UK Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East.

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The UK is extremely alarmed by increasing settler violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

21 August 2023

Thank you, President, and I thank Special Coordinator Wennesland for his briefing.

The UK is extremely alarmed by the growth of settler violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. So far in 2023, UN agencies have recorded 591 settler-related incidents resulting in Palestinian casualties, property damage or both. That is the highest monthly average of incidents since records began. This includes the murder of Palestinian Qusai Jamal Maatan by settlers, which the UK condemns.

The displacement of over 400 Palestinians across seven communities from their land due to ongoing settler violence is unacceptable. As an occupying power, Israel is obliged under international humanitarian law to properly provide security for the local population.

Israeli authorities must do more to hold to account and prevent those who have made the lives of Palestinians – such as in the communities of Al Qaboun and Al Mughayyir – intolerable. This includes thoroughly investigating every instance of settler violence to bring those responsible to justice and end the culture of impunity.

The UK condemns the abhorrent terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv on Saturday 12 August, the West Bank town of Huwara on 19 August, and the South Hebron hills just today. These attacks have taken the lives of a further four innocent Israelis. The Palestinian Authority must tackle terrorism and incitement.

We also see continued violations of international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including evictions and demolitions. On Friday 17 August, Israel demolished a West Bank Protection Consortium school in Ein Samiya. The continued demolition of Palestinian property and the evictions by Israeli authorities from their homes are contrary to international humanitarian law, it renders Palestinians at risk of forcible transfer, and causes unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians. This is harmful to the peace process. Israel must also urgently provide a clear, transparent route to construction for Palestinians in Area C.

President, UNRWA faces a deep funding crisis. UNRWA can only be a stabilising force in the region whilst it is able to deliver vital services to the Palestinian refugees. We call on members of the council and UN member states to work collectively to fill critical funding gaps.

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