Read out by Estonian Ambassador Sven Jürgenson
I would like to make the following statement today on behalf of the three EU Members of the Security Council, Estonia, France and Ireland, joined by Norway and the incoming member of the Council Albania.
We call upon the Government of Israel to halt settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including E1 and Givat Hamatos and not to proceed with the tenders for the construction of more than 1300 housing units and plans for the construction of nearly 3000 housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory announced on 24 and 27 October 2021.
As stated in the Security Council resolution 2334, settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between the parties. We reiterate our strong opposition to the expansion of settlements and will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.
We also take very seriously the listing of six Palestinian organisations as terrorist organisations by Israel’s Ministry of Defence. These listings are a matter of serious concern, as they have far-reaching consequences for the organisations in political, legal and financial terms. We will be engaging Israeli authorities for more information regarding the basis for these designations, which we will study carefully.
A thriving civil society and respect for fundamental freedoms are corner stones of open democracies. Civil society is an essential contributor to good governance, human rights, international law, democratic values and sustainable development across the world, including in Israel and Palestine. It also contributes to peace efforts and confidence building between Israelis and Palestinians.
We call on both parties to refrain from unilateral actions that increase tensions and undermine the two-state solution and call upon them to build on steps taken in recent months to improve cooperation. We urge all parties to refrain in particular from all forms of violence and incitement targeting the civilian population. We will continue to support steps towards sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians.