THE UNITED NATIONS - Work harder to end the war in Gaza and recognize the State of Palestine were the messages once more from many countries on Wednesday, taking part in the two-day Security Council debate over the Middle East crisis.
More than 70 delegates voiced serious concerns about the ongoing humanitarian “catastrophe” as the conflict in Gaza approaches its fourth month.
Council members alongside the wider UN membership on Tuesday established the major theme of the debate: urging Israel to accept a two-State solution or risk a perpetual war which is an increasing threat global stability.
The Palestinian people’s right to build their own fully independent State must be “recognized by all”, and any refusal to accept the two-State solution by any party must be “firmly rejected”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at the outset of that meeting.
“The two-State solution is the only way to address the legitimate aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians,” he told the Council.
Some of Tuesday’s speakers called for the Council to overcome its veto-led impasse and stop the bloodshed and “humanitarian disaster” in Gaza.
The 15-member organ tasked with ensuring international peace and security must also hold Israel more accountable for an ongoing “genocide” against Palestinians, some speakers insisted.
Stop the genocide: OIC
Mauritania’s Ambassador Sidi Mohamed Laghaf, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said the deliberate killing of civilians was indicative of the intent to commit genocide. Raising a range of concerns, he pointed to the mass destruction of civilian infrastructure such as hospitals and rejected any efforts to forcibly displace Palestinians, which in itself “amounts to a war crime”.
Israel’s denial of essential supplies is already exacerbating a humanitarian catastrophe, and a swift intervention is needed, he said. Indeed, the international community must immediately put an end of all these crimes and hold perpetrators accountable, including for the mass detention of Palestinians, in line with international humanitarian law.
“The Council must do more to enforce its own resolutions, prevent further crimes of aggressions and acts that amount to genocide and ensure Israeli respect for and compliance with international law,” he said, calling for action to end the war, provide international protection of Palestinians and ensure the creation of a humanitarian corridor.
The only way forward is through a two-State solution, he stated.
There is a need for ‘real diplomacy’: Brazil
Brazilian Ambassador Sérgio França Danese underlined the need “for real diplomacy and true political will” that enables effective multilateral action to end the conflict and forge a path to revive the two-State solution.
“Now, we are witnessing the cruellest war, one that seriously threatens the prospect of a peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians,” he said, calling for “an immediate ceasefire in Gaza before there is nothing left to be saved”.
What is urgently needed are the provisional measures requested by South Africa to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), with the aim of preventing the risk of genocide by requiring the immediate ceasefire, but that does not tackle the root causes of the conflict, he said.
Help end the war now: Iraq
Deputy Permanent Representative of Iraq, Abbas Kadhom Obaid Al-Fatlawi, said the siege and collective punishment of Palestinians continues, and the Council has failed to act, leading to a “humanitarian disaster”.
Israel has been ignoring calls for a ceasefire, even though UN Member States have adopted two resolutions at Emergency Special Sessions to stop the aggression.
The latest developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory will have serious consequences in the region, he continued, warning that the conflict will spread beyond the borders if ongoing practices persist and the Council fails to shoulder its responsibilities.
“Expanding the conflict will not provide a solution,” he said. “The solution lies in the Security Council adopting a resolution to stop this war.”
Syria rejects bid to make ‘executioners into victims’
Recalling the devastation in Gaza, Syria’s Ambassador, Alhakam Dandy, said Israel is using prohibited weapons, including phosphorous, and is committing crimes against humanity and crimes of genocide.
Some countries are attempting to legitimize Israel’s actions, "making executioners into victims" in the name of self defence.
Israel must be held accountable, he said, calling on the Council to adopt effective and immediate measures to end Israeli attacks and to halt impunity.
Expressing support for South Africa’s related case at the ICJ, where provisional measures are expected to be made public this Friday, he said heinous violations also have been perpetrated against Syria.
Expanding settlements and the plunder of natural resources in the occupied Golan are part of hostile policies that, among other things, target residential areas in Damascus and other parts of Syria, he said.
Ending the war hinges on the two-State solution: Ireland
Condemning the 7 October attacks against Israel, Ireland’s Ambassador Fergal Mythen, reiterated a call for the release of hostages. At the same time, Israel must limit its action in Gaza, in line with international humanitarian laws requiring military operations to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, he said.
Ending the war hinges on a two-State solution, and Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu’s rejection of this vision is not acceptable, he continued.
Emphasizing that the Security Council has reaffirmed its commitment to the two-State solution in its relevant resolutions, he said “today, the achievement of this vision is more pressing than ever.”
Rejection of two-State solution by Israeli leadership 'unacceptable', says Guterres
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DEBATE
• Israel’s “clear and repeated rejection” of the two-State solution “is unacceptable”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres opening the debate on Tuesday, adding that “this refusal, and the denial of the right to statehood to the Palestinian people, would indefinitely prolong a conflict that has become a major threat to global peace and security.”
• Council members roundly called for the two-State solution to be realized and for an end to the war, with many calling for an immediate ceasefire to end the suffering of Palestinians and allow the aid they urgently need to be delivered unhindered
• Many speakers from the wider UN membership echoed those calls
• “Stop this massacre,” said the Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan
• “We are running out of time. There are two choices: a spreading fire or a ceasefire,” said the Foreign Affairs Minister for the Observer State of Palestine
• Israel’s Ambassador said if the Council continues to provide necessary aid to Gaza, without considering the Iranian threat across the region, the world faces “a very dark future”