Remarks at a Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East

Rodney Hunter
Political Coordinator
New York City
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
April 29, 2019


Thank you, Mr. President.

We agree with EcoPeace that the road to stability in the Middle East will be paved by regional cooperation on many levels, and water and energy security are certainly essential for peace in the region.

It is indeed heartening to hear that Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians are working together on ways to address shared challenges in energy and water.

The EcoPeace Water-Energy Nexus Project is a great example of this cooperation. It harnesses Jordan’s potential as a large-scale renewable energy provider, and utilizes both Israeli and Palestinian expertise in desalinization.

The success and sustainability of projects such as this clearly demonstrate that Israelis and Palestinians can and do work together at the community level every day to improve their lives. And a large part of why these projects are so successful is because they focus on what is best for the communities.

We have heard a lot about Israel’s responsibilities, but the real culprit in depriving their community of a better life is Hamas.

The work of NGOs like EcoPeace is all the more challenging in Gaza because of Hamas’s insistence on placing its own interests ahead of those of Gaza’s residents. Would Hamas ever permit local communities to band together to form energy-producing cooperatives, free of its control and profit taking? Would Hamas ever allow Israeli desalinization experts to work side by side with people in Gaza?

Will Hamas ever cease the needless attacks on Israeli communities and stop its morally bankrupt war at the expense of the Palestinian people? A war that has only succeeded in provoking conflict and leading to poverty and hopelessness, while hampering the ability of the international community to help?

I think we know the answer to all these questions. The future of Gaza cannot be addressed, and the people of Gaza cannot be helped, in any meaningful way until Hamas is no longer in the picture or makes the necessary choices for stability and, eventually, peace.

The United States appreciates the work of EcoPeace, which is dedicated to fostering a community approach to water and energy security, despite a challenging environment. I think we can all agree that this model of regional cooperation should be replicated to lay the groundwork for peace.

Thank you, Mr. President.