U.N. Clings to Two-State Solution as Rockets Fly

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -

The U.N. Security Council reiterated its support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The U.N. statement was approved by all 15 council members including the U.S. It was the Council’s first statement on the subject following the unveiling of the U.S. peace plan, but made no mention of the plan.

The statement voiced the Council’s support for a “negotiated two-state solution, recalling previous relevant U.N. resolutions, and in accordance with international law, where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders.” The statement was drafted by Belgium, which holds the council presidency this month.

The Council statement came amid two days of intense fighting between Israel and the Islamic Jihad terror group in the Gaza Strip. There were no reports of civilian casualties on either side, but an informal ceasefire aimed at ending the fighting appeared to be taking hold early Tuesday.

The Council press statement adopted Monday reaffirms “that all parties should refrain from undermining the viability of the two-state solution in order to maintain the prospects for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.”

“Council members stressed the need to exert collective efforts to launch credible negotiations on all final status issues in the Middle East peace process,” it added.

The Council also “expressed grave concern about acts of violence against civilians.”

Belgian U.N. Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerveread the statement after U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov briefed the council at an open meeting. Members then held closed consultations.

Mladenov, who addressed the council by video while fighting raged between Israel and Islamic Jihad, called for “an immediate stop to the firing of rockets and mortars that only risk dragging Gaza into another round of hostilities with no end in sight.”

On the political front, he said that with no Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on the horizon, “developments on the ground continued to undermine prospects for a two-state solution.”