THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST, INCLUDING THE PALESTINIAN QUESTION"

 

Statement by Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg

 Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN

 Security Council, New York, 21 July 2005

 

Mr. President,

I wish to thank Álvaro de Soto for his comprehensive briefing and insightful comments. My delegation - and myself in particular, for the long-standing friendship Álvaro de Soto and I keep - was very pleased at his appointment as Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, in a clear recognition of his diplomatic skills and capacity.

Mr. President, I wish to express our appreciation for the holding of this public session, in response to the request made by the Arab Group.

 

Mr. President,

The peoples in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian territories face now a critical moment, one that has a true potential for reverting the deadlock and paralysis that has characterized the peace process in recent years. As our delegation sees it, the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and northern West Bank is a first, yet important step towards the end of the occupation and the embodiment of the vision of two States - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace and security, by means of a just, lasting and comprehensive settlement to the conflict. It is essential, therefore, that it be successful.

In this context, the Israeli Government should be encouraged to persevere in their efforts towards disengagement in accordance with the proposed timetable. Coordination with the Palestinian Authority, so that the operation can be undertaken in a smooth and orderly manner, has a crucial importance . Actions taken in this regard in recent weeks should be commended, and my Delegation believes they must be intensified in the days to come.  At the same time, facilitating efforts undertaken by international partners and neighboring States are to be praised.

Our Government took note, with satisfaction, of the most recent statement by the Quartet principals, in London, whereby they emphasized the urgent need for Israel and the Palestinians to work directly and cooperatively with each other, with the assistance of James Wolfensohn, the Quartet Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement. The Quartet also stressed that the coordinated support of the international donor community is crucial for the success of Mr. Wolfensohn's mission, and urged Arab states to engage fully in this regard.

 

Mr. President,

The complex, sensitive character of the Israeli withdrawal requires, to the maximum possible extent, a predominance of calm and stability on the ground. My delegation believes that the recent escalation of violence in the area runs counter to the interests of both sides, and that the parties must do their utmost to ensure restraint, and abide by the understandings achieved at Sharm-el-Sheikh, with a view to maintaining the cease-fire.

The practice of extra-judicial killings by Israeli forces, resumed in recent days, must be halted. My delegation also followed with deep concern the intensification of rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian armed groups against Israeli targets, including civilians. One of these attacks resulted in the death of an Israeli girl, of Brazilian origin - a sad fact that our people received with profound regret. My delegation also condemns the terrorist attack which took place in Netanya some days ago. In this context, my Government received positively the news that the commitments to the cease-fire made by Palestinian factions will be honored.

Brazil believes that all Palestinians should be focused, at this stage, in supporting and providing leverage to the Palestinian Authority in its undertakings.

 

Mr. President,

Confidence building is a core element at the present juncture. As such, my delegation is alarmed at news on increasing settlement activities in the West Bank, or even worse, the revision of the route and the acceleration of the construction of the Wall around Jerusalem by Israel. These measures deeply affect efforts to promote trust between the two Governments and between their peoples. They also have a very negative impact on the prospect of a just, lasting and comprehensive solution to the conflict, as they affect core final status issues.

The construction of the Wall around Jerusalem is likely to affect 55 thousand people in their daily affairs, as mentioned by the Special Coordinator. Moreover, it also prejudges the resolution of a dispute over an issue that has been central since the Partition Plan, and subject to many resolutions by the United Nations, both in the Security Council and in the General Assembly. I recall that any solution to the status of Jerusalem should take into account the legitimate concerns of both sides, and include internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure freedom of religion and of conscience for all its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to all its Holy sites by the people of all religions and nationalities. Israel should be encouraged to reverse its decision on this matter, as well as to conform with the legal opinion of the International Court of Justice in all activities related to the Wall.  

 

Mr. President,

Brazil is deeply alarmed with the dire humanitarian and economic situation in the occupied territories. In this context, my delegation commends the endeavors undertaken by Special Envoy Wolfensohn to address this situation and alleviate the plight of the Palestinian people. My Government is willing to contribute to these efforts, especially in providing assistance and expertise for the establishment of social programmes on the ground. The Brazilian authorities are deeply interested in exploring modalities of cooperation in this regard.

Most of all, however, my delegation emphasizes the importance that Israel faces up its responsibilities in this field, by easing the constraints applied to the flow of goods and people in and out of Gaza and the West Bank and between them.

 

Mr. President,

On the situation in Lebanon, my delegation is pleased with the naming of the new Government. Brazil is certain that the new authorities will work in the interest and for the benefit of all the Lebanese people. The international community, on its turn, should be supportive of the Governmental efforts. Actions that could have a negative impact on Lebanese unity and stability must be avoided.

As regards the situation along the 'Blue Line', my delegation reiterates its call on both sides for restraint and full compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions. In the coming days, the Council will consider the Secretary-General's report on the activities of UNIFIL; Brazil will favor the renewal of the Force's mandate for a further six-month period, taking into account the prevailing tensions in the area and the request made by the Lebanese Government in this regard.

Finally, I wish to reiterate our commitment to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East that takes into account the need of addressing all aspects of the conflict.

Thank you.