Remarks by Riad Al-Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine, at a UN Security Council Ministerial Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

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Minister Riad Al-Malki painted a grim picture of Israel’s deadly aggression against the Palestinian people, which continues unabated and is taking thousands of innocent civilian lives, destroying everything in its path and threatening regional and international peace and security.

This is not the result of a natural disaster, or a regrettable consequence of war — rather, it is a premeditated effort to inflict maximum pain on the Palestinian population.  Israel has unleashed the most savage and indiscriminate bombing campaign since the Second World War.  Further, it has imposed a cruel siege on Gaza — leading to famine, dehydration, disease and despair — and its actions have led to forcible displacement at a scale and speed not witnessed in modern history.

“No home, hospital, school, mosque, church or UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] shelter is safe from Israel’s bombardments,” he declared, pointing to “2,000-ton bombs dropped with no care whatsoever for civilian lives”.  More than 25,000 civilians have been killed — including over 11,000 children — more than 63,000 have been injured, thousands have been permanently maimed or disabled and more than 7,000 have been buried under the rubble.  Dozens more will be killed in the hours that this Council meets and thousands more as the Council continues being prevented from calling for an immediate ceasefire, he pointed out, noting that these atrocities “shock and shame the human conscience”.

“From Kampala, where the Global South was gathered, to Brussels where Arab Ministers met their European counterparts, to the United Nations in New York, the world is calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire,” he said, juxtaposing the will of the international community with “the whims of an Israeli Prime Minister driven by a single goal — his own political survival, at the expense of the survival of millions of Palestinians”.  Israeli leaders, he said, “do not see our people as an empirical and political reality to coexist with, but as a demographic threat to get rid of through death, displacement or subjugation”.

There are only two paths ahead, he stressed — one that starts with Palestinian freedom and leads to shared peace and security in the region, or one that continues denying this freedom and dooms the region to endless conflict.  “Israel should no longer entertain the illusion that there is somehow a third path whereby it can choose continued occupation and colonialism and apartheid and somehow still achieve regional peace and security,” he emphasized. Instead, it is time for international law and UN resolutions to be respected fully, for non-compliance to be penalized and for accountability.  Also, it is time to recognize and admit the State of Palestine to the UN.  “There are two choices — a spreading fire or a ceasefire,” he said, adding that the alternative to freedom, justice and peace is what is happening now.

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