New York, 30 November 2023
Thank you, Mr. President,
I thank the Secretary General for his remarks and the Special Coordinator for his briefing.
The key fact and the key word of these days are the holding humanitarian truce.
It has been six days without hostilities, six days without the deafening noise of war and its deadly consequences, six days without the terrifying sirens announcing missiles flying over Israel and, most importantly, without victims.
Diplomacy has made headway, humanity has prevailed and some hope has been revived. The truce is holding and extending, and we see it as a testimony of a desire for peace.
The continued release of the hostages is very positive, welcome. But so is also the relief for the Palestinians in Gaza.
We commend Qatar, Egypt and the United States for their efforts and we urge them to continue until all hostages are reunited with their families.
We are encouraged to notice that some key elements of Security Council Resolution 2712, which Albania supported, are being implemented and we call for the resolution to be fully implemented. We welcome that considerable increase of the volume of humanitarian aid to Gaza, including fuel and cooking gas. Way more is needed and much more needs to be done.
The horrific events of 7 of October, the deliberate massacre of civilians and abduction cannot be forgotten. Hamas has carefully planned and knowingly executed the worst. Nothing can or will ever justify terror and nothing can or will ever justify taking civilians hostage, including babies, children and elderly and use them for political purposes.
It is unfortunate that 7 weeks after the events, the Council has not been able to issue a condemnation of the inacceptable and the unforgivable.
In this conflict, as in in every conflict, civilians have paid an unprecedented heavy human toll, especially women and children, always the most affected. This is intolerable and must stop.
We recall that the protection of civilians must be the primary concern in every conflict and International humanitarian law must be fully observed. It applies also to the civilian infrastructure.
WHO has raised alarms about a rise in outbreaks of infectious diseases in Gaza. Without medicines, without routine vaccination activities, without proper access to safe water and hygiene and without sufficient food, diseases could kill way more people than the hostilities. This must be quickly reversed.
Let’s not forget also that while the attention is focused in Gaza, innocent civilians including children, are also dying in the West Bank.
We expect Israel to commit the same efforts and ingenuity to saving innocent Palestinian lives as it does in its efforts to decimating and eliminating Hamas.
Because, for as long as the Palestinians will see the war against Hamas as a collective punishment where they end up being the first victims, the prospects of long-lasting peace will be remote and shaky, if anything.
Oppressive and brutal regimes are never liked; they are only feared. Hamas rule in Gaza is no exception.
During 18 years of Hamas rule, the Gaza Strip has been besieged, impoverished, underdeveloped, left without clear perspective. As we discover now, the only real investment of Hamas in Gaza are the tunnels. Not for the population, but only and exclusively for Hamas and its warmongering policies.
I hope that the people of Gaza will come to understand that while Hamas is trying to sell them terror as a false victory, it will never be able to do more than keep dragging them into war with Israel.
However justified their frustration for the lack of progress and their fatigue of never seeing their dreams come true are, peaceful Palestinians should not be fooled to believe that Hamas will give them the state they need and deserve, the future they want and aspire to.
Instead of joining the Palestinian Authority, the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and seek a viable and long-lasting solution through political means, Hamas seeks the destruction of the State of Israel.
Such policy will never see the end of the tunnel.
It risks staying buried underground, or dying under rubble, killing at the same time the hopes of Palestinians for a normal life and a decent future.
This is why, while the urgency of the day is – and rightly so – to save lives and bring humanitarian needs up to scale and for everyone in need, it is crucial to also think and work for the day after the current conflict is over.
There is no alternative: Palestinians need and deserve their state and Israel needs and must have its security. These are not mutually excluding. On the contrary, they are mutually feeding and reassuring.
The Palestinians question cannot remain the modern Sisyphean task.
It must be set, as soon as possible, on the right path, that of a serious political process where there is talk and walk for peace, for a viable, secure and free Palestinian State as well as security, cooperation, progress and dignity for all, Israelis and Palestinians alike.
If not, we will fail again and the nightmare of today will end up being the prelude of tomorrow.