I would like to thank Special Coordinator Mladenov for his briefing.
I would like to extend heartfelt condolences to the Palestinian people over the loss of the Secretary General of the PLO Executive Committee Mr Saeb Erekat, whose work and dedication showed the importance of peace negotiations and that Israel and Palestine can work together towards a lasting solution.
Estonia remains convinced that in order to reach a sustainable peace and stability in the Middle East, there needs to be a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
We have welcomed the normalization of relations between Israel and the three Arab nations – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. We believe that these are positive steps towards achieving peace and stability in the whole region and we acknowledge the constructive role that the United States has played in this regard.
We hope that these regional developments give impetus to revive the Middle East Peace Process and we encourage the Israelis and the Palestinians to take steps towards solving the conflict and to re-engage in meaningful negotiations on all final status issues. The only way for achieving lasting peace is a two-state solution through direct negotiations, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of both parties and Israeli security concerns.
We urge both sides to engage with the members of the Middle East Quartet, which continues to play an important role in the efforts towards resuming the negotiations, together with other regional players.
Turning to the situation on the ground, we call on all parties to refrain from any unilateral steps that undermine the viability of the two state solution. We call on Israel to halt the continued settlement expansion and demolitions in the occupied Palestinian Territories, including in East Jerusalem. The recent decisions to open the bidding process for the construction of housing units for a new settlement at Givat Hamatos and the planned construction of close to 5,000 housing units in the occupied West Bank are counterproductive moves.
We also condemn all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror and acts of provocation, incitement and destruction. The two rockets fired from Gaza towards the Israeli residential areas during the last weekend were the most recent example of continued violence by Hamas and other terrorist groups.
We welcome the announcement of the Palestinian Authority on renewing its coordination with Israel. Full resumption of civil and security cooperation would be an important step towards restoring confidence, improving security of both sides and also from the humanitarian perspective, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hopefully the recent agreement by the Palestinian factions on holding elections will soon materialize and a date soon will be set for holding the elections throughout the occupied Palestinian Territories. We also call upon all Palestinian factions to commit to the intra-Palestinian reconciliation process prior to the elections.
I thank you!