Video feed of the Security Council meeting.
1:37 PM Meeting adjourned
With all speakers having delivered their statements, the President of the Security Council adjourned the meeting.
1:31 PM Violence, deaths and detentions have grown: Ecuador
José Javier De La Gasca, Ambassador and Permanent Representative Ecuador and Security Council President for December, spoke in his national capacity and said his country unequivocally condemns the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October.
Demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, he said the magnitude of the violence in Gaza has meant that events in other localities have slipped away from the spotlight.
Nevertheless, the negative trends since the beginning of October in the West Bank have also increased, he continued, noting that the level of violence has grown, as have deaths and detentions.
Those responsible for violent attacks must be brought to justice, he stressed, condemning all terrorist attacks and adding that security forces must always use restraint.
The Ecuadorian Ambassador also voiced his strong opposition to all unilateral measures that make peace more difficult, including construction and expansion of settlements, and the confiscation of Palestinians’ land, demolition of their homes and their displacement.
1:12 PM Too many civilians have been killed: UK
Barbara Woodward, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom (UK) to the UN underscored her country’s commitment to Israel’s security and the need to address the threat posed by Hamas.
“But, too many civilians have been killed,” she said, stating that Israel must comply with international humanitarian law and clearly differentiate between terrorists and civilians.
Further, as the situation in the occupied West Bank underlines the urgent need to progress towards peace, Israel must stop settler violence immediately and hold the perpetrators accountable, Ambassador Woodward added.
She further called on Israel to adhere to its commitments and cease all settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and stressed that approving further settlements serves only to raise tensions in the West Bank.
Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority should demonstrate – through their policies – a genuine commitment to a two-State solution, the Ambassador urged.
She also warned of the spillover potential of the conflict and underscored that a full-blown conflict between Israel and Hizbullah would be “catastrophic” for Lebanon and the wider region.
1:03 PM No safe place in Gaza: China
GENG Shuang, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the UN said that the protracted nature of the war would only cause more casualties on both sides.
“There is no safe place in Gaza,” he said, warning that the situation on the ground is not allowing humanitarians to carry out their work and reach people in need with aid.
Israel’s settlement activities in the West Bank and its continued escalation of raids have eroded the basis of a two-State solution, he added, stressing that Israel must cease all settlement activities and hold perpetrators accountable.
He further highlighted the importance of implementing the two-State solution and as well as guarantee the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people.
“We support Palestine’s full membership in the UN, and the early resumption of direct negotiations between Palestine and Israel,” Ambassador Geng added.
12:42 PM International law must be implemented by all: France
Nicolas de Rivière, French Ambassador and Permanent Representative, expressed his country’s “deep concern” over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
“The priority must go the immediate implementation of a lasting ceasefire, with the help of all regional and international partners,” he said, adding that humanitarian aid must urgently be delivered to civilians in the enclave along with guarantees of access “without restrictions”.
He also stressed the need for implementing the two Security Council resolutions adopted recently.
“In this regard, France recalls that International humanitarian law must be implemented in all circumstances and by all,” the Ambassador said, noting that his country will remain fully involved with humanitarian efforts for the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.
He also said that the Security Council cannot be solely limited to addressing the “symptoms” of the crisis, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. He also urged the 15-member body to condemn the terrorist attacks committed by Hamas and other groups on 7 October, including sexual violence.
“It is incomprehensible that this Council has still not been able to do this,” he said, while also highlighting the importance of the two-State solution.
12:29 PM 2023, the bloodiest year for West Bank: Russia
Vassily Nebenzia, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, said that his country is following the “very tense” situation in the West Bank, against the background of crisis in Gaza.
“We are seeing continued operations by Israeli security forces and violent settlers, which not only threaten a large-scale humanitarian disaster but also to spread the crisis to the rest of the region,” he said.
He noted increasing tensions in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, while Egypt and Jordan are facing unprecedented risks of a massive exodus of Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank.
Ambassador Nebenzia also said that 302 Palestinians, including 79 children, were killed by Israeli military and settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since 7 October.
“Overall their numbers reached 504 people. 2023 was the bloodiest year for the inhabitants of the West Bank,” he said, adding that the “multiple security operations by Israel on this part of the occupied territory began long before the terrorist attack of 7 October.”
Categorically condemning the terrorist attacks of 7 October, Mr. Nebenzia said that the raids began “without any linkage” to the terrorist threat that the Israelis have used as a justification to conduct the unprecedented operation to clean up Gaza, claiming the lives of over 21,000 people, including 144 UN staff members.
12:28 PM UN Photo/Evan Schneider (file) Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric. UN Photo/Evan Schneider (file) UN Secretary-General ‘gravely concerned’ over further spillover
The Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General has, meanwhile, issued a statement on the Middle East.
“As the hostilities between Israel and Hamas and other groups in Gaza intensify, the Secretary-General remains gravely concerned about the further spillover of this conflict, which could have devastating consequences for the entire region,” the statement, issued by Stéphane Dujarric, said.
There is a continued risk of wider regional conflagration, the longer the conflict in Gaza continues, given the risk of escalation and miscalculation by multiple actors, it added.
The statement also noted that the escalating violence in the occupied West Bank, including intensified Israeli security forces operations, high numbers of fatalities, settler violence and attacks on Israelis by Palestinians, is “extremely alarming”.
Regional stability impacted
“The daily exchanges of fire across the Blue Line risk triggering a broader escalation between Israel and Lebanon and affecting regional stability,” it said, noting also the UN chief’s increasing worry about the spillover effects of continuing attacks by armed groups in Iraq and Syria, and attacks by the Houthi group in Yemen against vessels in the Red Sea, which have escalated in recent days.
“The Secretary-General urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint and take urgent steps to de-escalate tensions in the region,” the statement added, highlighting his appeal “to all members of the international community to do everything in their power to use their influence on the relevant parties to prevent an escalation of the situation in the region.”
“The Secretary-General reiterates his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages,” the statement concluded.
12:20 PM Death of any civilian is a tragedy: US
John Kelley, Minister Counsellor and Political Coordinator at the Permanent Mission of the United States (US) to the UN, said that his country shared the concern regarding the “sharp increase” in violence by extremist settlers in the West Bank and the “unprecedented” number of Palestinian fatalities there as well as in Gaza.
“We know 2023 has been the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank,” he said, stressing “the death of any civilian, whether they were one of the individuals killed by Hamas terrorists on 7 October, or one of the Palestinians killed in the West Bank or in Gaza is a tragedy.”
“The United States continues to stress to the Israeli Government the importance of preventing extremist settler violence as well as investigating and holding accountable those who commit acts of violence,” he added.
Mr. Kelley also noted that the US will continue to implement visa restrictions, announced on 5 December, targeting individuals believed to have been “involved in or meaningfully contributed” to undermining peace, security and stability in the West Bank.