Plenary meeting of The 10th Emergency Special Session on the Illegal Israeli Actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the Rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Mr. President, distinguished delegates,
We thank you, Mr. President, for giving us the opportunity to speak today. We commend your decision to reconvene the 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on Illegal Israeli Actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the Rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Certainly, what we are facing now in Gaza is an emergency of serious magnitude. Afghanistan and the Afghan people share Gaza’s pain, and we stand in solidarity with those in Palestine dying, suffering and mourning.
It has been three weeks since Israel launched their air and missile attacks in Gaza, but the violence has only continued to escalate. The fighting has been terrible in its ferocity, particularly towards innocent civilians. So far, over a thousand Palestinians lost their lives, and around four hundred of those were children. An additional five thousand people have been injured, many seriously, and again women and children are the majority. Israel has, in fact, systematically disregarded human rights throughout the conflict, in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law.
Despite these terrible casualties, humanitarian aid has been denied, supplies are not permitted to enter, and humanitarian workers are at constant risk of attack. Safe zones and civilian areas such as schools, mosques, and hospitals have been directly targeted. We join all member states in condemning the Israeli attack on the UNRWA compound yesterday, which demonstrates a fundamental lack of regard for the international obligations that bind Israel as a member of the United Nations. We commend the extraordinary efforts and dedication of UN agencies and staff under such deplorable conditions.
The impossibility of assistance has pushed an already severe humanitarian crisis to the limit. UN agencies report that basic necessities such as food, water, and cooking gas are becoming increasingly difficult to find. The terrified population of over 40,000 internally displaced persons is not permitted to leave, unable to find refuge.
But the current casualties do not even tell the full story. The ramifications of the fighting in Gaza are far-reaching. Each additional day of violence means more desperation, and the prospects for reconciliation and peace are fading.
For all these reasons, the situation in Gaza demands our immediate dedication. Common human decency demands no less.
Afghanistan stands with the Security Council in condemning all violence directed against civilians, and in calling for the instantaneous implementation of Resolution 1860 and an immediate, fully-respected ceasefire leading to the full withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza strip
and a durable negotiated peace. In addition, humanitarian assistance and aid agencies must be allowed to reach those in need.
The resolution of this crisis must respect and abide by international human rights and humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a party, requires that civilians be protected during conflict, and Israel, in the position of occupying force, must respect its duties towards the civilian population of Gaza. The United Nations, in turn, must seek a solution that is in accordance to the Charter and consider the counsel and work of our own judicial entities: the International Court of Justice, the Human Rights Council, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteurs.
Afghanistan stands by member states in agreeing that the durable solution must be one in which two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders. This is the only way to address the security concerns of all parties and allow peaceful coexistence.
Once a ceasefire is achieved, the effort to achieve a durable solution will require all of our efforts, especially the regional countries who are directly impacted by the conflict. We appreciate and commend the tireless efforts of Egypt and the League of Arab States to successfully mediate and push forward negotiations. In addition, the Palestinian Authority under President Abbas should have a central role in any process. The solution, like the problem, will need to include regional actors and international partners.
We offer our full support to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and call for all parties to cooperate fully with him as he works to stop the tragedy unfolding before us. We join his call for “a unilateral declaration of ceasefire by Israel” to put an immediate end to the violence.
Today we can wait no longer; we must all act, and swiftly. Until a cease-fire is declared, there will be no end to the suffering of the people of Gaza. And once a cease-fire is declared, we must ensure that we have the political will to create a lasting, peaceful two-state solution.
I thank you, Mr. President.