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Calls for Unity, Ceasefire, and Humanitarian Action at UN Security Council

Photo Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

By: ATN News

**Report on the Security Council Meeting: Calls for Sustained Ceasefire and Two-State Solution Persist Amidst Ongoing Israel-Gaza Conflict** Nov 29th, 2023

UNHQ: Fifty-three days into the Israel-Gaza conflict, the international community convened in a ministerial-level meeting at the United Nations Security Council, coinciding with the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The primary focus was on urging the current humanitarian pause to evolve into a lasting ceasefire and advocating renewed efforts towards a two-State solution in the Middle East.

António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, began by recalling the Council's recent resolution (2712/2023), issued on November 15. This resolution mandated all involved parties to adhere to their international legal obligations, particularly concerning the safeguarding of civilians, especially children. Guterres expressed deep concern over the disproportionately high number of children killed by Israeli military operations in Gaza within a short span, surpassing the annual toll in any conflict. Notably, he highlighted the unprecedented loss of 111 UN personnel in Gaza, making it the Organization's gravest personnel loss. Stressing the urgency, Guterres outlined the critical needs of Gaza, emphasizing the necessity for a true humanitarian ceasefire and reiterating the importance of a two-State solution.

Tor Wennesland, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, underscored the imperative of a political and security framework to bring an end to hostilities between Israel and Hamas. He welcomed recent agreements, including the release of Israeli hostages and the temporary cessation of hostilities, describing it as long overdue respite from weeks of horror. Wennesland also drew attention to heightened tensions in the occupied West Bank, citing ongoing settler violence and the economic ramifications of Israel's decision to deduct funds earmarked for Gaza from the Palestinian Authority's clearance revenues.

Riyad Al-Maliki, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine, accused the Prime Minister of Israel of obstructing Palestinian statehood for political survival. Emphasizing that accountability cannot come from a government aligned with West Bank settlers' interests, Al-Maliki stressed the need for the current truce to evolve into a sustainable ceasefire.

Gilad Menashe Erdan Israel's permanent representative acknowleded the historical context of the General Assembly's partition of Palestine 76 years ago, deemed it paradoxical to call for both a ceasefire and peace. The delegate asserted that every ceasefire call allows Hamas to persist, linking the leadership of Hamas, the Houthis in Yemen, and the Ayatollahs in Iran under a shared goal of Israel's annihilation. Contrarily, the delegate contended that while Israel strives for peace, the Palestinians pursue war.

Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, questioned the absence of a peace agreement accepted by both parties. He outlined recent diplomatic efforts by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States, highlighting the release of hostages in Gaza and Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons.

Egypt's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sameh Hassan Shoukry Selim, emphasized that events in Gaza mirror those in the West Bank. Rejecting plans to relocate Palestinians from their land, he asserted that addressing the conflict's root causes and ending the Israeli occupation are essential to preventing further cycles of violence.

Hakan Fidan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Türkiye, warned of renewed global radicalism if the underlying issues were not resolved. Advocating for a peace process based on a two-State solution, he presented Türkiye's proposal for a guarantorship mechanism to prevent breaches by either party.

Several delegates, including Wang Yi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China and Council President for November, stressed the importance of seizing the moment to achieve a comprehensive ceasefire. Yi highlighted the value of dialogue demonstrated by the current pause in Gaza, urging it to be the starting point for sustained diplomatic efforts.

The United States' representative envisioned a two-State solution, emphasizing the reunification of Gaza and the West Bank under a single governance structure led by a revitalized Palestinian Authority. She argued that leaving Hamas in control of Gaza would deny Palestinian civilians the opportunity to build a better future. The meeting concluded with a shared sentiment among delegates for immediate action towards a lasting ceasefire and renewed commitment to the pursuit of a two-State solution in the Middle East.


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