Tuesday, 24 October 2023 15:15

UPDATING LIVE: Security Council meets on Israel-Palestine as Gaza crisis deepens

The UN Security Council is meeting at UN Headquarters in New York for what was a scheduled quarterly briefing on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, now given greater urgency by the Hamas attacks of 7 October and the deepening humanitarian crisis as the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip continues. Follow our live coverage here...


State of Palestine

10:45: Riyad al-Maliki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine, stated that the Security Council and the international community has a duty and an obligation to save lives.

“Continued failure at this [Security] Council is inexcusable,” he stressed.

He emphasized that only “international law and peace” were worthy of unconditional support by countries, adding that “more injustice and more killing, will not make Israel safer.”

“No amount of weapons, no alliance, will bring it security – only peace will, peace with Palestine and its people,” he said, stating: “the fate of the Palestinian people cannot continue to be dispossession, displacement, denial of rights and death. Our freedom is the condition of share peace and security.”

Mr. al-Maliki stressed that avoiding an even greater humanitarian catastrophe and regional spillover, “it must be clear that this can only be achieved by putting an immediate end to the Israeli war launched against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. Stop the bloodshed.”

UN News
The Security Council listens to a briefing by Ms. Lynn Hastings, UN Resident Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory

’Humanity can prevail’

Briefing the Council, Lynn Hastings, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, said agreement on the resumption of aid deliveries through the Rafah, Egypt, crossing and the release of a small number of hostages over the past few days “shows that through diplomacy and negotiation, humanity can prevail, and we can find humanitarian solutions, even in the depths of conflict”.

The world is looking to the Member States around this Council to play its part — Lynn Hastings

Urging all countries with influence to exert it and ensure respect for international humanitarian law, she said civilians must have the essentials to survive. As such, the passage of rapid and unimpeded humanitarian relief must be facilitated, and water and electricity connections resumed, she added.

She said that 20 more trucks are due to move over the Rafah crossing today "although they are currently delayed." She said the UN was dtermined "to do our part to ensure these deliveries continue."

She paid tribute to the 35 UN Palestine relief agency (UNRWA) colleagues who have tragically been killed during the Israeli bombardment.

Parties on all sides "must take constant care, to spare civilians", with water and electricity connections resumed, in accordance with the rules of war.

10.38: “If we are to prevent any further descent into this humanitarian catastrophe, dialogue must continue – to ensure essential supplies can get into Gaza at the scale needed, to spare civilians and the infrastructure they depend on, to release hostages, and to avoid any further escalation and spillover,” she said. “The world is looking to the Member States around this Council to play its part in leading the way.”

Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process briefing the Security Council
UN News
Tor Wennesland, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process briefing the Security Council

’The stakes are astronomically high’: Wennesland

Echoing that the current situation risks expanding to the wider region, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, said he and the UN Secretary-General have been pursuing “any and every opportunity” to address the situation on the ground and to prevent further civilian death and misery.

10.28: “It is critical, that we, as a united international community, employ all our collective efforts to end the bloodletting and prevent the further expansion of hostilities, including in the region,” he said. “The stakes are astronomically high, and I appeal for all relevant actors to act responsibly.”

Any miscalculation could have “immeasurable consequences”, he warned, adding that these devasting events were not divorced from the broader context in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Israel, and the region.

For a generation, hope has been lost, he underlined.

“Only a political solution will move us forward,” he said. “The steps we take to address this crisis must be implemented in a way that ultimately advances a negotiated peace that fulfils the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis – the long-held vision of two-States, in line with UN resolutions, international law, and previous agreements.”

’More dire by the hour’: Guterres

10.11: Mr. Guterres gave what he termed an introduction to the current crisis, saying the situation in the Middle East is "growing more dire by the hour".

"Divisions are splintering societies and tensions threaten to boil over.", he said.

"It is vital to be clear on principles" he added, starting with the protection of civilians.

Secretary-General Guterres underscored the need for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, “to ease epic suffering, make the delivery of aid easier and safer and facilitate the release of hostages”.

Watch the UN chief’s full remarks here:

He also emphasized that the world cannot lose sight of the only realistic foundation for peace and stability in the Middle East — a two-State solution.

“Israelis must see their legitimate need for security materialized and Palestinians must see their legitimate need for an independent State realized, in line with UN resolutions, international law and previous agreements.”

What’s at stake

It marks the fourth time the 15 ambassadors of the UN’s premier peace and security body will convene since the intense cycle of violence began.

You can follow all the proceedings live on X broadcast by our colleagues at UN Web TV — click on the tweet here on the page, or click on the video embedded in the main photo area of this story.

So far, there has no agreement on any action, to alleviate the suffering of civilians caught up in the spiralling conflict between Hamas militants, who control the enclave of over two million Palestinians.

The Council failed to adopt two previous draft resolutions addressing the escalation. The first from Russia calling for an immediate ceasefire, failed to get enough votes, while a Brazilian draft was vetoed by the United States. Although it called for humanitarian pauses for aid access, the US determined objected to the fact it did not mention Israel’s right to self defence.

The UN chief António Guterres is due to brief today along with the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory Lynn Hastings is also down to brief. She’s also been given the brief of deputy special coordinator.

Foreign ministers from several countries are also due to take part.

So far, 92 different countries have signed up to speak.

Today is also United Nations Day, marking 78 years since the UN Charter entered into force. In a statement the UN chief said that "at this critical hour, I appeal to all to pull back from the brink before the violence claims even more lives and spreads even further."

10.02: The Council chamber is abuzz with diplomats exchanging views and awaiting the start of the meeting, which will be chaired by Brazil, which holds the presidency for the month of October.

10.07: The 9451st meeting of the Council is called to order...