– Check against delivery –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
As outlined in the last Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East, the EU’s commitment to achieving a two-state solution remains the central element of our policy.
A negotiated two-state solution, which ends the 50 years of occupation and fulfils the aspirations of both sides, is the only way to bring the lasting peace and security that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve. This is also why the EU will continue to speak out clearly when developments or incidents threaten the two-state solution, and undermine the peace process.
The EU deeply deplores and strongly opposes Israel’s settlement policy, which is illegal under international law. As reaffirmed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2334, it also dangerously threatens the viability of the two-state solution and the possibility for the Palestinian people to fulfil their unconditional right to self-determination, including the possibility of establishing a sovereign state. The international community will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed to by the parties themselves through negotiations.
The EU is deeply concerned that the continuing cycle of violence has led to a serious loss of human life in recent months. The EU firmly condemns the terror attacks and violence from all sides and in any circumstances.
In Gaza, an already dire humanitarian situation has been worsening in past months. A key priority is to immediately improve the dire situation of the people in Gaza. It requires, including without limitation, the end of the closure and a full opening of the crossing points, while addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns.
The EU welcomes the agreement signed in Cairo on 12 October, and the continuing engagement of Egypt. If fully implemented, this agreement can become an important step towards achieving the goal of Palestinian unity under a single, legitimate and democratic Palestinian national Authority on the basis of the PLO platform, Quartet principles, and in accordance with existing agreements.
The unsustainable situation in Gaza and recent tensions in East Jerusalem underline the need for a political horizon.
The EU will continue to work tirelessly with the parties, regional- and international partners, not least within the Middle East Quartet, to promote a return to a meaningful process towards a negotiated two-state solution, in line with known parameters; towards a peace that can be sustained.
As regards the specific issue before us today, the EU and Israel engage in regular dialogues on the protection and promotion of human rights in the framework of our bilateral relationship.
The EU remains concerned about the extensive recourse by Israel to administrative detention without formal charge.
The EU remains particularly concerned by the high number of Palestinian children held in detention by Israel and by continuing reports of ill treatment during the arrest, transfer and interrogation of child detainees in the West Bank. We call on Israel to continue in its cooperation with UNICEF in order to ensure that all gaps between policy and practice are bridged urgently and that the rights of children in Israeli military custody are upheld at all times taking into account the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Lastly, the EU calls on Israel to resume full cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Council and its Special Procedures.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.