UK Says Israelis and Palestinians Owed Equal Freedom, Peace and Prosperity

The government of UK on Tuesday said that Israelis and Palestinian deserve equal measures of freedom, security, and prosperity.

UK’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Barbara Woodward thanked US President Joe Biden for visiting Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories this month, and the announcement of US funding for East Jerusalem hospitals and UNRWA.

“We welcome Israel’s commitment during this visit to restart the Joint Economic Committee and accelerate transition to 4G in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” Woodward said at her briefing at the UN Security Council open debate on the situation in the Middle East.

Woodward also welcomed the recent direct discussions between Israeli Prime Minister Lapid, President Herzog and Defense Minister Gantz, and President Abbas and other PA leaders. “Such cooperation and dialogue are essential to tackling shared challenges,” she added.

But the situation on the ground is fragile, Woodward lamented, adding that they noted UN OHCHR’s report on the increase in fatalities.  

Woodward said that at least 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces in the first six months of 2022 in different operations in the West Bank.

In the same period, 19 Israelis were killed in terror attacks.

“Terrorist attacks against civilians are abhorrent and unacceptable. We call on all parties to de-escalate tensions and stop the continued loss of life,” she added.

Woodward also welcomed US engagement with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to seek the truth surrounding journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh’s death and asked for accountability.

She also called on Israel to halt plans to progress 1900 settlement units in East Jerusalem, terming it illegal under international law which threatens the physical viability of a two-state solution.

At the end of his speech, Woodward said that UK is supporting a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel, living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state.

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