Statement at UNSC briefing on the Middle East, Incl. the Palestinian Question
Statement08 August 2022
Thank you very much Mr President and thank you for convening this meeting at the request of a number of council members, including Ireland. Thank you, Tor, very much, for your briefing and your continued efforts.
Ireland welcomes the ceasefire announced on the evening of 7 August and we call on all parties to ensure that it remains in force. We thank Egypt for its efforts in brokering the ceasefire, along with the UN, Jordan, Qatar, and others in the region.
We share deep concern at the violence in recent days.
The impact of Israeli strikes on civilians in the Gaza Strip is unacceptable. Forty-five Palestinian lives were lost, including fourteen children. The impact on children, in an already difficult humanitarian situation, is especially worrying. Ireland extends condolences to the families of the victims and expresses solidarity with the injured.
Ireland condemns the launching of rockets from Gaza. Attacks – and the threat of attacks – against Israeli citizens are unacceptable.
The protection of all civilians, across the occupied Palestinian territory (in Gaza, in the West Bank) and in Israel, is of paramount importance and is required under international law. Under International Humanitarian Law, indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian objects are prohibited, and constant care must be taken to spare them. Accountability must be ensured for all attacks against civilians.
As you point out Tor, the slow progress made in gradually opening Gaza since the end of the May 2021 escalation risks being undone, leading to even greater humanitarian needs when global resources are so stretched. Israel, as the occupying power, is duty bound to ensure unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance.
There is an urgent need is to ensure adequate supply of fuel, power and medical supplies.
It is also vital that patients can leave Gaza for medical care.
Civilians in the Gaza Strip are bearing the brunt of the military escalation, especially the children of Gaza, many of whom have endured four bombardments in their short lives. 800,000 children out of 1 million in Gaza are in need of psycho-social support and care.
It is incumbent on all parties, including those at this Council, to restore hope for a meaningful peace process that addresses the needs of all Palestinians and Israelis, including those of women.
We fully support your ongoing efforts Tor and we share your assessment of the situation.
Yet again, we have witnessed a repeated cycle of violence, following two major military escalations in 15 months.
These events have not happened in isolation – they are just the latest cycle in a long and brutal conflict. The cycle of reducing tensions when violence boils over is not enough. Proactive, firm and direct engagement is required, by the parties, and by the international community. Ireland emphasises that without addressing the root causes of the conflict that will bring an end to 15 years of a Gaza blockade and 55 years of occupation in the oPt, further violence is inevitable and the threat of extremism will remain.
This ceasefire must not become a pause between cycles of violence. What is needed is genuine efforts to revive a political engagement between the parties. There can be no military solution to a political conflict.
Ireland will continue to be forthright in expressing concerns regarding the actions and policies of Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory.
And in conclusion, Mr President, let me reiterate that Ireland stands ready to support all efforts to help resume credible negotiations aimed at achieving a just and lasting two-state solution based on international law, relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and agreed parameters.