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Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, observed on 29 November:

We commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at a time of diminished hope for peace.  I am deeply saddened by the growing number of Palestinian civilians who have lost their lives in the spiral of violence engulfing the occupied West Bank.  Each casualty fuels fear and yet more violence.  I urge all parties to take immediate steps to reduce tensions and break this deadly cycle.

The long-standing drivers of conflict — including the ongoing occupation, settlement expansion, home demolitions and evictions — heighten anger, despair and hopelessness.  Meanwhile, Gaza continues to endure debilitating closures and humanitarian crises.  I reiterate my call on the parties to engage to end the closures of Gaza and improve living conditions of all Palestinians.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) remains a vital lifeline for Palestine refugees.  I commend the donors for their support and urge all to step up and provide predictable and sufficient funding to enable UNRWA to fully deliver on its mandate.

The United Nations’ position is clear:  peace must advance — the occupation must end.  We are steadfast in our commitment to realize the vision of two States — Israel and Palestine — living side by side in peace and security, with Jerusalem as the capital of both States.

Together, let us reaffirm our support to the Palestinian people in their quest to achieve their inalienable rights and build a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for all.

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