Two-state solution remains way forward UN
ACHIEVING a negotiated two-state outcome is the only way to lay the foundations for enduring peace that is based on Israeli security needs and the Palestinian right to sovereignty and statehood, the UN envoy on Middle East peace has told the Security Council.
“Now is not the time to give up on this goal,” Nickolay Mladenov, Special Co-ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process told the Security Council.
Noting the 50-year anniversary of the Arab-Israeli war, which resulted in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Syrian Golan, Mladenov also called on Israel to “cease all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”.
He noted that there had been a “substantial” increase in such activities, “with Israeli plans for nearly 4 000 housing units moving forward and 2000 tenders issued”.
“The large number of settlement-related activities… undermines the chances for the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state as part of a twostate solution,” he said.
On the anniversary of World Refugee Day on Tuesday it is estimated that 66% of Palestinians who were living in British Mandate Palestine in 1948 were expelled from historic Palestine and displaced, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.
The UN estimates that the number of registered Palestinian refugees in 2016 numbered about 5.9 million, with those in the West Bank accounting for 17% of the total and those in Gaza accounting for 24.5%.
Internally displaced refugees from historic Palestine living in the occupied territory and Gaza had an overall unemployment rate of 33.3% in 2016, compared with 22.3% among non-refugees.