Common coronavirus enemy, forges some Palestine-Israel cooperation, but West Bank annexation looms
- 1530 Defa Okundu
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating opportunities for cooperation that Israelis and Palestinians must embrace to sustain Middle East peace efforts and bring an end to decades of conflict, the United Nations’ top envoy in the region said on Thursday.
Nıckolay Malndenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the security council that the past month has seen yet again more fighting and confrontation in the West Bank and Gaza, with ever-rising casualties.
But he added that it has also witnessed "inspiring examples" of cooperation across conflict lines in a common battle to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak - and opening fresh prospects for progress in the quest for peace.
"The recognition of this interdependence could - if there is political will - translate into tangible progress towards resolving the conflict", he said, nothing how the two sides - with UN support - are coordinating their COVID-19 efforts.
“I strongly urge Israeli and Palestinian leaders to seize this moment to take steps towards peace (and) to reject unilateral moves that will only deepen the wedge between the two peoples and undermine the chances for peace.”
West Bank annexation
The path of unilateral action will only lead to more conflict and suffering - Special Coordinator Mladenov