Statement by Ambassador Schulz on behalf of Germany in the Security Council briefing on the situation in the Middle East

11.02.2020 - Speech

(check against delivery)

Germany remains firmly committed to a negotiated two-state solution, based on 4 June 1967 lines, with equivalent land swaps as may be agreed between the parties, with Jerusalem as future capital of both states, and with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition.

We continue to believe that the two-state solution is the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that meets Israeli and Palestinian security needs, fulfills Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty, ends the occupation that began in 1967, resolves all permanent status issues, and guarantees equal rights for all.

Unilateral actions and creating facts on the ground in order to impose a certain outcome are counterproductive and will neither bring closer a just and lasting solution nor lead to a sustainable peace and security.

To build a just and lasting solution, the final status issues, including the issues related to borders, the status of Jerusalem, security and the refugee situation, must be resolved through direct negotiations between both parties.

We therefore call on the parties to the conflict, and also on all international stakeholders, to refrain from taking any measures which risk undermining the viability of a negotiated two-state solution on the basis of international law, all relevant UN resolutions and the internationally agreed parameters.

We have taken note of the proposals presented by United States in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and note that they depart from the internationally agreed parameters, notably on the final-status issues with regard to the status of Jerusalem, future borders and Israeli settlements.

The Middle East Peace Process has been stalled for too long and the absence of direct negotiations towards a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the conflict is a source of frustration, first and foremost for the people in Israel and for the Palestinians, who desperately need and want peace.

We therefore welcome fresh thinking and any efforts which aim at reviving the political process, and reaffirm our belief that any viable proposal for direct negotiations must be accepted by both parties. The previous resolutions of this Council reflect both international law as well as parameters for negotiations that both parties have previously accepted in negotiations.

The most recent proposals by the United States contain detailed provisions for future negotiations that merit thorough analysis and discussion as they raise a number of pertinent questions of great importance to both parties.

We believe, therefore, that establishing or reviving a multilateral format would enable us to elaborate this most recent and other proposals. These discussions could be helpful towards the shared objective of creating an environment conducive to the resumption of meaningful and genuine negotiations between the parties to resolve all permanent status issues and to achieve a negotiated, just and viable solution to the conflict.

We welcome the proposals to this effect and have taken note of President Abbas’s ideas in this regard. We noted that the international community expressed its willingness to support the parties in returning to direct negotiations. Both parties are therefore invited to submit suggestions for multilateral formats to advance discussions on proposals for the Middle East Peace Process, including the recent proposals by the United States.

Meanwhile, we call on both sides as well as relevant actors in the region to show their commitment to a negotiated solution to this conflict through confidence-building measures.

One of the main obstacles to a political settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the ongoing Israeli occupation and the continued settlement activities in the territories occupied since 1967.

We reiterate our position that Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law. They undermine the prospects for ending the occupation and achieving a negotiated two-state-solution.

We note that the most recent proposal submitted by the United States includes an immediate temporary halt to the expansion of existing settlements. Adherence to this proposal would be an important step towards confidence in renewed efforts towards negotiations and would be in accordance with relevant Security Council Resolutions.

We remain extremely concerned about repeated statements by Israeli officials alluding to or announcing an intended annexation of the Jordan Valley and other parts of the occupied West Bank.

The annexation of any part of the occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, constitutes a breach of international law, undermines the viability of the two-State solution and challenges the prospects for just, comprehensive and lasting peace.

Steps towards annexation, if implemented, would not be recognized and have serious negative repercussions across the region. We therefore strongly advise any Israeli government against taking any steps in this direction.

If implemented, such steps would severely undermine any new initiative for negotiations between both parties, including the most recent efforts by the United States. 

We reiterate that Germany will continue to distinguish between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967. We will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.

We are encouraged by your, President Abbas’, call for elections. We believe that free and fair elections should take place without undue delay. These elections would constitute an important step towards the legitimacy of Palestinian self-governance, and towards building confidence in the Peace Process.

We are concerned that the growing division between the Palestinian citizens living in Gaza and those living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem undermines the prospect for peace negotiations.  We therefore call on the Palestinian leadership to increase their efforts and pave the way towards reconciliation.

We appreciate the efforts by Egypt in this regard.

Fully implementing Resolution 2334 would be an important step towards building confidence in the recent efforts to advance Middle East Peace.

As we have stated before, this includes credible and substantive efforts to prevent acts of terror, violence against civilians, incitement, provocative actions, and inflammatory rhetoric.

Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad must stop firing rockets into Israel. There is no justification for the firing of rockets into Israel or for any other form of terrorism, which Germany strongly condemns.

We remain steadfast in our commitment to Israel’s security and stress Israel’s right to self-defense and its right to react adequately and proportionally to attacks against its territory. We will not be silent whenever Israel’s security or right to exist is questioned or compromised.

Incidents in which innocent civilians are indiscriminately targeted and subjected to violence must, however, be thoroughly investigated and accountability for violations of international law must be ensured.

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