Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, briefed the U.N Security Council on the current situation in the region and called for an end to violence and recognition for the countless Israelis and Palestinians still working tirelessly for peace.
Speaking directly to the President of the State of Palestine, President Mahmoud ABBAS, Mladenov began his briefing by touching on the current tensions enveloping the region. As the instability in Syria increases, the effort for a political solution to the conflict is undermined. The current state of the region is grounded in 50 years of continual military occupation, and, for many Israelis and Palestinians, the hope of seeing peace in their lifetime is fading.
Those working against seeing a peaceful resolution to the conflict strive to block the path to the negotiating table through violence and radicalization. However, Mladenov states that the use of force and poor negotiations will only drive the region into a worse state of suffering with no end in sight.
But, Mladenov calls for hope in the face of despair. During January’s ministerial meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), Mladenov not only saw widespread support for the two-state solution but also the recognition and commitment to tackle the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Speaking at the meeting, Mladenov reaffirmed the importance of open negotiations and the need for Israelis and Palestinians to work hand in hand for a mutually agreeable resolution, which must be in line with previous relevant United Nations resolutions as well.
Backing his call for peace, Mladenov spoke to the President of the violent consequences that both Israelis and Palestinians are suffering as the conflict continues. Not only do the refugees in the region live in a constant state of anxiety and fear, but civilians, including young people, are being killed as a result of the clashes in the region. In light of this, Mladenov asks that all sides reject violence and terror and that the use of lethal force be used only as a last resort.
Highlighting recent incidents in Gaza, including rocket launches towards Israel, Mladenov calls on more than just leaders in the region to stand up for peace. He asks that the UN and international community join in the dialogue to end the use of rockets, the use of roadside bombs, and the building of tunnels by militants in Gaza. Furthemore, Mladenov directed the President’s attention to settlements in the region in order to reiterate how the construction of such settlements are illegal under international law.
In the midst of the heightened tensions in the region, Gaza lies at the core of the conflict. The humanitarian crisis occurring in Gaza needs to be immediately addressed. If it is not, Mladenov states, then the region will suffer a total economic and institutional collapse. In the face of this fact, their needs to be engagement on all sides in order to move forward and correct the current crisis and return control to the Palestinian Authority so that there can be Palestinian unity and the ability to reach peace.
In conclusion, Mladenov reaffirms his belief that, in order for the tides to change and the gridlock of conflict of over 50 years be broken, there needs to be open and trusting negotiations. Both sides need to reach a deal and find a resolution that will allow Israelis and Palestinians to control their own fate and live peacefully in the region.
Speaking to President Mahmoud Abbas, Mladenov concluded his briefing by stating that:
I also hope that we will be able to look beyond the closed, dark negotiating rooms that are currently empty of diplomats and politicians, to see that there are Israeli and Palestinian advocates for peace working tirelessly to promote change: civil society organizations; youth and women’s groups; religious and community leaders – they all have a critical role to play and must be supported and allowed to express their views freely. We rarely discuss their role, we don’t speak often enough of the challenges they face, but their efforts must be recognized and supported.
Photo Credit: Reuters
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