UNITED NATIONS, May 16. /TASS/. The only way to peace and security in the Middle East is the return to talks on the basis of the two-state solution, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday at an extraordinary online meeting of the UN Security Council on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement.
"The only way forward is to return to negotiations with the goal of two States, living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, based on relevant UN resolutions, international law and prior agreements," he stressed.
"Let me reiterate that the United Nations remains deeply committed to working with Israelis and Palestinians and with our international and regional partners, including the Middle East Quartet, to realize a lasting and just peace," he said. "I am in contact with many relevant interlocuters and I again call on the parties to allow mediation efforts to intensify and succeed."
He noted that the longer the current cycle of violence lasted the more difficult it would be to reach last peace in the region. "Only a negotiated sustainable political solution will end, once and for all, these devastating cycles of violence and lead to a peaceful future for Palestinians and Israelis alike," he emphasized.
Escalation between Israel and Palestine
The current escalation around the Gaza Strip is fraught with an uncontrolled crisis in the entire region, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.
"The fighting risks dragging Israelis and Palestinians into a spiral of violence with devastating consequences for both communities and for the entire region, potentially creating a new locus of dangerous instability," he said. "It has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis and to further foster extremism, not only in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, but in the region as a whole.
"The hostilities have forced thousands of Palestinians to leave their homes in Gaza and shelter in schools, mosques and other places with limited access to water, food, hygiene or health services. Hospitals are already overstretched due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Israeli civilians live in fear of rockets launched from Gaza," he said.
"Bloodshed has continued"
Guterres has called for immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Palestine.
"Fighting must stop. It must stop immediately. Rockets and mortars on one side and aerial and artillery bombardments on the other must stop. I appeal to all parties to heed this call," he said on Sunday at an extraordinary online meeting of the UN Security Council on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement.
The UN chief noted that bloodshed has continued. "The carnage has continued today. This senseless cycle of bloodshed, terror and destruction must stop immediately," he stressed and called on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and human rights.
Israel and Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip have been exchanging missile strikes since May 10, following an outburst of unrest near the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City in early May. Clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli police were triggered by an Israeli court ruling to seize dwelling houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood from Arab families who have been living there for more than 50 years in favor of Jewish resettlers who had reportedly owned these buildings before 1948.
According to the latest reports, at least ten Israeli have been killed and hundreds have been wounded. The Palestinian side reports 202 killed and some 5,600 wounded during the current escalation with Israel. As many as 181 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip and 21 more on t