UN Security Council Briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question
Carolyn Oppong-Ntiri (Mrs)
Deputy Permanent Representative
December 08, 2023
Let me begin by thanking you for convening this meeting. I also thank the Secretary-General for his briefing and his intervention and efforts in helping to find a solution to the ongoing war between the State of Israel and Hamas.
The resumption of hostilities, which followed the end of the temporary humanitarian pause that was brokered by the State of Qatar and the United States has been of grave concern to Ghana. We are equally worried about the challenge of committing to the spirit of the humanitarian pauses and the obligation to preserve civilian lives and infrastructure, which makes a humanitarian ceasefire more necessary now, as called for by the Secretary-General. It is in that regard that we welcome the decision by the Secretary-General to invoke Article 99 of the UN Charter, which has only been invoked four times in the over seven decades of history of the United Nations, the last time being in 1989.
We note that the ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict, has unfortunately taken a heavy toll on the civilian population on both sides and, consequently, created a serious security and humanitarian crisis not only in Gaza but also in Israel and the other Occupied Palestinian Territories. It is regrettable that civilians and non-combatants, especially those residing in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Israeli communities along the border with Gaza, are bearing the brunt of the violence.
We are concerned that the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza has rapidly worsened in the last few days. Unfortunately, the use of heavy weaponry and the bombardment of Gaza has made it extremely difficult for humanitarian actors to have access to many of the internally displaced people, including, the aged, pregnant women, and children who face significant challenges, including limited access to essential services such as healthcare, clean water, and electricity.
Ghana, like all other delegations, is worried about the decision by the Israeli government to expand its ground operations to cover all parts of the Gaza Strip. The decision puts the lives of the civilian population in the densely populated Gaza Strip at serious risk. We note that the destruction of critical infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, exacerbates the suffering of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.
We join in the appeal by the Secretary-General and all Council members for both Israeli Security Forces and Hamas to prioritize and put in adequate measures to protect civilians on both sides, including by taking constant care to spare them in their military operations as per the principles of international humanitarian law governing the legal use of force in an armed conflict.
The ongoing war presents complex security and humanitarian concerns that require immediate attention by this Council. The security concerns of both Israel and the Palestinian people must be addressed.
International cooperation, direct diplomatic negotiations and a commitment by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to engage in frank dialogue are essential to address the underlying causes of the conflict, and for achieving lasting peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.
The security of Israel and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people for their homeland lies in a deepened commitment to a negotiated two-state solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders with Jerusalem as the shared capital. We call Council members with moderating influence on both Israel and Hamas to use all means possible to heed the calls of the international community for steps leading to peace and an eventual settlement of the conflict.
In closing, we wish to reiterate our long-held belief that it is only through a comprehensive and inclusive approach that the Middle East question can be settled.
I thank you.