(MENAFN - Arab Times) 'Regrettable, vicious cycle of violence'
NEW YORK, May 11, (KUNA): Kuwait late on Thursday reiterated its condemnation of Israeli settlement policy, branding it a 'major obstacle' before achieving peace in the Middle East. This came in a speech by Kuwait's acting permanent Representative to the UN Counselor Bader Al-Munayikh during a Security Council Arria-Formula Meeting on (Israeli-Settlements and Settlers: Core of the occupation, protection crisis and obstruction of peace).
The meeting jointly convened by Kuwait, Indonesia, and South Africa. During the meeting, chaired by Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Counselor Al- Munayikh pointed out that since 1967 and until the end of 2017, some 220 settlements were built throughout the West Bank, housing around 620,000 settlers; 210,000 of whom in the occupied East Jerusalem. He stressed dire fallouts of this policy on achieving a two-state solution based on the 1967 border, attributing such consequences to the 'unprecedented' expansion of settlements, going parallel with the increasing rate of violence by settlers against Palestinian civilians.
Moreover, the settlements' expansion policy have become a 'regrettable vicious cycle' of violence and displacement; a grim reality lived by Palestinians on ground, Al-Munayikh noted.
The Foreign Minister of the Observer State of Palestine, Riyad Malki also attend the meeting, which aims to discuss international responsibilities to uphold the law and internationally agreed norms and principles, including in regards to the prohibitions on the acquisition of territory by force; the right of peoples to self-determination and the protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict; and will examine measures of accountability in a case of continued violations.
The meeting's concept note argues that the twostate solution is being jeopardized by Israel's illegal construction of settlements and transfer of its settlers to Palestinian territory occupied since June 1967, including East Jerusalem.
The note maintains that this is part of Israel's effort to change 'the demographic composition, character and status' of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It also describes what the organizers of the meeting argue are unlawful policies that stem from the establishment of settlements, such as forced displacement of Palestinians and the demolition of homes and properties, among others. The note calls for Israel to be held accountable for all breaches of international law stemming from settlement activities and condemns what it sees as impunity for settlers' actions.
Also with regard to accountability, it calls on the international community and specifically the Security Council to use its tools to hold Israel accountable for its 'illegal behavior' and to impose consequences if Israel does not act in line with its legal obligations. The meeting comes on the backdrop of the recent violence fl are-up on the ground last week, as protests erupted over Israel's continuing blockade of Gaza.