Antonio Guterres says situation ‘highly volatile’ as prospects for peace diminish
Washington: Occupied Palestine is facing “grim realities” as it confronts the decreasing possibility of a negotiated settlement to end the conflict with Israel, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Tuesday.
“I address you today with a deep sense of worry about the grim realities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the diminishing prospects of resolving the conflict, which has been with the United Nations since its very creation,” the UN chief said during a virtual meeting commemorating International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The coronavirus pandemic has worsened the already dire situation, Guterres said, and while Israel forestalled plans to formally annex the West Bank, it has continued apace with the expansion of its Jewish-only settlement in the occupied territory.
“On the ground, the expansion of settlement planning and construction continues, while demolitions and seizures of Palestinian-owned structures by Israeli authorities across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, reached the highest documented rate in four years,” he said.
“Such actions are contrary to international law and undermine the prospects for the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state. Acts of violence, the constant threat of escalation in Gaza, movement and access restrictions, incitement, and human rights violations persist, keeping the situation highly volatile,” he added.
Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, have been under Israeli occupation since 1967. The occupation is considered illegal under international law.