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Statement on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016)

Statement by Representative of Slovenia to the UN Security Council Ambassador Samuel Žbogar at the briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

Thank you very much, Mister President. I also want to thank profoundly Special Coordinator for his comprehensive briefing today.

Almost six months into the Gaza conflict, devastation is unprecedented and famine is looming. We welcome yesterday‘s adoption of the Security Council resolution 2728 and we urge its swift implementation. We would like to voice our profound concern over the denial of UNRWA food convoys to the North of Gaza and we call on Israel to reverse its decision. Let me repeat here again that we condemn and we continue to condemn the terrorist attacks by Hamas on the 7th of October and its taking and holding hostages.

However, there is no right to self-defense justifying the starving of civilian population and neither killing and destruction that we are witnessing in Gaza.

Wars have rules and they need to be respected.

We are concerned over the increasingly confrontational statements and actions of Israeli officials toward the Secretary-General of the UN, toward the United Nations and its agencies. We are the United Nations and Slovenia stands with the UN Secretary-General.

With our eyes on Gaza, we must not forget about the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Today I would like to focus on situation there:

Firstly, Slovenia repeats that establishment of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory has no legal validity and constitutes a violation under international law.

It is particularly concerning that practices and policies of the current Government of Israel appear to be unprecedently aligned with the goals of Israeli settler movement – aiming to expand long-term control over the West Bank and steadily integrate the territory in State of Israel. Proof being the recent approvals for advancing new housing units, regularizations of settler outposts and confiscation of land. We expect Israel to reverse these decisions.

Moreover, Slovenia expects Israel to halt the continued practice of eviction and demolition orders against Palestinians, which disproportionally affects Palestinian women and girls.

We are appalled by the recent incidents involving settlers and activists building symbolic outposts in Gaza. We reject any attempt to territorial or demographic change in Gaza, including forced displacement. Such actions contravene international law. And we expect a democratic state to respect the rule of law, including the rule of international law.

Secondly, we are alarmed by the dramatically accelerated trend of the settler violence, State violence and the displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank, in particular following the 7 October attacks.

We are concerned that settler violence seems to be further accelerated by the collaboration of Israeli Security Forces and even of some senior ministers of the Government. This is accelerating the displacement of Palestinians from their land, in circumstances that may amount to forcible transfer, which is a war crime, as observed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights. We welcome that as an unparalleled step, the EU will be imposing sanctions on violent settlers.

We are also alarmed by the increase of the use disproportionate force by Israeli security forces, the number of raids and of severe restrictions of movement.

We are concerned over the dramatic growth in the number of Palestinians arrested and detained in the recent months. The ICRC must be notified of and allowed to visit Palestinians in Israeli detention. We urge for full cooperation of all parties with relevant international bodies.

Thirdly, settlement expansion and violence are a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.

We therefore support intensification and acceleration of all international and regional diplomatic efforts and support aimed at achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, and the two-state solution. We welcome the appointment of the new Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, which we hope might be an additional impetus to the political process.

Mr President, colleagues,

As a cradle of religions, the region is in the midst of numerous celebrations, which could provide an opportunity for reflection and understanding. We express our grave concern over the current situation in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and more broadly in the region. However, we also hope that this is a turning point. If the current devastation can serve for something good, it should be a strong commitment by all of us to a pathway of peace and understanding, starting with implementation of Security Council resolution 2728.

Thank you.

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