Estonia´s Statement at UN Security Council VTC meeting on Middle East

Statement delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative, Mr. Gert Auväärt

I would like to thank Special Coordinator Mladenov, Mr Daniel Levi and Dr Khalil Shikaki for their briefings.

First, Estonia would like to express its solidarity with Israeli and Palestinian people in the fight against coronavirus. Unity and solidarity is even more important during this challenging time and we underline the importance of a continued cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian authorities to tackle the pandemic.

Estonia remains committed to a negotiated two-State solution, based on internationally agreed parameters and relevant UN resolutions, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of both parties and Israeli security concerns.

We have taken note of the announcements on the readiness of the Palestinian Authority to resume peace negotiations as well as the counter-proposal submitted to the Middle East Quartet.

It is essential now that both parties take steps towards resuming direct and meaningful negotiations to resolve the final status issues and achieve a just and lasting peace. We also urge the regional and international players including the Middle East Quartet to continue efforts towards these negotiations.

Estonia calls on parties to refrain from any unilateral steps that would undermine the efforts towards peace. A possible annexation by Israel of parts of the occupied West Bank would undermine the prospects for a negotiated two state solution and threaten the stability of the region. We are concerned also about Israel’s continued settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian Territories, including in East Jerusalem.

We are also concerned about the announcement by the Palestinian leadership regarding the suspension of agreements with Israel, including in the area of security cooperation. We call on the Palestinian Authority to reconsider this decision.

Both parties have to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, acts of terror, incitement and acts of provocation, as called in the Council’s resolution 2334. We condemn the continued firing of rockets from Gaza towards Israel or any other form of violence targeting civilian population. Escalation of violence would be negative for all sides and would further undermine the prospects for a resolution to the conflict and the common fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

We encourage all Palestinian factions to work towards reconciliation, which would enable them to address common challenges and the needs and expectations of the Palestinian population and is essential in order to reach the two state solution. Also, in order to engage in direct negotiations, both parties need governments with legitimate and democratic mandates. We therefore strongly encourage Palestinians to announce elections.

I would also like to reiterate the important role of UNRWA in the region and their efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Palestinian refugees. Estonia will continue supporting the work of UNRWA.

Finally, I would like to state that Estonia aligns itself with the statement submitted by the delegation of the European Union on behalf of the European Union.