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"We are again at a pivotal moment in the search for peace as a convergence of destabilizing factors threatens to pull Israelis and Palestinians further toward a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict," says Nickolay Mladenov.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov on Tuesday voiced concern over "the serious spike" in demolitions and seizures of Palestinian-owned structures in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
"I urge Israel to cease this policy immediately, in line with Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law," he told the Security Council.
Israel's suspension of plans to annex parts of the West Bank removed a critical threat that had the potential to upend peace and regional stability. Annexation would have constituted a most serious violation of international law and deal a devastating blow to prospects for a two-state solution, he said.
The threat, however, to the viability of a two-state solution posed by continued settlement expansion and demolitions remains, he said. "In this regard, I am concerned by recent discussions in the Israeli Knesset which demonstrate the intensifying pressure on the Israeli government against Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank."
Given the severe economic and health crisis faced by the Palestinian people, Mladenov called on the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to urgently re-engage and strengthen efforts to advance the goal of a negotiated two-state solution.
"This financial crisis can and must end. Both sides should re-examine the nature of their economic relationship and improve it to the benefit of both peoples," he said.
Daily violence continues to fuel mistrust and dims the hope for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, he said, calling for an end to settler-related violence and the launching of indiscriminate rockets and incendiary devices toward Israeli population centers.
He asked for the necessary leadership to reunite Gaza and the West Bank under a single democratic, national leadership as well as to lift Israeli closures.
"We are again at a pivotal moment in the search for peace as a convergence of destabilizing factors threatens to pull Israelis and Palestinians further toward a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict," said Mladenov. "I remain committed to supporting both sides to resolve the conflict and end the occupation in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements in pursuit of achieving the vision of two states."
He called on the members of the Middle East Quartet, key Arab partners, and the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to urgently re-engage and strengthen efforts to advance the goal of a negotiated two-state solution before it is too late.