Kenya Urges De-Escalation of Israel-Palestine Conflict, Calls for Truce

Nairobi — Kenya has called for an immediate ceasefire amid an escalating Israel-Palestine conflict which has left scores dead and thousands injured.

Kenya's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Amb Martin Kimani, made the appeal on Sunday during a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting convened to discuss the situation in the Middle East.

"Kenya calls for an immediate ceasefire and cessation of violence as the first step to a renewed push for peace. We strongly encourage the constructive steps by the respective national authorities to engage with the special coordinator and envoys of the Middle East," he said.

Amb Kimani called for the de-escalation of confrontations while warning against illegal settlements in occupied areas, a situation he noted could further escalate the conflict.

"In highly emotive situations such as the ongoing one, police and military authorities should embrace de-escalation, protect lives and avoid demolition of civilian infrastructure," he appealed.

"To give peace and dialogue a chance, Kenya is opposed to illegal settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It is important that the agreed status quo on Jerusalem be respected," he added.

Amb Kimani reiterated Kenya's support to Security Council's Resolution 2334 adopted on December 23, 2016, which called for the cessation of all settlement activities by Israel in occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

"There would be an end to this bout of violence hopefully sooner rather than later. When that moment comes, and dialogue and negotiations resume, we expect that they'd be guided by agreed international mechanisms including Security Council Resolution 2334."

Kenya also urged the Security Council members to fast track the issuance of a "timely, clear and balanced statement" that will support peace mediation efforts.

Under Resolution 2334, which was adopted by 14 votes with the United States abstaining, UNSC demanded that Israel "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem."

The Council also resolved it would not accept any changes to boundary lines drawn on June 4, 1967, except those agreed to by both Israel and Palestine.

The Security Council held at the time that, "Israel's establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two States living side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders."

The latest spate of violence involving Israel and Palestine was sparked by weeks of tension at Temple Mount - a revered site among Jews - where the Al Aqsa mosque considered the third holiest site in Islam is located.

The confrontation evolved into a full-scale war which saw Israel forces bomb civilian buildings it claimed we being used Palestine forces to fire rockets to Israel. On Saturday, Israel made good its threat to bomb a 13-storey building housing the Al Jazeera and Associated Press news networks.

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