Statement delivered by Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Briefing on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” —
Mr. President, before delivering my statement, I wish to condemn in the strongest terms last Friday’s terror attack in Jerusalem and the murder of the Israeli police officer Hadas Malka. We express our sympathy to the victims of the attack and their families.
Mr. President, although fifty years have passed since the 1967 War, there must be no room for fatalism or resignation. On the contrary, this anniversary must reinforce our collective resolve to work for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. No matter how long the historical controversy or how complicated the geopolitical situation, when there is a will there is a way.
We are encouraged by the level of engagement that the United States Administration is showing on the Middle East peace process, and we support the American efforts. Any new approach that leads to a just and lasting peace will be welcome and Italy will contribute to it, as long as it remains within the Oslo framework and it pursues the two-State solution, the only achievable one in our view.
Although we maintain that ultimately peace will be obtained through direct negotiations between the parties, we believe that the support of other actors is of paramount importance. I’m referring, in particular, to the role of the Middle East Quartet, which is able to contribute effectively to creating a new momentum of the peace process. Let me stress, on this note, that the European Union, as a member of the Quartet, continues to keep the peace process among its top priorities. Likewise, a credible path toward peace requires the direct involvement of the main Arab partners, who recently reaffirmed the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative as a strategic tool to help achieve peace between Israel and Palestine and bring about a future of cooperation and prosperity for the entire Middle East.
Moreover, the intensification and acceleration of those international diplomatic efforts is an integral part of Security Council resolution 2334, on which we have just received the second quarterly report by the UN Special Coordinator.
That resolution is very clear on violence: there is no justification whatsoever for any act of violence and terror of any kind by anyone, nor for incitement to violence. It is a fundamental obligation for all those in charge to take a clear stance against any type of violence, and to take all possible measures to prevent and put an end to it and to incitement, and to clearly condemn all attacks and hold the culprits accountable. Likewise, provocations and inflammatory rhetoric must be avoided by all parties.
As regards settlements, we continue to believe that they are an obstacle to the two-State solution, that they give cause for further tension and do not contribute to achieving peace.
Mr. President, any diplomatic initiative relies on solid partners and their willingness to make bold decisions. That is why we support the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian leadership, which has the responsibility to engage constructively in order to advance peace negotiations. It is time for the Palestinian Authority to retake control over the Gaza Strip, where living conditions have become dramatically critical, due to years of neglect, political dynamics, and conflicts. In the process of restoring the whole Palestine under a single, democratic and legitimate authority, it is absolutely essential that the humanitarian imperative be taken into account.
In light of this complicated environment, I would like to express Italy’s deep appreciation for the hard work carried out daily by the UN Special Coordinator and his staff, by UNRWA and by all UN entities in general. Let me stress here once again the invaluable contribution extended by the United Nations to the lives of the Palestinians in the region and to the security of Israel itself. In this spirit, we encourage all UN Agencies operating in the area to further strengthen the vetting and accountability mechanisms relating to their own employees.
In conclusion, Mr. President, we are convinced that the two-State vision remains the only achievable goal that could bring to an end this long conflict and the only one that will help the international community rally towards the stabilization of the entire Middle East.