Delivered By: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Permanent Representative and Chair of the Arab Group for May

Mr. President,

I would like to deliver this statement on behalf of the Arab Group, and thank the Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his briefing, which highlighted the catastrophic conditions caused by Israel’s war against the Gaza Strip.

The attacks on the camps of the displaced people in Rafah since the beginning of this week are unspeakable and require explicit condemnation from the entire international community. The heinous massacre committed by the Israeli occupation forces last Sunday against hundreds of civilians while they were sleeping in their tents, in addition to the Al-Mawasi massacre yesterday, are merely the latest episodes in the series of systematic war crimes against the Palestinian people.

Mr. President,

There are no words to describe the horror of children killed by fires, or  phrases that can express the shock of a mother holding the remains of her burned infant. No language can describe the cries of pain of a crippled old man taking his last breath amid burning tents.

These bloody attacks came less than two days after the International Court of Justice issued new provisional measures demanding Israel to immediately stop its military operations in Rafah. This came after more than nine hundred thousand Palestinians were displaced during the past two weeks, or more than 60% of the displaced people in Rafah, due to Israel’s escalation of its aggression against the governorate of Rafah, forcing many of them to flee again, seeking a safe place from this Israeli war.

However, after nearly eight months of bombing, killing, abuse and displacement, there is no longer a safe or livable place in Gaza. Every area that was called a safe zone has been targeted, and everything that is considered protected under international humanitarian law has been violated.

The tragedy of repeated displacement is just one aspect of the suffering endured by these displaced people. They suffer from a total absence of water, food, and sanitary materials, especially when Israel closed the Rafah crossing and banned humanitarian aid from entering. All this happens while the Gaza Strip is suffering from famine.

Israel has persistently and deliberately crossed all red lines and is blatantly  and unequivocally defying international law and the resolutions of this Council. Additionally, Israel has for the third time ignored the provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice.

The eyes of the world today are not only directed at Rafah, but also at this body responsible for maintaining international peace and security. This level of criminal acts requires a firm and clear response from the Security Council.

When the United Nations was founded on the ruins of two devastating World Wars, Member States vowed to save future generations from the scourge of war. Your esteemed Council bears the primary responsibility to fulfill this pledge.

Where are the people of Gaza  in this pledge? What is happening in the Gaza Strip undoubtedly shows the true face of war and the atrocities it inflicts on innocent people.

The Arab Group calls on this Council to positively and constructively engage in the negotiations related to the draft resolution put forward by the State of Algeria yesterday. The draft resolution aims to stop the Israeli military attack on Rafah and demands an immediate ceasefire. In this regard, we stress the importance of adopting this resolution as the Security Council has been very late in taking such an urgent step.

Ending this war, which has been described by the United Nations as war against children, has become an urgent demand.  During this war, we have seen repeated massacres targeting hospitals, aid distribution points, children, and other innocent people.

We have also seen Israel kill humanitarian, medical and media personnel, along with the elderly, women, and children. Additionally, Israeli bombings have targeted health centers, schools, camps, bakeries, mosques, churches, universities, and United Nations facilities.

We note here that targeting civilians constitutes a war crime and  perpetrators must be held accountable before the law.

The double standards have become as clear as the sun, and the repercussions will not only destabilize our region, but the entire world.

Therefore, the Arab Group stresses the importance of uniform and equal implementation of international law and international humanitarian law, without any exception. Implementation of Security Council resolutions should not be selective or based on double standards.

Israel, like any other State, is required to respect its obligations under international legal frameworks, and to stop its illegal actions against the Palestinians.  

This must include the West Bank, where tensions are rising to dangerous levels due to the accelerated pace of building settlements, land confiscation, and almost daily raids on Palestinian cities and camps. Not to mention the ongoing raids by Israeli extremists against the Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli occupation police, and prohibiting the worshipers from entering the mosque.  This constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and the existing historical and legal status of Jerusalem and the sanctities.

 The oppression imposed on the Palestinians has no limits, and it can blow-up the situation in the region to uncontrollable levels at any moment.

In conclusion, the Arab Group renews its demand for this Council to take firm steps to end the war on Gaza, and to ensure immediate and unobstructed entry of humanitarian aid to save who can be saved.

The Group also stresses the need to take immediate action before it is too late. In this context, we appreciate the vigorous efforts of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Qatar to reach a ceasefire agreement and alleviate the suffering in Gaza.

This dangerous juncture in the history of this conflict makes it imperative for the Security Council and the international community to make all possible efforts to save the two-state solution, end the occupation, stop the violence, establish security and stability in the region, and achieve an independent Palestinian State based on the 1967 borders, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, international law, and the United Nations Charter.

Achieving just and lasting peace also requires strong support for the full membership of the State of Palestine in the United Nations, and recognition of the State of Palestine. Many countries have recently recognized the Palestinian State and we highly value their support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

Thank you, Mr. President.