of the conflict based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.”
He further called on the parties to engage constructively to end the closure of Gaza and improve the living conditions of all Palestinians under occupation.
“Together, let us reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the Palestinian people in their quest to achieve their inalienable rights and build a future of peace, justice, security, and dignity for both Palestinians and Israelis”, added Guterres.
He called on UN Member States “to provide timely and predictable funding” to allow the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, to conduct its vital work.
November 29 marks the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which was first called for by the United Nations General Assembly in 1977 as a reminder to the international community of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, nationhood and the right of return.
This year, the annual observance comes amidst an alarming situation exacerbated not only by the COVID-19 pandemic but also by Israel’s simmering human rights violations and escalating policy of apartheid, mass collective punishment, mass demolitions, and ethnic cleansing.
Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem, continue to live under a 53-year long Israeli military occupation and its violent settler-colonial practices that include home demolitions, house evictions, residency revocations, settlement expansion, child arrests, arbitrary detentions, torture and denial of freedom of movement, amongst other issues.