Remarks at a UN Security Council Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East

Ambassador Richard Mills
Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 25, 2022


Thank you, Madam President, and thank you, Special Coordinator Wennesland, for your briefing. The United States supports your continued close engagement with all parties to promote calm and to foster dialogue. As we just heard, this month, billions of people around the globe celebrate Ramadan, Passover, and Easter. These holidays are a reminder of our shared humanity and compassion. Unfortunately, we have witnessed a deeply concerning increase in violence during what should be period of reflection, introspection, and communal celebration.

The United States is particularly concerned by recent violence in Jerusalem on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, which should be a site of peace and tranquility. We appeal to all sides to exercise maximum restraint, avoid provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve the historic status quo. We urge Palestinian and Israeli officials to work cooperatively to lower tensions and ensure the safety of everyone, and we welcome recent steps taken in this regard. We acknowledge the special role that is played by Jordan, as the custodian of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, and its engagement with all parties to prevent further escalation.

The recent spate of violence only underscores the need to further expand dialogue and pursue paths to peace. The United States condemns the rocket launches from Gaza and Lebanon by militant groups that are seeking to exploit the situation in Jerusalem to advance their narrow interests. We must all condemn these actions, which risk destabilizing the situation further. The United States is engaged diplomatically with all sides, including through outreach from our Secretary of State. Our Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Yael Lempert, and Deputy Assistant Secretary, Hady Amr, also traveled to the region to work with the parties and neighboring countries to promote calm.

During today’s open debate, I expect many Members will offer their own support for the region. But I would urge you to provide more than just rhetorical support. In Gaza, the need for humanitarian relief, reconstruction, and recovery remains acute. Due to President Putin’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, food insecurity could worsen even further in the coming weeks, both in Gaza and the West Bank as prices of food, fuel, and other commodities rise. During the historic Negev Summit, leaders involved in normalization discussed how they can support Palestinians in concrete ways and have a positive impact on the daily lives of Palestinians. In that vein, we encourage all Member States to provide concrete assistance, including financial contributions to UNRWA, to help meet the needs of vulnerable Palestinians.

In conclusion, Madam President, the United States reiterates its firm belief that both Israelis and Palestinians are entitled to equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity, and dignity. But the realization of this vision will require good-faith efforts by the parties and the generous support of the international community. Dialogue, negotiation, and cooperation can create the path to a better future for all. They can keep alive the prospects of a two-state solution in which a democratic and Jewish Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable and prosperous Palestinian state.

The United States remains firmly committed to a two-state solution and will continue pushing and pursuing a lasting and sustainable peace that benefits Israelis and Palestinians alike. And I hope all Council members will join us in supporting a pathway to peace.

Thank you.