Statement by H.E. Ambassador SHINO Mitsuko, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Security Council Briefing, Agenda item “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”

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Thank you, Mr. President.

Thank you Special Coordinator Wennesland for your updates, and I thank Major General Gauchat for sharing UNTSO’s valuable activities.

Japan expresses its grave concerns over the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Following the resumption of fighting after the breakdown of the humanitarian pause, airstrikes and ground operations, especially in the southern Gaza Strip, have led to a significant number of civilian casualties. The total death toll in Gaza is approaching 20,000, and two thirds of the victims are reportedly women and children. This must stop.

UNRWA facilities are overcrowded with displaced Palestinians, hunger is alarmingly on the rise, and communicable diseases are rapidly spreading. As UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Lazzarini put it, “everywhere you go, people are desperate, hungry, and terrified.”

It is critically important that Israel abide by international law, including international humanitarian law, in order to prevent harm to innocent civilians and basic civilian infrastructure. Japan also calls for all parties to act faithfully based on UN Security Council resolution 2712.

The amount of assistance crossing through Rafah is nowhere near enough. We note that the border crossing at Kerem Shalom is finally open for direct delivery of humanitarian assistance to Gaza. This will be a crucial lifeline to many, but as we heard from Special Coordinator, it is still too short for the needed.

Mr. President,

Beyond Gaza, there remains a serious risk of regional spillover. Continued clashes on Israel’s northern border could easily escalate with a single miscalculation. Missile launches and attacks on vessels by the Houthis are causing a considerable interruption to global shipping and threaten maritime security in the region.

Of particular concern for Japan is the Galaxy Leader, which is a ship operated by a Japanese company that was seized and has been held, along with its multinational crew, by the Houthis for nearly a month. We strongly urge the Houthis to immediately and unconditionally release both the crew and the ship.

Mr. President,

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, we observe with concern spiking settler violence and attacks on Israelis by Palestinians, which are inflaming the situation. Japan once again calls on Israel to refrain from advancing settlement activities, which are a clear violation of international law and against relevant Security Council resolutions.

In conclusion, the international community must exert all its efforts to urgently alleviate the suffering in Gaza and end this tragedy. We can no longer ignore the root causes of the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel and an independent Palestinian state must live side by side in peace and security. We must heed the calls of voices around the world who wish to see these aspirations realized fully and decisively. There is simply no alternative. Now is high time to act.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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