November 25, 2017

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Cyprus Ambassador Sotos Zackheos to the Security Council on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question

Mr. President,

Cyprus has aligned itself with the statement delivered by the delegation of Belgium on behalf of the European UnionSince the beginning of the recent violent events that have taken place in the Middle East, the Government and People of the Republic of Cyprus have expressed sorrow and concern over the escalation of violence and the loss of so many lives. The current situation aptly demonstrates the explosive consequences of the long delay in bringing about a solution to the Palestinian Problem. All interested parties and the international community at large should consider with the utmost seriousness the tragic reality of everyday conflict, which brings with it the simply unacceptable loss of life and property and violations of human rights affecting the lives of millions of innocent people on a daily basis. We urge once more both parties to show maximum restraint, since it has been demonstrated time and again that any resort to violence, not only fails to produce any tangible benefits for either side, but on the contrary aggravates an already tense situation.

We strongly condemn any and all forms of terrorism, including the recent suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa, which resulted in many deaths of innocent civilians. At the same time, we urge Israel to desist from actions, the thrust of which is the collective punishment of the Palestinian population, and to avoid disproportionate response to violence.

Both, Israel’s decision to close the Orient House and other institutions in Jerusalem, and the recent incursions of the Israeli army into the Palestinian territory, are particularly disturbing. Such actions provoke the feelings of the Palestinian people and exacerbate the current explosive state of affairs. Action brings reaction and with it further blows to the prospects of peace. We call upon Israel to reverse this decision as soon as possible, and abide by its commitments to respect the inviolability of those institutions.

Cyprus condemns, in an unequivocal manner, the extrajudicial executions of Palestinians by Israel, which are illegal under international law and unacceptable in the eyes of the international community. At the same time, we urge the Palestinian Authority to exert every effort in order to control outbursts of violence. Only in this way will this destructive cycle of hatred subside.