Nigeria has suggested specific actions that Israel and Palestine should take to resolve the age-long conflict between the two neighbours in the Middle East.
The Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, gave the suggestions while delivering Nigeria’s statement at the Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question.
Mr Bande said Nigeria was gravely concerned at the alarming situation in many parts of the Middle East, particularly in Palestine, adding that it was pertinent for all parties to make genuine and concerted efforts to find peaceful solutions.
He called on Israel and Palestine to cooperate closely with the UN and its agencies in order to achieve the shared objective of a two-state solution in line with relevant UN resolutions and international laws.
He said: “We must not allow recent developments to obscure the underlying problem of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“It is evident that a departure from the current crisis and a revival of the peace process is hardly achievable without ending or reversing the policy of settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.
“We believe that there are a number of specific actions that are necessary to foster mutual respect, compromise and build confidence, as well as pave the way for the realisation of the two-state solution.
“In that regard, we encourage Israel to take concrete steps to freeze and reverse all settlement-related activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
“On their part, Palestinian leaders must also signal their readiness to return to the negotiating table by making enhanced efforts to forge unity, deal with militancy and other internal security challenges.
“It is beyond doubt that violence and unilateral actions will not resolve the long-drawn-out conflict.’’
He reaffirmed the Nigerian delegation’s full support for the rights of the Palestinian people, including the protection of their fundamental human rights, particularly their right to free movement and self-determination.
Mr Bande also reaffirmed Nigeria’s full support for the maintenance of the dignity of the individual Palestinian person and their inalienable right to live without the fear of persecution.
“To that end, the Security Council must not fail in its duty and responsibility to the Palestinian people.
“In conclusion, Nigeria calls on states with influence over the concerned parties to encourage them to re-engage in dialogue on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Quartet Roadmap, the Arab Peace Initiative and other existing agreements.
“We reaffirm our unwavering support for a two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine existing side-by-side in peace,” the Nigerian envoy said.
Over the weekend, another Israeli-Palestinian war in Gaza that appeared just “minutes away” was averted by intense diplomatic efforts by the UN and Egypt.
The past month, he said, had witnessed one of the largest escalations since the most recent 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict.
No fewer than 19 Palestinians, including seven children, were killed by Israeli defence forces in Gaza during protests, clashes, and airstrikes while over 1,000 were injured.
One Israeli soldier was killed by gunfire from Gaza last week while four Israeli civilians and an Israeli soldier were moderately injured by rocket fire and a hand grenade attack.
Hamas and other militants fired 283 rockets and mortars from Gaza toward Israel, while the Israeli Air Force fired some 189 missiles and artillery shells against targets in Gaza.(NAN)