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UN chief vows to continue protecting Palestinians

UNITED NATIONS, Aug.  (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has vowed to continue to protect Palestinian civilians despite challenging circumstances.

In a report to the General Assembly on the protection of Palestinians, which went public on Monday, Guterres said that after more than 50 years of Israeli military occupation, Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip remain particularly vulnerable to violence, intimidation, loss of property and income, and various violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

The combination of a prolonged military occupation, constant security threats, weak political institutions and a deadlocked peace process provides for a protection challenge that is highly complex politically, legally and practically, said the report.

It is crucial that ongoing UN efforts to ensure Palestinians' protection, safety and well-being be maintained and strengthened, particularly in the light of the current financial shortfalls faced by humanitarian and development agencies on the ground, it said.

"I urge all member states to step up their financial contributions and political support for these efforts," said Guterres in the report.

Increased UN efforts in support of achieving a lasting political solution to the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis are critical, as such a solution is the only way to achieve the full protection of Palestinians, he said.

"This tragedy underlines the urgency of revitalizing the peace process. It is only by realizing the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the State of Palestine, and all final-status issues resolved permanently through negotiations, that the legitimate aspirations of both peoples will be achieved," the UN chief said in the report.