Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in the Middle East

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
June 24, 2021


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you to Special Coordinator Wennesland for your briefing, and for all of your work over the past few weeks to preserve calm. We understand you want the opportunity to have a more in-depth conversation in closed consultations so we will keep our public remarks brief.

Let’s start where we all agree: We’re all thankful for the end of hostilities, which surely saved the lives of many innocent people. Ending the violence was a necessary first step, but we all know it won’t be the end of the story. The situation in the region remains precarious, and the efforts to avoid violence and reduce tensions are critical. It is essential to take steps to ensure calm and refrain from provocative actions.

Long before the cessation of hostilities, the United States, as well as our partners and allies, began working on ways to support better lives for Israelis and Palestinians. And on May 25, Secretary Blinken announced $38 million in new humanitarian assistance for the West Bank and Gaza. We also announced our intention – working with Congress – to provide $75 million in additional development assistance and economic assistance over the next year supporting relief and recovery in the West Bank and Gaza. Our aid will go far, but the needs – especially in Gaza – are vast. We call on the rest of this Council, and the international community, to support these efforts and offer humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable.

Special Coordinator Wennesland, we welcome the UN efforts to support relief and recovery. And we would also appreciate efforts to facilitate the flow of goods into and out of Gaza. We need a mechanism which allows authorities to mitigate any risk of diversion. It is absolutely critical that Hamas cannot divert resources and assistance from the Palestinian people who need it most. So, all of us must work and coordinate with the UN, Israelis, Palestinians, and other key actors to ensure the designated beneficiaries are the ones who actually receive international assistance. They deserve to have their immediate needs met, so that they can recover from the latest round of violence.

Of course, a sustainable solution will require more than emergency aid. It requires Israel, and the Palestinian Authority, and our international partners working together to chart a more constructive path forward. We need to address the underlying social tensions and avoid triggering the flashpoints that only make it more difficult to move forward.

There’s new leadership in Israel. And we congratulate the new government and hope it can make serious headways on these issues. Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of security, democracy, dignity, and prosperity. Achieving that goal is critical to ensuring peace and stability, and avoiding violence over the long-term. But in the meantime, we look forward to working with the new leadership in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, regional states, and this Council to take concrete steps toward a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Thank you, Mr. President.