New York, 21 July 2010
Statement by Ms. Mirsada Čolaković, Minister Counsellor,
Deputy Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
at the UN Security Council Debate
on The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
I would like to begin by thanking Mr. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, for his update on recent developments in the Middle East. We also thank the Permanent Representative of Israel, Her Excellency Ms. Gabriela Shalev, and the Permanent Observer of Palestine, His Excellency Mr. Riyad Mansour, for their presence and their contributions to our debate.
Bosnia and Herzegovina remains deeply concerned by the extremely worrying impasse that persists in the peace process in the Middle East. The pattern of events in the region in recent months is a strong reminder that the situation on the ground continues to be a source of great concern. Recent events further demonstrated that the counterproductive and unacceptable blockade of Gaza represents a grave obstacle to security, prosperity and opportunity for the Palestinians and the Israelis, and for all nations in the region.
In this regard, we welcome the Israeli Government’s recent announcement, which, once fully and effectively implemented, will be a significant step forward in the review of Israeli policy on Gaza. However, we strongly believe that this is not enough and that more needs to be done. Bosnia and Herzegovina is of the view that only the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) can meet the basic needs of the 1.5 million Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip. Hence, we reiterate our call upon Israel to allow the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of the crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods resolution 1860 (2009) and the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access.
Time and again, we have to reiterate that comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East can be achieved only on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Madrid principles, the Road Map, the agreements previously reached by the parties and the Arab Peace Initiative. Bosnia and Herzegovina is and will remain committed to the two-State solution, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security.
In order to overcome the current peace process impasse, the parties have to fulfil their obligations and make a tangible contribution towards creating conditions conducive to negotiations. Settlements, the separation barrier built on occupied land, the demolition of homes and evictions are illegal under international law and contrary to Israel’s obligations under the Road Map. We believe that these activities constitute a major obstacle on the road to comprehensive peace because they prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations and threaten to make a two-State solution impossible. It is therefore essential that Israel put an end to all settlement activities, including natural growth, in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, and dismantle all outposts erected since March 2001.
Our concerns also include the latest developments in East Jerusalem and continuing tensions in the city. Bosnia and Herzegovina does not recognize the annexation of East Jerusalem and underlines that the status of Jerusalem is a permanent status issue that must be resolved through negotiations between the parties. Jerusalem — the holy city of the three great monotheistic religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam — should be the symbol of peace, freedom of religious expression and human rights.
Israel’s security concerns, including a complete stop to all violence and arms smuggling into Gaza, must also be addressed. Bosnia and Herzegovina condemns the latest attack on the children’s recreational facility in Gaza. We call upon Hamas to unconditionally allow the International Committee of the Red Cross access and to end its interference with the operations of non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies in Gaza.
Regarding the recent tragic incident involving the humanitarian aid flotilla, we reiterate our call for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards, in accordance with the statement of the President of the Security Council S/PRST/2010/9. At the same time, we support Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s proposal for an international inquiry to investigate the Gaza flotilla incident.
Before concluding, allow me, once again to emphasize that only direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians can bring about a lasting resolution to the conflict and ensure peace, stability and progress in the Middle East.