UNITED NATIONS (AA) – A UN envoy warned Wednesday that Israelis and Palestinians remain on a collision course amid heightened violence in the West Bank as well as escalating political and inflammatory rhetoric.
“It is imperative that both sides refrain from provocations and unilateral steps — including at the holy sites in Jerusalem –that undermine stability and the ability to achieve a negotiated peace,” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland told the Security Council.
The new Israeli government imposed a package of sanctions Jan. 6 against the Palestinian Authority in response to its bid to seek an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the decades-long Israeli occupation.
He said: “Violent trends that dominated the last months of 2022 continue to take a devastating human toll.
”I reiterate my call in November for immediate concrete steps toward reversing negative trends on the ground, strengthening the Palestinian Authority, and improving access and movement for Palestinians, while ensuring the necessary space for Palestinian economic activity,” he said.
Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour said Israel’s measures following the UN vote strike at the heart of multilateralism and the heart of the international law-based order.
The US envoy also expressed concern about the situation in the West Bank, the potential for further instability and called for de-escalation.
”Let me be clear: We continue to oppose unilateral actions that endanger stability and the viability of a two-state solution. This includes actions to the historic status quo at the Haram al-Sharif Temple Mount; this includes settlement building and the legalization of outposts; and this includes annexation, acts of terrorism, and incitement,” said Linda Thomas Greenfield.