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Ceasefire Between Israel, Palestinian Militants ‘Fragile’, Middle East Coordinator Tells Security Council, Urging All Parties to Uphold Truce, Safeguard Past Gains

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9107TH MEETING (PM)

SC/14994

The Security Council held an emergency meeting today to assess a fragile truce between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza after three days of deadly fighting, with the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process calling on all sides to abide by the agreement and delegates denouncing the deliberate targeting of civilians, notably children.

“The ceasefire remains in place as I speak,” said Tor Wennesland, as he updated on events between 5 and 7 August, marking the worst outbreak of fighting since May 2021. He welcomed Egypt’s crucial role in brokering the accord alongside efforts by the United Nations, Qatar, United States, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. “Together these efforts helped prevent the outbreak of a full-scale war,” and allowed for the delivery of humanitarian relief into Gaza earlier today, he said.

Preliminary numbers, which have yet to be confirmed, indicate that, from 5 August, the Israel Defense Forces launched 147 air strikes against targets in Gaza, while Palestinian militants launched 1,100 rockets and mortars into Israel, he told the Council. Forty-six Palestinians were killed and 360 injured, while 70 Israelis were injured, with damage to residential and other civilian structures.

In separate statements, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Prime Minister of Israel announced a ceasefire would come into effect at 11:30 p.m. local time on 7 August, he continued. The United Nations is in close contact with all parties to solidify the truce and ensure that the significant gains made towards easing restrictions, seen since last May, can be safeguarded — and ultimately expanded.

Movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza has resumed, he said, noting that the six-day closure of Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings had caused rolling power cuts of over 20 hours per day. The opening of Kerem Shalom allowed 23 fuel trucks to enter Gaza today, enabling the area’s power plant to resume normal operations. Nonetheless, he underscored that “the ceasefire is fragile”, adding that the cycles of violence will cease only when a political resolution is found that ends the occupation and allows for realizing a two-State solution.

In the ensuing debate, the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine asked how many more Palestinian children die until someone says: “Enough is enough.” Pointing out that there are two constant features of Israeli policy regardless of who is in power — bombing Gaza and advancing colonial settlements — he stressed that “Israel kills our people because it can”. He pressed the Council, rather than wait for one side to be ready, to instead “drag the two parties to the process of peace, today before tomorrow”.

In turn, Israel’s representative said the debate must focus on the fact that a terrorist organization, attempting to murder Israeli civilians, also killed innocent Palestinian civilians along the way. Palestinian Islamic Jihad deliberately fired 1,100 rockets at Israeli civilians with roughly 200 landing inside the Gaza Strip. “This is not an assessment. This is the hard truth and Israel has all the proof,” he said, pointing to evidence proving that the deaths of children in Gevalia were the result of Palestinian Islamic Jihad rockets.

Egypt’s delegate meanwhile said its efforts to forge the truce were part of its comprehensive push to de-escalate tensions since May 2021. He blamed Israel for allowing settlers, under police protection, to enter the Aqsa Mosque compound, violating the legal and historical status of the holy site. However, reaffirming that Egypt’s efforts — whether mediation or reconstruction — will not change the fact that Israel is fully responsible for Gaza, as it occupies Palestinian territory according to 4 July 1967 lines, he pointed out.

In a similar vein, Jordan’s representative, speaking for the Arab Group, said Israel’s aggression against Gaza caused the violence and reflects the absence of a the basic two-State solution. He reaffirmed the right of Palestinians to extend sovereignty, including over East Jerusalem and its borders with neighbouring countries.

Echoing that, the representative of the United Arab Emirates said that gains made in the gradual opening of Gaza crossings must be maintained, as this has the potential to revive Gaza's fragile economy and respond to humanitarian needs.

On that point, Norway’s delegate said improvements made over the past year in Gaza — including increased work permits, expanded fisheries zones and eased restrictions on trade — must be secured. The international community must do all it can to prevent the situation from getting any worse.

The United States delegate, stressing that Palestinian Islamic Jihad is a designated terrorist organization in her country and other nations, said it is also an Iranian proxy group. Palestinian Islamic Jihad — not Israel — held up agreement on the ceasefire accord, callously prolonging the hostilities. “Their actions must be condemned by all countries in no uncertain terms,” she said.

Others pointed to the need for direct dialogue, including the Russian Federation’s delegate, who stressed that such negotiations — supported by the Quartet on the Middle East — are the only way forward. The United States approach is unconstructive and does nothing to support détente or inspire confidence, especially for Palestinians, who are in the more vulnerable situation.

India’s delegate, as well, emphasized that the absence of direct negotiations has only widened the trust deficit. She pressed the United Nations and the international community at large to prioritize the revival of negotiations towards the two-State solution.

Also speaking today were representatives of France, Ireland, Brazil, Mexico, Ghana, Albania, Gabon, United Kingdom, Kenya and China.

The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 5:06 p.m.

Briefing

TOR WENNESLAND, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said recent days have seen a “deeply worrying” escalation in the Gaza Strip between Israeli military forces and Palestinian armed groups, primarily Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Preliminary numbers, which have yet to be confirmed, indicate that from 5 August, the Israel Defense Forces launched 147 air strikes against targets in Gaza. Palestinian militants launched some 1,100 rockets and mortars into Israel, many of which landed deep inside Israel’s territory. Forty-six Palestinians were killed and 360 injured, while hundreds of residences were damaged or destroyed. In turn, 70 Israelis were injured, with damage to residential and other civilian structures.

Following that, in separate statements, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Prime Minister of Israel announced that a ceasefire had been agreed and would come into effect at 11:30 p.m. local time on 7 August. “The ceasefire remains in place as I speak,” he affirmed, expressing gratitude to Egypt for its crucial role in securing the accord, alongside the United Nations, with support by Qatar, United States, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. “Together, these efforts helped prevent the outbreak of a full-scale war,” and allowed for the delivery of humanitarian relief to Gaza, starting earlier today. Further, the United Nations is in close contact with all parties to solidify the ceasefire and ensure that the significant progress made towards easing restrictions, in place since the escalation last May.

He explained that the most recent escalation has its roots in deeper tensions, which spiked across the West Bank in March and April after four terrorist attacks — the deadliest in years — took place inside Israel. Afterward, Israel increased military operations inside the occupied West Bank, notably in Jenin, focused on Palestinian military groups operating in the area. On 1 August, Israel arrested Bassem as-Saadi, a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, along with his son-in-law. A 17-year-old Palestinian, whom the group claimed as an affiliate, was killed during the operation.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad declared a “state of alert” and raised the level of readiness of its militants, he continued. In response, Israel closed the crossings between Israel and the Gaza strip on 2 August and restricted civilian movement in the so-called “Gaza envelope”. The United Nations, Egypt and others began intensive mediation efforts. On 5 August, Israeli forces carried out air strikes against reported military targets, including a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, who was killed in the attack. Hours later, that group and other militant factions launched 100 indiscriminate rockets from within Gazan civilian neighbourhoods towards Tel Aviv, central Israel and “the Gaza envelope”.

Detailing civilian casualties, he said that from 5 to 7 August, 46 Palestinians were killed, including 20 civilians — 15 children and 4 women. Israel’s official sources stated that the strikes killed 21 operatives, mainly affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The Ministry of Health in Gaza reported 360 Palestinians injured, including at least 151 children. At least 10 houses were destroyed and 48 rendered uninhabitable. According to Gaza authorities, over 600 housing units were damaged, displacing 84 families.

He also reported that 1,100 rockets and mortars were fired by Palestinian armed groups, mainly Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Al Quds Brigades — 20 per cent of which reportedly fell short within the Gaza Strip. Of those that crossed the border, most were intercepted by Israel’s “Iron Dome”, but some caused material damage. “I condemn the indiscriminate launching of rockets from highly populated residential neighbourhoods in Gaza into civilian population centres in Israel,” he said. While recognizing Israel’s legitimate security concerns, he said all use of force must be proportionate.

He went on to stress that the closure of Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings for six days had severe humanitarian consequences Gaza. On 6 August, its only power plant shut down, causing rolling power cuts of over 20 hours per day. The closure of Erez prevented the daily crossing of 50 patients requiring specialized treatment in Israel. He welcomed that the 7 August ceasefire has allowed for the resumption of essential movements of goods and people in and out of Gaza, and that the opening of Kerem Shalom in particular allowed 23 fuel trucks to enter the Gaza Strip today, enabling the Gaza power plant to resume normal operations.

Recalling the “gradual but significant” progress was made following the May 2021 hostilities, he also underscored that “the ceasefire is fragile”. The cycles of violence will cease only once a political resolution is found that ends the occupation and allows for realizing a two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 lines. He called Israeli and Palestinian leaders, along with the international community, to strengthen diplomatic efforts towards this end.

Statements

RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, asked how many more times Israel will get to justify bombing Palestinians in Gaza, how many more years Israel will get to impose its inhumane blockade on 2 million people and how many more Palestinian children must be buried until someone says: “Enough is enough.” Pointing out that there are two constant features of Israeli policy regardless of who is in power — bombing Gaza and advancing colonial settlements — he stressed that “Israel kills our people because it can”. He recalled the deaths of several Palestinian children, asking those present how he could convey these tragedies in such a way that the Council understands that those who need the organ’s support are defenceless Palestinian families, and not the nuclear occupying power.

Thanking Egypt and others for their efforts to end the aggression, he underscored that this situation is “profoundly unsustainable”. Pointing out that the international community and the Council have already determined the outcome to which Palestinians aspire, he stressed that those present “are not bystanders praying for that outcome; you are actors who can decisively affect the outcome”. A political horizon must be implemented — not just talked about — and this should not wait until the next war or the next election. Peace is never reached by waiting and it must be achieved — whatever the price — because the cost of war will always be infinitely higher. He therefore called on the Council, rather than waiting for one side to be ready, to “drag the two parties to the process of peace, today before tomorrow”.

GILAD ERDAN (Israel) said the debate must focus on the facts that a terror organization, attempting to murder Israeli civilians, also murdered innocent Palestinian civilians along the way. Israel defended itself, he said, recalling that Palestinian Islamic Jihad deliberately fired 1,100 rockets at Israeli civilians with roughly 200 landing inside the Gaza strip, killing innocent civilians, including children. “This is not an assessment. This is the hard truth and Israel has all the proof,” he said, adding that his delegation has video footage, radio evidence and mission logs proving that the tragic deaths of children in Gevalia were the result of Palestinian Islamic Jihad rockets.

The enemy that Israel faces is one willing to kill its own children while attempting to murder Israeli civilians and children, he continued, pointing out that Palestinian Islamic Jihad is armed, funded and trained by Iran. Israel carried out its operation, taking precautions hardly ever seen in areas of conflict, and aimed at targeting only Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists and no one else. He also recalled that, 17 years ago to this day, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip, dismantling dozens of Israeli villages and uprooting its citizens. Despite that goodwill, Palestinians chose Hamas over progress and prosperity, he said, adding that Hamas is currently holding two Israelis with special needs hostage. Israel acted only against the terrorists of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, not against the people of Gaza, Hamas or the Palestinian authorities, he stressed.

OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt), recalling his country’s warning that conditions in Gaza could again spiral into violence, pointed out that the latest escalation occurred before Gaza could recover from the last one. Israel allowed settlers, under police protection, to enter the Aqsa Mosque compound, provoking Muslims and violating the legal and historical position of the holy site. Egypt then took the initiative to mediate between Palestinian and Israeli groups in Gaza. Its efforts bore fruit with the entry into force of the ceasefire. He pointed to Egypt’s comprehensive framework of efforts since May 2021 to de-escalate tensions and resume reconstruction in Gaza and called on all parties to abide by the ceasefire. Reaffirming that Egypt’s efforts — whether mediation or reconstruction — will not change the fact that Israel is fully responsible for Gaza, he cited the 4 July 1967 lines and Israel’s blockade on the area.

He also cited violations by Israel in the West Bank, marked by arrests, settlement‑expansion and use of live ammunition. He called for a halt to Israel’s settlement‑expansion and a lifting of the Gaza blockade. Israel must also facilitate the delivery of goods and services into Gaza, he said, more broadly calling for funding for the area’s reconstruction. The legal and historic status of East Jerusalem holy sites under Jordan’s custodianship must be respected, as well. He urged all parties to halt the targeting of civilians, underscoring the responsibility of any party whose actions lead to the death of civilians. The international community is obliged to investigate and transparently review the cycles of violence against civilians. In addition, he called on the International Quartet on the Middle East to revive the peace process, leading to an independent State for Palestinians along 1967 lines.

MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) said all parties must abide by their responsibilities under international law and international humanitarian law, particularly regarding the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure. They must exercise maximum restraint, he added, underscoring that parties to the conflict must have a genuine will to satisfy both peoples’ desire for peace. Progress made towards the gradual opening of Gaza crossings must be maintained, he said, noting that those measures have the potential to contribute to the revival of Gaza's fragile economy and respond to the humanitarian needs of the population. He condemned the storming of the courtyards of the blessed Aqsa Mosque compound by groups of extremists and underscored the importance of preserving the existing historical and legal status of the holy places in the city of Jerusalem, and respecting the Jordanian custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites. As lasting peace in the region requires a resolution to the Palestinian issue on the basis of the two-State solution, it is necessary to resume international efforts to find a just, comprehensive and peaceful solution in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions.

NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL (France) expressed concern over the recent escalation, which resulted in many Palestinian civilian victims. All parties have an obligation to protect civilians and to respect international humanitarian law. Welcoming the 7 August ceasefire, she thanked Egypt for its active mediating role and stressed that everything must be done to avoid new escalation. There can be no lasting stability in Gaza without the return of the Palestinian Authority, the lifting of the blockade and credible security guarantees for Israel. While episodes like this are increasing in number, she emphasized that both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live in peace, dignity and security. Noting that tensions will repeat unless a political horizon is established, she called on all parties to respect the ceasefire and end the cycle of violence.

ODD INGE KVALHEIM (Norway) welcomed the ceasefire, the announcement that border crossings into Gaza have been reopened and the restarting of the Gaza power plant. Noting the fragility of the humanitarian situation in Gaza — dire even before this recent escalation — he said that recent violence may undermine efforts to develop Gaza and stressed that the international community must do all it can to prevent the situation from getting any worse. Improvements made over the past year in Gaza — including increased work permits, expanded fisheries zones and eased restrictions on trade — must be secured. He went on to call on Israel to contain the drivers of conflict stemming from the occupation, also underscoring the need to avoid increasing tensions in Jerusalem. Radical elements must not be allowed to escalate the situation around holy sites, and the historic status quo must be upheld. Adding that failure to address tensions risks new violence, he urged the parties to return to negotiating an end to the conflict.

CÁIT MORAN (Ireland), welcoming the ceasefire announced on 7 August, called on all parties to ensure that it remains in force. The impact of Israeli strikes on civilians in the Gaza Strip is unacceptable, as are attacks against Israeli citizens. Noting that the slow progress made in opening Gaza since the end of the May 2021 escalation risks being undone, she stressed that Israel — as the occupying Power — is duty-bound to ensure unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance. There is an urgent need to ensure an adequate supply of fuel, power and medical supplies, and it is vital that patients can leave Gaza for medical care. She also emphasized that, without addressing the root causes of conflict, further violence is inevitable, and the threat of extremism will remain. “This ceasefire must not become a pause between cycles of violence,” she stressed, calling for genuine efforts to revive a political engagement between the parties. Ireland “will continue to be forthright in expressing concerns” over Israel’s actions and policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, she added.

JOAO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) said the ceasefire must ultimately be accompanied by an easing of tensions throughout the Palestinian territories and in Israel. All provocations and incitement to hatred and violence must stop, he stressed, condemning all attacks against civilians. While challenges in Gaza require political solutions, economic growth also remains vital to give hope to the Palestinian people. Intra-Palestinian reconciliation is also a crucial step towards stabilization and resumption of a genuine dialogue within the framework of the peace process. Moreover, the safety and security of religious sites is an essential component of freedom of religion or belief and should be preserved at all costs. The mere management of the conflict in perpetuity is not a viable option, he stressed, noting that his country will continue its efforts to contribute to Council action and to finding solutions. The Council must now engage in supporting the efforts to relaunch the political process and to address urgent questions, including the issue of detainees, he said, expressing his country’s resolute support for a two-State solution.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) called on all parties to implement the ceasefire, including through the consistent delivery of fuel shipments to Gaza. Civilian casualties should be “swiftly and thoroughly” investigated, she said, recalling that Israel was originally blamed for an attack on Jabalia refugee camp, which now appears to have been caused by a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket. She expressed full support for Israel’s right to defend its people against terrorist threats, including rocket fire aimed at or without regard for civilians. The United States will remain engaged with Israeli and Palestinian officials to implement new initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life. Stressing that Palestinian Islamic Jihad is a designated terrorist group in the United States and other nations, she said it is also an Iran proxy group. It was “telling” that its leaders were in Tehran, while the people they claimed to be protecting were left in harm’s way, she noted, adding that Palestinian Islamic Jihad — not Israel — held up the ceasefire accord, callously prolonging the hostilities. “Their actions must be condemned by all countries in no uncertain terms,” she said, pointing out that none should be expected to passively accept such brazen attacks on its civilians. The United States is deeply committed to a two-State solution. To that end, she strongly urged all parties to refrain from unilateral steps that would imperil progress, but, instead, support steps to stabilize ground conditions, deliver economic benefits for Palestinians and work to revitalize political horizons that meet the aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.

JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE (Mexico) said the Council’s calls for the parties to show maximum restraint and act in line with international humanitarian law are not enough, particularly when principles of precaution, proportionality and distinction are being ignored. He condemned disproportionate actions by the Israeli Defense Forces, as well as the firing of rockets by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which led to the loss of civilian lives and he called for an exhaustive and independent investigation into the attacks that led to civilian victims. The new escalation of violence underscores that, until a lasting peace is achieved, violence will continue. Israel must lift the blockade on Gaza and put an end to that collective punishment. Also needed is free and unhindered access for urgent humanitarian assistance and support for the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), he said.

HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), expressing dismay that violence is eroding the vision of a two-State solution, said that, until Israel and Palestine understand that neither of their narratives is a complete picture of reality, the conflict could persist “at great cost to all of us” for many years. He expressed hope that both sides can adjust their positions and return to the negotiating table. Ghana does not accept pre-emptive use of force under any circumstances. While acknowledging Israel’s right to equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity and dignity, he voiced deep concern over violence in Gaza, following escalatory attacks in the West Bank. He condemned “in no uncertain terms” the death of 40 Palestinians, as well as the more than 1,100 rockets fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad into Israel. “Non-violence is a principle that we expect the Palestinian authorities to impress over all militant groups,” he remarked, underscoring the need to fully respect the ceasefire and calling on Israel to offer “real” guarantees of safe passage and access to relief workers. For its part, the Council must reinvigorate the tracks of engagement for the Middle East peace process without delay.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) expressed concern over recent violence, which could lead to a resumption of full-fledged military confrontation. He called on all involved to show restraint, uphold the norms of international humanitarian law and avoid new escalation. While this latest deterioration was caused by a host of factors, chief among them is the absence of a direct negotiating process between Palestinians and Israelis. He supported comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in accordance with the two-State principle and stressed that direct dialogue — supported by the Middle East Quartet (United Nations, United States, European Union, Russian Federation) — is the only mechanism that should accompany the peace process. He added that the United States’ approach in this area, however, is unconstructive, does nothing to support détente and cannot serve as a source of confidence for the parties — especially the Palestinians, who are in the more vulnerable situation.

FERIT HOXHA (Albania), commending Egypt’s efforts as a “step in the right direction to end the bloodshed”, firmly condemned all terrorist attacks against Israel and its population. Indiscriminate rocket launches from Gaza into Israel will not render a solution, he emphasized, stressing that those who believe in violence have only themselves to blame. Israel has the right to protect itself from such attacks, but it must use proportionate force, as the protection of civilians is enshrined in international law. Deeply troubled by the death of children, who must never be a target, he reiterated the call to end all provocations and use of unnecessary force. Violence will only instil more fear and undo achievements, including those created by the opening of Gaza since May 2021. There has been enough war. There is no alternative to dialogue, nor any possible path to peace other than the two-State solution with Israel and an independent, democratic and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem as a shared capital. He also voiced hope that the humanitarian channels into Gaza will remain open.

RUCHIRA KAMBOJ (India), noting that the latest violence has resulted in the loss of civilian lives, including children, voiced support for efforts by the United Nations, and especially Egypt, that led to a ceasefire. She urged all sides to de-escalate the situation to ensure it does not spiral out of control. The delivery of humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza must remain the focus of the international community. She also underscored the urgent need to resume dialogue between Israel and Palestine towards a two-State solution, as the absence of direct negotiations will only widen the trust deficit. Long‑term peace can be achieved only through a negotiated two-State solution leading to a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine living in safe and secure borders alongside Israel, while also taking into consideration Israel’s security needs. India has consistently called for realizing this vision, she said, pressing the United Nations and the international community to prioritize the revival of these negotiations.

MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon), emphasizing that the logic of clashes is synonymous with instability and insecurity for all parties, welcomed the ceasefire and called on all parties to show restraint. Gabon supports a two-State solution, and abuse of civilians is unacceptable. He also called for independent inquiries to hold those responsible for violence on both sides to account; on the Council to uphold international law and protect the rights of the Palestinian people while also ensuring Israeli security; and on all parties to resume negotiations to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and bring about genuine, lasting peace.

JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) urged all parties to ensure that the ceasefire in Gaza is durable and prevents further violence. Condemning the firing of over 1,100 rockets at civilians by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, he said that his country stands by Israel and its right to defend itself in the face of such terrorism and violence. He also expressed condolences to the families of innocent Palestinian civilians killed over the past three days, supporting a timely, thorough investigation into these reports. Further, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is concerning — including lack of access and damage to civilian infrastructure — and he welcomed Israel’s announcement that it is allowing humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. Immediate access for humanitarian relief is essential, and he called for the ceasefire arrangement to allow for prompt restoration of movement and access for people and goods via the Erez and Kerem Shalom border crossings.

MICHAEL KAPKIAI KIBOINO (Kenya) condemned all violence, notably the indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza into Israel by Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants and Israel’s disproportionate use of force, resulting in the death of civilians, including children. He voiced grave concern over the hostilities, compounded by already dire humanitarian conditions, which, if not urgently contained, will reverse progress towards peace. He underscored the need for all parties to urgently allow unimpeded access for humanitarian personnel and essential goods, such as medical supplies, food and fuel into Gaza. He encouraged all sides to adhere to the ceasefire, exercise restraint and refrain from provocative acts.

ZHANG JUN (China), Council President for August, speaking in his national capacity, underlined that the Council is duty bound to prevent further escalation. The key to a ceasefire lies in implementation, he said, adding that relevant diplomatic efforts should continue. Parties with influence must urge parties to the conflict to earnestly observe the ceasefire and exercise restraint so that calm can be restored in Gaza as soon as possible. Condemning indiscriminate attacks on civilians and the disproportionate use of force, he stressed that the protection of civilians and civilian facilities is an international obligation that must be fulfilled. The security of Israel and Palestine is inseparable. The international community must pay equal attention to the legitimate concerns of both sides and break the cycle of violence. Spotlighting the destruction of houses and infrastructure and disruption of the power supply in the Gaza Strip, he said the international community must speed up its humanitarian response and increase support for the recovery and reconstruction of Gaza. He also called for the immediate lifting of the blockade in Gaza and for an end to the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.

MAHMOUD DAIFALLAH HMOUD (Jordan), speaking for the Arab Group, welcomed the truce that halted Israel’s aggression against Gaza, citing Egypt’s pivotal role in instilling stability, along with Qatar and the United States. He commended Jordan’s continuous efforts to protect the legal and historical status of Islamic and Christian sites, and in addressing Israel’s actions that affect the identities of those sites. Israel’s aggression against Gaza, which caused the violence, reflects the absence of the basic two-State solution. He described the targeting of Palestinian children, homes and civilian infrastructure as “deplorable” and called on the international community to end Israel’s contempt for international humanitarian law and to investigate all violations against civilians. Peace will not be achieved through aggression against Gaza. It can only be achieved through serious negotiations on the basis of a two-State solution which would see an independent geographically contiguous State of Palestine along 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Noting that Israel is obliged to protect Palestinians, he condemned Israel’s violations against the Aqsa Mosque compound, which is an exclusively Muslim place of worship. Jordan is exclusively in charge of its supervision. He called for viewing peace as a strategic option and settling the conflict according to international law, including Council resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973) and 2334 (2016), as well as the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. He reaffirmed the right of Palestinians to extend sovereignty, including over East Jerusalem and its borders with neighbouring countries, pressing the Council to guarantee full respect for the ceasefire.

For information media. Not an official record.