Most Difficult Moments for Israel & Palestine in 75 years

Source The United Nations


Media – Briefing by Tor Wennesland, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, warned the Security Council today that the current crisis “is one of the most difficult moments facing the Israeli and Palestinian people in the last 75 years.”

Wennesland added, “The massacre and despicable acts of violence and terror perpetrated by Hamas against Israelis on 7 October are seared into our collective memories.”

Referring to Tuesday’s strike in a hospital in Gaza, the Special Coordinator said, “Hundreds of Palestinians were killed – patients and those seeking shelter – when the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City was struck by lethal fire. The circumstances of this catastrophe and responsibility still needs to be fully clarified, and we will need a fact based, full investigation, and broad investigation.”

Wennesland added, “I fear that we are at the brink of a deep and dangerous abyss that could change the trajectory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if not of the Middle East as a whole. After more than a century of conflict and over half-a-century of occupation, we in the international community have failed, collectively, to bring the parties to a just, sustainable political resolution.”

The Special Coordinator said that the world needs “the time and space to achieve two urgent objectives: Hamas’ immediate, unconditional release of all hostages; and secondly, unrestricted access of humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza.”

“The third thing must be collective efforts to end the hostilities and prevent any further expansion of the conflict to the region,” concluded Wennesland.

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, told Council members that there is “real risk of the situation spiraling out of control.”

Griffiths added, “What the people of Israel, Palestine and the region need, what we all need, what this Council’s mandate is in existence to secure, is for sanity and humanity to prevail, drawing on the provisions of international humanitarian law, and for urgent efforts to arrest any further descent into this brutal calamity.”

The humanitarian affairs chief concluded, “Of course, we implore the parties to respect international humanitarian law and, by the way, I want to be very clear, a ceasefire would go a long way to easing the epic human suffering.”

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