General Assembly Security Council

UNSC Open VTC on ‘the situation in the Middle East’




Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations


16 May 2021




Thank you, Mr. President. I thank Special Coordinator Tor Wenessland for his briefing.   


2. The Security Council has held two closed meetings on the developments earlier this week. In both these meetings, we had expressed our deep concern over violence in Jerusalem, especially on Haram Al Sharif/ Temple Mount during the holy month of Ramadan, and about the possible eviction process in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, an area which is part of an arrangement facilitated by the UN. We had also expressed our apprehension at the spread of violence to other parts of West Bank and Gaza.


3. Today’s open debate has been necessitated by the continuing violence, which began in East Jerusalem a week back and is now threatening to spiral out of control. The events of the last several days have resulted in a sharp deterioration of the security situation.


4. The indiscriminate rocket firings from Gaza targeting the civilian population in Israel, which we condemn, and the retaliatory strikes into Gaza, have caused immense suffering and resulted in deaths, including women and children. India has also lost one of her nationals living in Israel in this rocket fire – a caregiver in Ashkelon. We deeply mourn her demise along with all other civilians who have lost their lives in the current cycle of violence.  We reiterate our strong condemnation of all acts of violence, provocation, incitement and destruction.


5. Immediate de-escalation is the need of the hour, so as to arrest any further slide towards the brink. We urge both sides to show extreme restraint, desist from actions that exacerbate tensions, and refrain from attempts to unilaterally change the existing status-quo, including in East Jerusalem and its neighbourhood.


6. Jerusalem has a special place in hearts of millions of Indians, who visit the city every year. It also houses the Al Zawiyya Al Hindiyya – The Indian Hospice, which is a historic place associated with a great Indian Sufi saint Baba Farid and located inside the Old City. India has restored this Indian Hospice. The historic status-quo at the holy places of Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, must be respected.


7. We support the diplomatic efforts of the Quartet and other members of the international community, the countries in the region in particular, to calm the situation and put an end to the ongoing violence and seek to achieve durable peace.


8. These incidents have once again underscored the need for immediate resumption of dialogue between Israel and Palestinian authorities. The absence of direct and meaningful negotiations between the parties is widening the trust deficit between the parties. This will only increase the chances for similar escalation in future. We believe that every effort should be made to create conducive conditions for resumption of talks between Israel and Palestine.


9. In conclusion, I reiterate India’s strong support to the just Palestinian cause and its unwavering commitment to the two-State solution.


I thank you Mr. President.