Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen at the Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East

23.07.2019 - Speech

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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a political conflict and it will be only resolved by a political solution. Germany supports a negotiated two-state-solution based on internationally agreed parameters and UNSC resolutions. Here I would like to turn to the US delegate: I must say as a German Ambassador that international law is relevant for us. International law is not futile. We believe in the UN; this is why we campaigned to become a member of the Security Council for this two-year period. We believe in the UN and the UNSC resolutions. For us, UNSC resolutions are binding international law. As I said, we believe in the force of international law, not in the force of the strongest. So for us, international law is not “menu à la carte”. There are other instances in the Council where US representatives insist on international lawand the implementation of UNSC resolutions, for instance on North Korea. We absolutely support this, and work very hard as the head of the North Korea sanctions committee to implement UNSC resolutions word for word. So for us, 2334 – just to name the latest of UNSC resolutions – is binding law and international consensus. It is the US that has left international consensus on 2334.

On the situation: Germany participated in the Bahrain workshop because we are interested in sensible measures that promote peace and boost the economy. But I think one thing is clear: prosperity will be illusive until it is truly embedded in a political framework.

A lot has been said about settlements, not by the US delegate in his intervention, but it was mentioned before. For us, settlements activities are illegal under international law. They undermine the prospects for a negotiated two-state-solution.

The rhetoric has gone beyond just talking about settlements; now we also have a rhetoric alluding to a possible annexation of parts of the West Bank. We are extremely concerned; Germany will not recognize changes to the 67 lines, including Jerusalem-only changes that are the result of negotiations.

To go back to current settlements and the approval of constructing new housing units and settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Germany is particularly concerned about the demolitions and seizure of Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank, as well as the eviction of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, such as in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and Wadi al Hummus. We saw photos of the demolitions taking place as we speak. Where such activities affect Palestinian-owned structures located in Areas A and B, they set a precedent that severely undermines the Oslo Accords.

We therefore call upon Israel to end the expansion of settlements, the legalization of outposts and the demolition, seizure and evictions of Palestinian-owned structures.

Let me go back to international law and Resolution 2334. 2334 not only addresses settlement activities, but also terror, violence against civilians, incitement, provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric.

Germany deeply condemns all attacks on Israel. The firing of rockets from Gaza by Hamas and other groups is unacceptable.

Germany stands steadfast in its commitment to Israel’s security as a Jewish and democratic state. We will not remain silent when Israel’s security or right to exist is questioned or compromised.

But again, for the international community, peace is best served by observing international law. This holds true for 2334 and other resolutions, but also with regard to the crisis in the Golf and Iran. The implementation of resolution 2334 by all parties would be a step in the right direction.

As a last remark, I would like to refer to what my Kuwaiti colleague just said before. While we are working on resolution 2334, we believe that UNRWA remains indispensable to meet the basic needs of Palestinian refugees. Germany is proud to have been the largest bilateral donor to UNRWA last year.

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