Statement by Chargé d’Affaires of the Russian Federation Dmitry Polyanskiy at UNSC open debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

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July 27, 2023


We thank ASG Khiari for the meaningful briefing as regards the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.


A lack of solution to the Palestinian question has been and remains one of the key sources of tension in the Middle East. Regular outbreaks of violence not only in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel’s Arab cities, but also along the northern perimeter from Lebanon and Syria provokes growth of instability in the region, and postpones prospects for revitalizing the peace process within the internationally recognized legal framework and with the two-state formula (that we unwaveringly support) at its core.

Military operation of the Israeli Security Forces in Jenin at the beginning of this month (3-5 July) became another manifestation of the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone. This was the first operation in 20 years, where Israel used armored vehicles and aviation, including combat helicopters. This resulted in about 500 Palestinian families (300 people) having to leave their homes. More than 100 people were injured, more than 10 were killed, and 300 detained. The number of victims on the Israeli side is also on the rise.

Settlers in the West Bank start to act more aggressively now that they have cover-up from the Israeli military. Against this backdrop, the leaders of Israel keep steering towards a broad approval of projects for construction of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Besides, Israeli air force continue striking Syria arbitrarily and occupying the Golan Heights. We must state with concern that the number of incidents on the Blue Line in southern Lebanon is also growing.


Despite these worrisome trends, there have been some encouraging news in the Middle East too. More specifically, I mean the improvement of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the resumption of Syria’s membership in the Arab League. These positive developments have become possible because countries of the region adopted a course towards peaceful settlement of disputes and contradictions in accordance with their national interests, based on dialogue and good neighborly principles.

At the same time, we have to admit that the Middle East settlement remains outside these positive processes. We note with regret that collective diplomacy in this area in fact has stalled. Largely, this has been caused by an irresponsible and short-sighted decision of the United States and the European Union to freeze the activities of the Quartet of international intermediaries for the Middle East peace process, composed of Russia, the US, EU, and UN. In parallel to this, Washington carries on with its attempts to monopolize the peace process and slow down the deterioration of the situation on the ground offering to substitute a real political truce with an economic one. As we know from the recent history of the region, this is a futile approach that may cause an opposite effect.

Amidst this unprecedented escalation, we are convinced that the pending visit of Secretary-General Guterres to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone is going to be very timely. This being said we remind that Russia for many years has been supportive of the idea of UNSC going on a mission to the Palestinian territories and Israel. We believe that in the current circumstances such a visit would be very relevant.


As an outcome of the Russian UNSC Presidency in April this year, we offered to convene a consultative meeting of Russia, the Arab League, and a group of regional states who are largely involved in this file. As part of our efforts at this track, Foreign Minister Lavrov held consultations on 18 July with all interested states of the region. We trust that our initiative, which does not suggest establishing new formats or mechanisms, will recover the international process with a view to implementing previously adopted decisions in this area, including relevant UNSC and UNGA resolutions, the Arab peace initiative, Madrid principles including “land for peace”, and the “two-state formula”, which provides for Palestine and Israel to coexist in peace and security in 1967 borders.

Thank you.

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