Thank you, President,
I would like to start by thanking the Secretary General for calling this meeting and for his remarks.
Like others in this room, Albania shares the deep concerns on the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza.
We commend the efforts of the United Nations, regional partners, the United States and all those who are working to guarantee the free flow of humanitarian aid in Gaza.
We are also encouraged by the recent news on the possible use of the Kerem Shalom crossing for screening and inspections. It would increase and expedite the entry of more humanitarian assistance into Gaza, which is so much needed.
Throughout this week approximately 80 trucks per day made their way into Gaza, compared to over 200 during the November’s week-long humanitarian pause. Civilians in Gaza need much more humanitarian aid than before the Hamas’s attack.
While all efforts are concentrated in the protection of civilians and the provision of humanitarian aid to all those in need, we must not lose sight of the entire picture in this terrible situation.
We reiterate our condemnation of the terrorist attack of Hamas on Israel and its people on the 7th of October, including the indiscriminate rocket launches on the residential areas of Israel.
The horrible events of 7 October, the abduction of innocent civilians and the consecutive violence, including sexual violence and psychological pressure exercised on them, are unacceptable.
Nothing justifies the abduction of civilians and nothing can excuse their use for political goals.
We call for the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages, in compliance with the international humanitarian law and also condemn the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields by Hamas.
The Security Council must stand up for such injustice towards the Palestinians, Israelis and civilians of other nationalities, and hold Hamas accountable. We regret that the Security Council has not been able to condemn Hamas’ terror.
By not condemning Hamas, the Security Council risks empowering them. This lack of condemnation does not contribute in empowering the Palestinian Authority, doesn’t help the Palestinian people and does not contribute to the security of the entire region.
The huge impact of the conflict between Israel and Hamas on the Palestinian civilians cannot be ignored.
We call on Israel to fully comply with International Humanitarian Law and to exercise the principles of proportionality and distinction in its military operations. Protection of civilians at war is a must, and lives matter the same, Israelis and Palestinians alike. More should be done in protecting them and the civilian infrastructure.
Furthermore, we call on Israel to address the issue of the increased settler’s violence on Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. We deplore the extremist violence and call for those responsible to be held accountable.
In conclusion, President, while all efforts are invested towards restoring the calm on the ground, the international community must also seek to restoring the perspective of a political horizon, based on securing Israel’s right to exist and its security on one hand, and a viable pathway for Palestinians to have their own state and freedom on the other one.
It is time to think seriously and start setting the foundations of a future in security, dignity, and prosperity for all.