Remarks by Ambassador Ferit Hoxha at the Security Council meeting on the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question

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August 21, 2023

Thank you, Madam President, and thank you Special Coordinator Wennesland for the update.

It is very disheartening to start, like many other times, by acknowledging that the last three weeks were not any better on the ground for the civilians in West Bank and Israel. The situation on the ground keeps deteriorating, with no end in sight.

It is indeed alarming that the death toll for the last seven months is equaling the number of deaths that occurred during the entire year of 2022. This represents a heavy and painful toll for both sides and it is unsustainable.

Albania condemns the killing of an Israeli patrolman as well as the deadly terror attacks committed these days, and reiterates its support for the right of Israel to self-defense in a proportionate manner.

There cannot be any justification for terror and everyone, particularly the youth, should distance themselves from instigation of violence and extremism, and condemn terrorism.

Terror attacks cannot advance any cause; they only empower extremists, the last thing the Middle East Peace Process needs, now or anytime.

Madam President,

The events in the Tulkarem refugee camp bear the risk of escalation in other areas in the West Bank. Protection of civilians must always be the primary concern, and international humanitarian law must be respected.

We condemn in the very same way the Israeli extremist settlers’ violence. Lives of Palestinian and Israeli civilians are worth the same. We welcome the steps undertaken by the Israeli Defense Forces to address the settlers’ violence against Palestinians and call for full investigation and accountability for those responsible.

We also reiterate our concern about plans to expand settlements. We call for the full implementation of resolution 2334 and the strict observance of international law.

All unilateral steps that obstruct peace and the viability of the two-state solution must be withdrawn.

We reiterate our call on the parties to commit to de-escalation, not only in words, but with deeds, and avoid unilateral steps that lead to tension and violence on the ground.

In the context of hope for a political horizon, however remote it may seem, violence cannot and will not be a solution. Neither can it be a substitute for justice.

Parties must abide by their commitments regarding the implementation of the Aqaba and Sharm el Sheikh communiqué as the best way to bridge the deep and deepening divide.

Madam President,

Albania remains a firm supporter of the freedom of religion and belief and of the historic status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem.

We praise the special role of the Jordan custodianship and call on the parties to refrain from provocative actions that may affect an already tense situation.

Let me conclude, by joining the call of the Special Coordinator for the restoration of the political horizon as an imperative to break the current cycle of deadly violence.

That perspective is in the hands of both sides;

It lies in their will to move ahead, and in their vision for the future.

A future that speaks in the same way to Israelis and Palestinians alike;

A future where a viable and democratic Palestine lives besides a secure Israel;

A future for two states, for two people, fully entitled to equal safety, security and prosperity.

Thank you.

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