Remarks by Ambassador Ferit Hoxha at the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East

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May 24, 2023

Thank you, Madame President.

I thank the Special Coordinator for the update on the developments on the ground. I thank Ms. Hary for her striking testimony and the insightful remarks.

We just left behind weeks of escalatory tensions and fire exchanges, with a high number of victims and many wounded waiting to recover. These events with huge repercussions on civilians are becoming more frequent and the increase in the death toll from Palestinians and Israelis is a matter of primary concern.

We welcome the ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and commend Egypt and other international and regional actors for their efforts to prevent escalation on the ground. We call on the parties to fully implement the ceasefire, preserve the calm recently restored and bear in mind that it is always the civilians who pay the high price of tensions and violence.

The people of Israel do not deserve living under the threat of blind and indiscriminatory rocket attacks from Gaza from terrorist groups and other terrorist acts against them. We fully support Israel’s right to self-defense in a proportionate measure. It should be noted that many of the rockets recklessly launched by Islamist groups are also falling inside Palestine territory, claiming innocent lives.

We are deeply troubled by the negative impact the conflict is having on the Palestinian civilians, including women and children. International Humanitarian Law must be fully observed and respected and the causalities impacting civilians must be avoided. Lives, be they Israeli or Palestinian, are worth the same.

The cycle of violence must end, and unilateral actions that trigger its proliferation should be avoided. Both sides must exercise maximum restraint. It is the prerequisite for generating what is nowadays missing: hope.

Madame President,

It is troubling to note that discriminatory rhetoric, racism and antisemitism are more and more frequent. Albania strongly condemns all these provocative and harmful displays that are instigating hatred among people, becoming a direct source for violence. We are concerned on the impact such behaviors are having on journalists and free reporting.

Marching and chanting death to Palestinians is unacceptable; it is as reprehensible as calling death for Israelis.

All leaders have a responsibility to act against extremists and to speak out against violence and incitement.

Albania fully supports the freedom of religion and belief and the historic status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem. We praise the special role of the Jordan custodianship.

The holy sites in Jerusalem are a place of prayer. We call on those responsible to restrain from provocative actions that undermine the rights and sensibilities of those worshipping the Temple Mount/ Haram Al Sharif.

Peaceful coexistence between the Muslims, Jews and Christians, respect for religious diversity and tolerance towards different faiths and beliefs are fundamental values to be dearly preserved and further cherished.

The commitments in the Aqaba and Sharm el Sheikh meetings are clear about what the parties should do in good faith to avoid escalation and take useful measure for a peaceful settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

We call on the parties to abide by these commitments and avoid actions that undermine the perspective of peace. We reiterate our position that settlements and outposts are illegal under international law and their advancement is an obstacle to the two-state solution.

The indiscriminate violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians, including destruction of homes, schools and properties are deplorable and should be properly investigated.

Madame President,

We welcome the efforts of Germany, France, Egypt and Jordan to restore the political horizon for a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Middle East and their commitment to work with all the parties for the resumption of a credible political process.

We also commend all the efforts in advancing and expanding the Abraham Accord. The security, economy, and good neighborhood relationships between the countries in the Middle East are beneficial for all.

In this vein, I wish to reiterate Albania’s full support for a negotiated and just two-state solution within the 1967 borders. Any and all efforts leading to it are positive and welcomed.

The comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians, with a safe and secure Israel, and a viable, independent, and democratic Palestine is the only way forward.

We will not say it enough: a solution with two states, for two people with mutual recognition and Jerusalem as shared capital will ensure both sides, the Israelis, and the Palestinians to live as neighbors in safety and security and enjoying freedom, dignity, and justice.

Peace is needed and peace is possible. But it will never come as a surprise and will not fall from the sky.

It requires courage, vision, leadership and trust between the parties not to be and remain, as it looks now, a Sisyphean task.

Thank you.

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