Negotiated two-State solution still ‘the only option’ for Palestine – Guterres

A two-State solution where Israel and Palestine live side-by-side as sovereign nations is still “the only option” for lasting peace, and “containing the situation is not sufficient,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday.

In remarks at the observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in New York, the UN Chief said “only constructive negotiations, in good faith, and adhering to the long-established and agreed parameters for a two-State solution, will bring the desired, long-lasting solution.”

Containing the situation is not sufficient, he said, calling “on all actors, and first and foremost the leadership of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, to take bold steps and restore faith in the promise of General Assembly resolution 181, of two States living side-by-side in peace and security”.

This would fulfill the legitimate national aspirations of both peoples, with borders based on the 1967 lines and Jerusalem as the capital of both States ‑ East Jerusalem being the capital of the Palestinian State, he said.

“It is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. It is the only option for a comprehensive and just peace,” the UN Chief insisted before he called on the international community “to intensify its engagement and reiterate its commitment to assist Palestinians and Israelis in reaching the two-State solution.”

The United Nations will not waver in its commitment to the Palestinian people. On this International Day of Solidarity, let us reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rights of the Palestinian people and to building a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis alike, he said.

Touching on the appalling humanitarian situation in Gaza, he said, “Today, in particular, our hearts are heavy with the suffering of the people in Gaza. Approximately 2 million Palestinians remain blocked in increasing poverty and unemployment, with limited access to adequate health, education, water and electricity. Young people see little prospect of a better future.”

He urged in this connection Israel to lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods, which also hamper, he said, the efforts of the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies.

Echoing Antonio Guterres, President of the General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa said before the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) that “the state of the Palestinian people remains a scar on our collective conscience…and we all have a responsibility to press the urgency of the need for an expeditious resolution.”

“Our solidarity with the Palestinian people must not be rooted just in sympathy. As worthy as that is, the Palestinian people are entitled to more than that,” she said. Part of the UN pledge to leave no one behind, means doing “everything in our power to end their current nightmare.”

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