Guterres urges Security Council to prioritize civilian protection in Israel-Palestine conflict.
UN News is concluding its live coverage of the events taking place in the Council today. For a detailed recap of the ongoing debate and the remaining speakers addressing the Israel-Palestine crisis, please visit our dedicated section on UN Meetings Coverage.
Al Haka Dindi, Syria’s representative, expressed disbelief and horror at Israel’s aggressive and violent actions, calling it a criminal and unimaginable campaign.
The unlawful campaign would not have been able to happen without Western States granting complete freedom to what they label as the right to defend oneself.
The speaker stated that Israel’s actions of committing massacres and genocide against the Palestinian population are part of a scorched earth policy. This is made possible by the US, which not only blocked Security Council resolutions but also provided military support and financial resources to eliminate the Palestinians.
Syria stated in the Council chamber that it is important to not treat the victims and the occupying power as equals and to acknowledge the rightful claim of the Palestinians to their own independent State.
The Ambassador of Qatar, Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, echoed the concerns of the Arab Group and reminded that her country has consistently warned against the escalation of Israeli actions, particularly those seeking to alter the long-standing and geographical arrangements of Jerusalem’s sacred sites.
In the past two weeks, there have been appeals and relentless diplomatic actions aimed at promoting mediation and dialogue in order to reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict. She also mentioned her country’s efforts to secure the release of hostages from the Gaza Strip.
According to her, Qatar firmly opposes Israel’s portrayal of their country’s mediation efforts as false. These efforts were supported by friendly nations, the United Nations, and international allies.
Qatar’s assistance to civilians in Gaza includes both humanitarian and development aid, distributed through the UN. This aid is seen as a moral obligation to the Palestinian people.
She stated that their assistance is a result of requests from global allies, urging her country to take charge in promoting peace in Gaza and the surrounding area.
The representative from Lebanon stated that there is no legal or ideological basis for the widespread murdering of a community that has been confined to an outdoor jail for over 50 years.
He stated that the Israeli occupying forces have completely disregarded and ignored any resolutions.
“The Israelis, who display arrogance, have failed to acknowledge the repeated appeals from the UN Secretary-General. This is due to their lack of faith in the Organization and in the concept of peace,” he stated. He went on to mention that the Arab States had embraced peace in 2002 with the introduction of the Saudi proposal.
The speaker declared that Lebanon has always been a target of aggression by Israel since the 1960s, and pointed out that Israel still occupies parts of Lebanon.
According to Amir Saied Iravani, the ambassador of Iran, the US Secretary of State made another false attempt to accuse Iran today.
The consistent assistance of the United States towards occupation and aggression has made it a contributing factor to the issue. The U.S. has worsened the conflict by openly siding with the aggressor, disregarding the well-being of the Palestinian civilians.
The US’s quick supply of military and logistical aid to the oppressive occupying government made them responsible for the cruel killing of innocent Palestinians in Gaza.
Unfortunately, at this meeting, the United States and some Western countries attempted to shift responsibility from the perpetrator to the victim.
They compare the self-protection and freedom of the Palestinian people with acts of terrorism, falsely giving the occupying government of Israel a wrongful claim to self-defense.
According to him, international law is unambiguous regarding this issue. There is no clause allowing an occupying government to use the right to self-defense as outlined in Article 51 of the UN Charter.
The Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Libya, Eltaher Salem Elbaour, strongly denounced Israel’s violent attack on the Gaza Strip. He stated that the truth of what occurred in Gaza cannot be distorted by any media outlet. He specifically mentioned the bombing of Al-Ahli Arab hospital, which resulted in the tragic loss of 500 lives.
He challenged the “civilized nations” who support the aggression to consider the true intentions behind their human rights slogans. He questioned the message being portrayed to the world and reminded them that the global community is aware of the situation in Occupied Palestinian Territory. He called for an end to double standards and falsification of facts.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Retno Marsudi, urged the Council to shift away from political matters and focus on restoring its compassion for humanity.
She pleaded for the use of one’s influential abilities for more compassionate actions, stressing the importance of granting Palestinians equal rights and fair treatment.
Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, publicly recognized the heinous actions of the Nazi regime as the most atrocious crime of the past century.
The Federal Minister stated that, as a German, “Never again” signifies that we will not stop until the descendants of Holocaust survivors are no longer being held captive by terrorists in Gaza.
Germany considers Israel’s security to be of utmost importance and not open for discussion. As with any other country, Israel has the legal right to protect itself from acts of terrorism in accordance with international law.
She stated that addressing the suffering of the Palestinians does not go against her firm and consistent position. It is an integral aspect of it.
Egypt’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, stated that the situation in the Palestinian territories is currently dire. He mentioned the significant loss of lives, including numerous children.
It is disgraceful that certain individuals still defend the current situation by claiming the right to protect oneself and fight against terrorism.
He stated that remaining quiet in this situation is equivalent to approving it, and that advocating for adherence to international humanitarian law without specifying any breaches is equivalent to being complicit in the offenses.
Please take a look at our recent UN News article, which discusses the situation where Security Council ambassadors are unable to come to a consensus on how to handle the Gaza crisis.
An Israeli diplomat has urged the Secretary-General of the United Nations to step down from his position.
At 11:22am, Israeli ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan urged the UN Secretary-General to step down in a tweet and during a stakeout outside the Security Council. Foreign Minister Eli Cohen also announced on Twitter that he will not be having a planned meeting with the UN leader today.
Ambassador Erdan stated during a press conference that when the UN chief acknowledged the context surrounding the Hamas attacks in his speech to the Council, he was essentially condoning terrorism.
The UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric addressed inquiries about the tweet from the Foreign Minister and stated that the Secretary-General plans to meet with relatives of hostages currently held by Hamas in Gaza. He also mentioned that a representative from the Israeli Permanent Mission to the UN will be present.
Ambassador Zhang Jun of China emphasized the significance of the Council’s actions, stating that the world is closely watching. He urged the Council to convey a strong and united message.
The Council must clearly and unambiguously call for an immediate ceasefire to prevent jeopardizing the two-State solution. States should prioritize moral conscience over double standards.
Regarding the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, it was stated that immediate action is necessary. The current allowance of aid entering the area is minimal and not enough. The complete blockade of Gaza and the punishment of all Palestinians must be ended.
He urged Israel to cease its assaults and permit the delivery of aid, emphasizing the importance of upholding international humanitarian law. He also stressed the Council’s responsibility to protect the rule of law and condemn any breaches.
The main reason for the conflict is the extended occupation of Palestinian land and disregard for their rights, according to him. He emphasized that any actions taken by the Council should stay focused on this issue.
Vasily Nebenzya Russia’s ambassador to the UN said it was unfortunate the meeting was taking place on UN Day against the backdrop of “unprecedented” violence that has caused “catastrophic” casualties on both sides, with Russians among the victims.
He stated that the amount of deaths and injuries is evidence that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has surpassed our worst expectations.
The events that occurred on October 7th and the subsequent tragedies were caused by the US’s longstanding destructive actions, which have hindered efforts to resolve the ongoing conflict in the region.
“We, along with numerous others, have been warning for many years that the situation is on the verge of exploding and unfortunately, our warning has come to fruition,” stated Mr. Nebenzya.
The current situation has once more demonstrated that regional stability is unattainable without a just resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in accordance with Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, and in line with internationally agreed upon decisions for a two-state solution. The speaker restated Russia’s stance that a sustainable negotiation process is necessary.
Afterwards, a self-governing Palestinian nation should be created within the 1967 boundaries, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living peacefully and securely alongside Israel.
Tom Tugendhat, the Minister for Security in the UK, firmly stated their support for Israel’s right to defend itself. He also acknowledged the suffering of Palestinians and mentioned that the UK has allocated an additional $37 million to assist civilians in Gaza.
“We must take measures to stop this conflict from spreading beyond Gaza and causing a larger war in the surrounding region,” he stated. He referenced attacks by Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border and increasing tensions in the West Bank. “It is vital for the safety of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians, as well as all countries in the region, that this conflict does not escalate any further.”
The United Kingdom has consistently supported the Middle East Peace Process, advocating for a peaceful resolution that results in a secure Israel and an independent Palestinian state.
He stated that the events of the previous week clearly demonstrate the importance of reaching these objectives. He also believes that optimism and compassion should prevail.
According to Catherine Colonna, the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, it is imperative that the Council fulfills its responsibility to denounce the recent attack by Hamas in Israel.
France stands firmly with Israel which has the right to defend itself, while respecting international humanitarian law. Indeed, all civilian lives must be protected she stressed.
The people of Gaza are in urgent need of safe and quick access to aid. A spokesperson emphasized the importance of acting quickly, stating that time is of the essence. They called for temporary breaks in fighting and a ceasefire that could ultimately bring lasting peace. France also reaffirmed their commitment to providing aid to Gaza.
She also emphasized the importance of the Council actively taking on its duties and fulfilling them completely.
She stated that it is our responsibility to create a path towards peace and the only feasible resolution is a two-state solution. We must make every effort possible and this Council must take action immediately.
During a meeting with ambassadors, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that on October 7th, over 1,400 individuals were killed by Hamas, including citizens from more than 30 UN Member States, including Americans.
“We all have a role to play and a duty to fulfill in combatting terrorism,” he stated.
He emphasized the crucial importance of safeguarding civilians, stating that Israel is entitled and obligated to defend itself and that the manner in which it does so is significant.
Blinken, the Secretary of State, stated that Hamas does not accurately reflect the views of the Palestinian population and that innocent Palestinian civilians should not be held responsible for the violent actions of the militants.
The speaker stated that it is crucial to safeguard Palestinian civilians and for Hamas to stop endangering them by using them as human shields. He also described this tactic as an extremely cynical act.
He emphasized the importance of Israel taking necessary measures to ensure the safety of civilians. He also stated that it is crucial for essential resources like food, water, and medicine to reach Gaza and those in need of aid.
Additionally, he emphasized the importance of allowing civilians to safely evacuate dangerous areas and urged the consideration of implementing temporary pauses for humanitarian purposes.
Brazil’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Maura Viera, emphasized that according to International Humanitarian Law, Israel, as the occupying power, is responsible for safeguarding the people of Gaza both legally and morally.
The current situation in Gaza is extremely worrying, especially the evacuation order, which is causing an unprecedented amount of suffering for innocent individuals.
He stated that the quantity of assistance entering Gaza via the Rafah crossing is inadequate to fulfill the needs of the civilians living there. He remarked that the shortage of electricity is affecting healthcare personnel and medical facilities, as well as the limited availability of clean water.
The Minister emphasized the importance of respecting and safeguarding civilians at all times and in all places. They also reminded all parties to adhere strictly to their obligations under international law.
He stated the importance of following the key principles of distinction, proportionality, humanity, necessity, and precaution in all military actions and operations.
11.04: During a press conference, Eli Cohen, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel, displayed a collection of photos of individuals who have been abducted by Hamas. He described the current hostage situation as a “never-ending nightmare”. Reflecting on the attack that occurred on October 7th, Cohen stated that the day will be remembered as a violent massacre and a reminder to fight against extremism and terrorism.
“According to him, Hamas is comparable to the Nazis, and he demands that the hostages be released immediately and unconditionally.”
Qatar could facilitate.
He stated that the international community should request Qatar to do exactly that. The meeting should end with a distinct statement: bring them back.
According to him, Israel has both a responsibility and an obligation to protect itself. He stated, “This is not solely Israel’s conflict, but rather a battle for the freedom of the entire world.”
According to him, the reaction to the massacre on 7 October must be “a matter of survival.” He also expressed gratitude to nations that have been supporting Israel.
He declared that we will emerge victorious in this battle because it is a fight for survival, and it must be embraced by all. The current situation presents a distinct decision of ethical understanding.
He stated that a person can either be a member of a civilized society or be in the midst of evil and barbaric surroundings. He firmly believed there was no neutral position.
He stated that if countries do not firmly support Israel’s goal to eradicate evil from the world, it will be the UN’s most shameful moment and render its existence morally unjustifiable.
State of Palestine
At 10:45, Foreign Affairs Minister of Palestine, Riyad al-Maliki, emphasized the responsibility of the Security Council and the global community to protect human lives.
He emphasized that ongoing incompetence at the Security Council is unacceptable.
He stressed the importance of countries providing unconditional support for “international law and peace,” stating that continued injustice and violence will not contribute to Israel’s safety.
“Our security cannot be guaranteed by weapons or alliances. Only peace, specifically with Palestine and its people, can bring true security,” he emphasized. He also declared that the Palestinian people’s destiny must not consist of being deprived of their rights, forced out of their homes, and subjected to death. He asserted that our freedom is crucial for achieving lasting peace and security.
Mr. al-Maliki emphasized the urgency of preventing a larger humanitarian crisis and spill over into neighboring areas. He stated that the only way to accomplish this is by promptly ending the Israeli military offensive against the people of Gaza. He called for an immediate halt to the violence.
‘Humanity can prevail’
In a report to the Council, Lynn Hastings, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, stated that recent developments including the reopening of aid shipments through the Rafah crossing in Egypt and the release of a limited number of hostages demonstrate that diplomacy and negotiation can lead to successful humanitarian outcomes, even in the midst of conflict.
The international community expects the Member States represented in this Council to fulfill their responsibilities – Lynn Hastings
Encouraging nations with power to use their influence and guarantee compliance with international laws regarding humanitarian aid, she emphasized the importance of providing basic necessities for civilians to survive. She also stated the need for quick and unobstructed delivery of relief aid, as well as the restoration of water and electricity services.
She stated that an additional 20 trucks are scheduled to pass through the Rafah crossing today, although there is currently a delay. She also mentioned that the UN is committed to ensuring that these deliveries are able to continue.
She honored the memory of the 35 colleagues from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) who lost their lives in the tragic Israeli bombing.
It is imperative for all parties involved to consistently prioritize the protection of civilians, while also ensuring that access to water and electricity is restored in accordance with the laws of war.
“If we want to avoid this humanitarian disaster from worsening, it is crucial that discussions continue. This will enable the necessary supplies to reach Gaza on a large scale, protect civilians and their vital infrastructure, secure the release of hostages, and prevent any further escalation and consequences. The international community is relying on the Member States associated with this Council to take a leading role.”
“The stakes are incredibly high,” said Wennesland.
The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, expressed concern about the possibility of the current conflict spreading to neighboring regions. He stated that he and the UN Secretary-General are actively seeking out opportunities to address the situation and prevent more civilian casualties and suffering.
On October 28th, the speaker emphasized the importance of the global community working together to stop the violence and prevent any further conflicts, particularly in the surrounding area. The consequences are extremely serious, and they urge all relevant parties to take responsible action.
He cautioned that any error in calculation could result in severe consequences and emphasized that these catastrophic occurrences were intertwined with the overall situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Israel, and the surrounding area.
He emphasized that hope has been lost for a whole generation.
“Only a political solution will move us forward,” he said. “The steps we take to address this crisis must be implemented in a way that ultimately advances a negotiated peace that fulfils the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis – the long-held vision of two-States, in line with UN resolutions, international law, and previous agreements.”
The situation is becoming increasingly serious, according to Guterres’ statement.
On October 11th, Mr. Guterres provided an opening statement on the ongoing crisis, stating that the situation in the Middle East is rapidly worsening.
He stated that divisions are causing society to break apart and tensions are reaching a boiling point.
He emphasized the importance of understanding principles, beginning with safeguarding civilians.
The Secretary-General emphasized the urgency of a humanitarian ceasefire in order to alleviate immense suffering, improve the delivery of aid, and secure the release of hostages.
You can view the complete speech of the United Nations leader here.
He reiterated the importance of maintaining focus on the sole feasible basis for peace and stability in the Middle East: a two-State solution.
The Israeli people must have their valid security concerns addressed while the Palestinian people must have their legitimate desire for an independent state fulfilled, in accordance with United Nations resolutions, international law, and past agreements.
The deliberate killing and kidnapping of civilians, as well as the Hamas rocket launches against civilian targets, cannot be justified according to Mr. Guterres. However, he also emphasized the importance of acknowledging that these attacks by Hamas did not occur in isolation.
He stated that the Palestinian population has endured 56 years of oppressive occupation.
The grievances of the Palestinian people do not excuse the terrible attacks carried out by Hamas. Similarly, the punishment of the Palestinian people cannot be justified by these terrible attacks.
What’s at stake
This is the fourth time that the 15 ambassadors of the United Nations’ main peace and security council will gather since the onset of the intense period of conflict.
You can watch the live broadcast of all the events on X through our colleagues at UN Web TV. Simply click on the tweet or the embedded video in the main photo section of this story.
So far, there has no agreement on any action, to alleviate the suffering of civilians caught up in the spiralling conflict between Hamas militants, who control the enclave of over two million Palestinians.
The Council was unsuccessful in passing two earlier versions of resolutions aimed at addressing the escalation. The first, proposed by Russia and urging for an immediate ceasefire, did not receive enough votes. The second, put forth by Brazil, was vetoed by the United States. Despite including provisions for humanitarian pauses to allow for aid delivery, the US objected to the lack of mention of Israel’s right to defend itself.
Today, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, will provide updates.
Lynn Hastings, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, is also scheduled to give a briefing. She has also been assigned the role of deputy special coordinator.
Ministers of foreign affairs from various nations are also expected to participate.
Currently, 92 countries have registered to participate in speaking.
Today marks the 78th anniversary of the United Nations Day, commemorating the entry into force of the UN Charter. In his statement, the UN leader urged all parties to cease violence and prevent further loss of life and escalation of conflict at this crucial moment.
At 10:02, the Council chamber is filled with lively discussions among diplomats as they anticipate the beginning of the meeting. The meeting will be led by Brazil, who currently holds the presidency for the month of October.
On October 7th, the United Nations Security Council holds its 9451st meeting and commences with proceedings.