USG Rosemary DiCarlo’s statement for the
“Peace Day Effort: An Effort for Middle East Peace”
on the margins of UNGA78 High Level Week
New York, 18 September 2023
His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan, [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia]
Secretary-General Aboul Gheit [the League of Arab States],
High Representative Borrell [European Union]
Minister Safadi [Jordan]
Minister Shoukry [Egypt]
I would like to thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the League of Arab States, and the European Union, in cooperation with Egypt and Jordan, for convening today’s meeting on our efforts to reinvigorate the Middle East Peace Process and help forge a path forward toward a viable two-State solution.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has endured too long. It is the longest standing issue on the United Nations peace and security agenda, despite many collective efforts throughout the years. But we cannot give up.
Today’s meeting – a Peace Day Effort – is testament to the international community’s continued engagement and investment in helping end the occupation and resolve this conflict.
We have an opportunity today to hear about possible steps to build on existing initiatives, particularly the Arab Peace Initiative. There is no doubt that the potential peace dividend is vast – for Palestinians, for Israelis, and for the broader region. We must galvanize our collective efforts to achieve a just and comprehensive peace.
As we look to the future, we must also address pressing, immediate concerns.
The situation on the ground is bleak. We are alarmed by the intensification of violence in the occupied West Bank and Israel. This year alone, 190 Palestinians and 30 Israelis have been killed. This is a level of violence not seen in decades.
Unilateral actions, including Israel’s relentless settlement expansion and demolitions, the Palestinian divide, and the growing incitement to violence and hateful rhetoric on both sides, continue to undermine our collective efforts for a viable two-State solution.
We urgently need the parties to take constructive steps – supported by the international community – to de-escalate tensions, end the cycle of violence, and re-establish a political horizon. Political leadership is required to this end.
The UN continues its intensive engagement with all parties to address both the immediate crises and work toward meaningful political solutions that advance our shared goal.
The acute financial and institutional challenges facing the Palestinian Authority need to be addressed. Immediate financial support is crucial to help stabilize basic service delivery to millions of Palestinians and to strengthen Palestinian institutions so they can better engage on the way forward.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is a lifeline for millions of Palestine refugees in the region. It continues to face critical funding shortfalls. Sustained financial support to UNRWA is an essential part of our collective efforts to prevent further deterioration of the situation on the ground.
I commend Jordan and Sweden for once again co-hosting the ministerial meeting in support of UNRWA later this week, which I hope will help address the Agency’s immediate and long-term funding challenges.
There is no substitute for a legitimate political process to resolve the core issues driving this conflict. Through incremental but tangible steps, we can steadily create the conditions necessary for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
I am hopeful that today’s meeting will help further our shared goal of supporting Israelis and Palestinians to end the occupation and resolve this conflict in line with international law, relevant United Nations resolutions, and bilateral agreements.
Only then can we achieve our long-sought and commonly agreed goal of two States – Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, viable, and sovereign Palestinian State – living side by side in peace and security, within secure and recognized borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 lines, with Jerusalem as their shared capital.