Remarks by Ambassador Ferit Hoxha at the Security Council meeting on the situation in Middle East, including the Palestinian Question

Thank you, Mr. President, and let me join others in thanking all the briefers for their presentations.

We will never be out of words to express our utter condemnation of the carefully planned and brutally executed terrorist attacks of 7 October, which, let’s not forget, triggered this acute crisis;

We can’t express enough our firm rejection of taking civilians hostage, keeping them in horrible conditions, when the entire world, including the SC have repeatedly called for their immediate and unconditional release.

We are horrified by the emerging hideous stories of sexual violence used by Hamas as a weapon of terror, on Israeli civilians, women, and girls.

It is unfortunate and incomprehensible that nearly three months after the unthinkable was savagely unleashed upon civilians in Israel, the Security Council has not been able to issue a condemnation of those terror acts.

Mr. President,

Albania shares the international community’s deep concerns on the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The relentless bombardments have claimed far too many innocent lives.
The widespread destruction has made life impossible for many and extremely difficult for all in Gaza.

Innocent civilians are punished twice: by the cowardice of Hamas but also the heavy-handed response of Israel.
We reiterate our call for full compliance with International Humanitarian Law and to exercise the principles of proportionality and distinction.

Terrorists must be killed; but not the innocent civilians, UN workers or journalists, who must be protected.

We welcome the appointing of a Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza as called for in resolution 2720. The full and speedy implementation of resolutions 2712 and 2720 must be seen as a matter of absolute priority by everyone.

Mr. President,

The situation in the West Bank has further deteriorated since Hamas’s attack in Israel.
Increased army raids and acts of violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, are taking a mounting toll. More than 400 Palestinians have been killed so far in the West Bank, far more than in 2022, the year declared the deadliest since 2006.

Our position remains that settlements and their expansion are illegal under international law and an impediment to the peace process. They must be disbanded not expanded.

Mr. President,

The risk of spillover of the conflict is real.

Everywhere around Israel, there is one actor, one country, one hand that continues to pull the strings, though its proxies, and this is Iran.

Ignoring it is not a contribution to peace.

In this respect, the continued attacks by the Huthis in the Red Sea, denying navigational rights and freedoms of all vessels, pose a grave threat to international peace and security.

We call on the Houthis to immediately cease these attacks and for the SC to take appropriate action.

The ongoing war in Gaza obscures everything, including prospects of how to get out of it and move ahead and revive the stalled Peace Process in the Middle East, which cannot continue to remain the historic unfinished business.

As soon as the war in Gaza will be over, work should start anew seeking a lasting and comprehensive solution.

This has never been easy and it will not be easier now.

It will require serious, sustained and credible efforts to ensure that terror and violence are no longer used to achieve political goals, that they are definitely and resolutely rejected by all.

It will need Gaza and the West Bank united under a single a renewed Palestinian Authority, fully committed and ready to peace through negotiations, with the help of the international community.

It will require sustained and massive efforts of assistance for those internally displaced to return to normal life and a colossal reconstruction effort to make Gaza again, a living place.

But it will require, more than anything, a shared understanding that equality between Israelis and Palestinians is the glue for charting their shared destiny together.

There has never been any alternative and there is no other credible and serious path to the future than the two-State solution if we want a solution, peace, security and lasting stability.

Only a genuine process that leads to an independent, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State alongside Israel will be able to guarantee security, stability and prosperity for the Palestinian and Israeli people alike.

This is what we have been saying and defending always, especially during these two years in the Security Council. We will continue to do so from outside the Council.
Because we remain profoundly convinced that both Palestinians and Israelis, who share that tiny land, have a right to statehood there and are bound by a shared destiny.

May this tragedy make wisdom prevail, with lessons learned through successive failures and missed opportunities, and make everyone understand and accept, that violence will never bring peace; it will only breed more of the same: violence, pain, suffering, regrets and misery, when everyone there needs and deserves the contrary: hope, peace and stability.

I thank you!

Previous Explanation of Vote by Ambassador Ferit Hoxha at the Security Council voting on the resolution to expand and accelerate humanitarian access into Gaza

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Albania remains committed to uphold the charter of the UN, convinced that a rules-based international order with effective multilateral institutions is the best way to ensure peace, security, and respect for human rights, development and prosperity.

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