United Nations Security Council VTC Open Debate – The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Statement of Aotearoa New Zealand

Mr President,

Aotearoa New Zealand welcomes the opportunity for the Security Council to focus on this important matter. We urge the Council to find a way to bring about an immediate ceasefire, to protect those who are in danger, and give hope to those who currently have none.

We are gravely concerned at the escalation of violence in Israel, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Gaza and are appalled by the growing civilian death toll and the large number of casualties, including children, caused by Israeli airstrikes and rocket attacks by Hamas. The reported number of civilian deaths in Gaza is especially distressing.

As a nation, we reiterate the need to ensure the protection of civilians including journalists and refugees, and join others in condemning the destruction of homes and damage to vital infrastructure, including electricity networks and water installations, particularly in Gaza. International law, including international humanitarian law must be respected by both sides.

The escalating violence and provocations of recent days have made it clear that without the concerted support and commitment of the international community, the hostilities will persist and intensify.

It is concerning that reported offers of a ceasefire may have been rejected in favour of continued violence and hostility.

The violence that has taken place cannot be excused. There can be no military solution.

All sides have a responsibility to de-escalate, stop the violence and prevent further suffering and loss of life.

We call on the Council to take urgent action to help end the violence and bring about a lasting ceasefire, and stand ready to assist in any constructive way we can to support these efforts.

Mr President, this latest cycle of violence occurs amidst a steady erosion of the viability of a two-state solution. The Council has a duty to act to preserve the two-state solution and advance the Middle East Peace Process.

That is why we took forward Resolution 2334 during our term on the Council in 2016, which condemned Israeli settlements as a flagrant violation of international law and reinforced the international community’s commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Aotearoa New Zealand remains steadfast in its belief that the seemingly intractable Israeli-Palestinian Conflict can be resolved, and that the two-state solution is the only basis to achieve sustainable peace.

Mr President, the Council is today considering a situation that is teetering on the brink of a full-scale war. The actions of the Council now and in the coming days will, quite simply, be the difference between life or death for many Israelis and Palestinians.

Thank you.


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