The United Nations Security Council convened on October 24, 2023, at the UN Headquarters in New York to address the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. This quarterly open debate was given greater urgency due to the escalating situation, marked by Hamas attacks on October 7 and a deepening humanitarian crisis resulting from Israeli bombardments in the Gaza Strip.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres set the tone for the meeting by declaring that the situation “is growing more dire by the hour.” He reiterated his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and emphasized the paramount importance of protecting civilians. The meeting brought together representatives from various countries who shared their views, concerns, and proposed solutions to address the crisis.
Syria: Syria’s Representative, Al Haka Dindi, strongly criticized Israel for its actions, calling it a “criminal and bloody campaign beyond comprehension and imagination.” He emphasized the role of certain Western states in enabling Israel’s actions and pointed out the need to recognize the legitimate right of Palestinians to an independent state.
Qatar: Qatar’s Ambassador, Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, expressed concern over Israeli policies that threatened the historic status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem. She reiterated Qatar’s efforts to mediate and promote peaceful dialogue. Qatar’s support for civilians in Gaza was framed as a humanitarian and moral obligation.
Lebanon: Lebanon’s Representative denounced the systemic killing of a population that has been living in an open-air prison for more than half a century. He criticized the disregard for UN resolutions by Israeli occupying forces and highlighted the Arab States’ acceptance of peace through a Saudi initiative.
Iran: Iran’s Ambassador, Amir Saied Iravani, criticized the United States for its support of Israel, claiming that this support made the US complicit in the suffering of Palestinian people. He emphasized the need for clarity regarding the right to self-defense and international law.
Libya: Libya’s Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eltaher Salem Elbaour, condemned Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip and challenged nations that voiced support for such actions. He stressed the importance of international law and the need to prevent further double standards in addressing the crisis.
Indonesia: Indonesia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, called on the Security Council to act with humanity, emphasizing that Palestinians deserve equal rights and treatment. She urged a focus on peace and stability.
Germany: Germany’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Annalena Baerbock, highlighted the importance of Israel’s security while addressing the plight of Palestinians. She emphasized the need for a two-state solution, and her comments were rooted in the historical context of the Holocaust.
Egypt: Egypt’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, lamented the ongoing violence and emphasized the need to protect civilians. He criticized those justifying Israeli actions and stressed that silence in such cases is equivalent to approving these actions.
China: China’s Ambassador, Zhang Jun, called for an immediate ceasefire and urged the Council to express this unequivocally. He stressed that international law must be upheld and called for the lifting of the Gaza siege.
Russia: Russia’s Ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, highlighted the unprecedented violence, leading to catastrophic casualties on both sides, and criticized the US for its positions that, he argued, had contributed to the crisis. He reiterated Russia’s stance on the need for a two-state solution.
United Kingdom: The UK’s Minister for Security, Tom Tugendhat, expressed support for Israel’s right to self-defense while recognizing the suffering of Palestinians. He urged the prevention of the conflict from spreading beyond Gaza.
France: France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, called for the Council to condemn Hamas’ attack in Israel and emphasized the need to protect all civilians. She stressed the importance of delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza.
United States: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized the importance of protecting civilians and highlighted that Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself. He also underscored that Palestinian civilians should not be blamed for the actions of Hamas.
Brazil: Brazil’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mauro Vieira, underlined Israel’s legal and moral obligation to protect the population of Gaza. He criticized the insufficiency of aid deliveries and stressed the need to respect international humanitarian law.
Israel: Israel’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Eli Cohen, referred to the hostage situation as a “living nightmare.” He described the October 7 attack as a brutal massacre and called for the unconditional release of hostages, with potential mediation by Qatar.
State of Palestine: Riyad al-Maliki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine, urged the Security Council and the international community to save lives. He stressed that more injustice and killing will not make Israel safer and emphasized the importance of a two-state solution.
The meeting concluded with the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lynn Hastings, highlighting the need for a diplomatic resolution, ceasefire, and humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of civilians. The international community has a responsibility to protect civilians and uphold international law in the midst of this ongoing crisis.
The Security Council meeting underscored the critical nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the urgent need for international cooperation to address the situation, protect civilians, and seek a peaceful resolution. The world watches, hoping for an end to the violence and a path toward peace and stability in the region.