Francis urges for an extended, sustainable ceasefire for humanitarian purposes in Gaza.
Dennis Francis called on UN Member States to come together, have open and honest discussions, and strengthen their determination to resolve the crisis during his speech at the Assembly’s yearly discussion on the Question of Palestine.
He stated that the longer negative emotions like fear, distrust, desire for revenge, hatred, and anxiety are allowed to linger and intensify, the more dangerous the division between people will become and the more negative impact it will have on future generations.
According to Mr. Francis, lasting peace in the Middle East is impossible to achieve without fairness, permanence, and inclusivity.
According to him, the most effective solution for ending the never-ending cycle of conflict, violence, and shared misery is through a two-State proposal that aligns with resolutions from the General Assembly.
The temporary pause in fighting in Gaza was praised by President Francis as a “significant step towards hope.” However, he also stated that it was not sufficient.
He restated his plea for a more extended humanitarian pause in fighting, allowing essential supplies like food, water, and medical assistance to be delivered to the people in Gaza and other impacted regions. He also called for the fair and timely treatment of all individuals taken hostage, with no conditions attached to their release.
He emphasized the importance of keeping humanitarian aid routes open and safe, and allowing them to reach Gaza and impacted regions.
Mr. Francis condemned the widespread destruction of schools operated by UNRWA, which are currently providing refuge for over one million internally displaced individuals in Palestine.
He stated that it is unacceptable for schools to be violated during the war and used for purposes other than education. He emphasized the importance of prioritizing the safety of civilians.
To summarize, he encouraged countries to “rediscover our path towards rebuilding trust.”
He stressed the importance of believing in the values of fairness outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, and global laws.
He stated that he trusts parents and relatives from both sides of the conflict, as well as those in the Middle East, to be able to ensure their children’s safety every night.
Honoring the Previous President of the Assembly
At the beginning of the meeting, the General Assembly held a moment of quiet reflection in honor of Samuel Rudolph Insanally, who served as the President during the 48th session (1993-94).
Mr. Insanally, a long-time diplomat from Guyana, previously held positions as the country’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN during the 1980s. From 2001-2008, he also served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He passed away on Sunday at the age of 87.
Guterres once again urges for a solution of two independent states.
In anticipation of Wednesday’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated the need for a lasting humanitarian pause, unimpeded delivery of lifesaving assistance, liberation of all captives, safeguarding of civilians, and cessation of breaches of international humanitarian norms.
The leader of the United Nations emphasized the importance of taking decisive and irreversible steps towards a two-state resolution. He stated that this should be in accordance with UN resolutions and international law, allowing for Israel and Palestine to coexist peacefully and securely with Jerusalem as the capital for both nations.
“The United Nations reaffirms its unwavering dedication to the Palestinian population. Let us unite in support of their pursuit for fundamental rights and a future characterized by peace, fairness, safety, and respect for all,” stated the speaker.
The leader of the United Nations also offered his sympathies to the families who are grieving the loss of their loved ones in the area.
He stated that he has strongly denounced the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas on October 7th. However, he also emphasized that these attacks do not give reason for punishing the entire Palestinian population.
He expressed his appreciation for UNRWA and its staff, urging the global community to back the organization.
The International Day
The International Day is celebrated annually on or near November 29th, as per Assembly resolutions 32/40 B, 34/65 D, and other subsequent resolutions passed by the General Assembly under their agenda item “Question of Palestine.”
On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly officially passed resolution 181 (II), which became commonly referred to as the Partition Resolution.
The resolution outlined the creation of a “Jewish State” and an “Arab State” in Palestine, with Jerusalem being designated as a “separate entity” under the control of international law and politics.