The head of the UN Antonio Guterres urged Israel on Friday to remove restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement.
This came during the inaugural meeting of a UN committee focused on Palestinian rights in New York.
“I urge Israel to lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods, which also hamper the efforts of the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies, without naturally jeopardizing legitimate security concerns,” Guterres said.
He pointed out that 2 million Palestinians “remain mired in increasing poverty and unemployment, with limited access to adequate health, education, water and electricity.
“Palestinians have endured more than a half-century of occupation and denial of their legitimate right to self-determination,” he said. “Young people see little prospect of a better future.”
The UN head took further issue with Israel’s continued development of settlements in the occupied West Bank, emphasizing they are illegal under international law and are encroaching further into the region.
“They deepen the sense of mistrust and undermine the two-State solution,” he said, referring to the long-sought but never realized aspiration to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel.