United Nations Security Council briefing on recent developments in Gaza
For more than seven decades, this Council has struggled with the question of Palestine and has been unable to deliver a just and fair solution that assures for the people of Israel and Palestine an opportunity to live side by side, in peace and in security. We are dismayed by the perpetual cycle of violence that fades, with each passing day, the vision of the two State solution and which makes the prospect for peace and stability in the region a mirage.
We welcome the present agreement reached under the auspices of friendly States in the region, for the restoration of the ceasefire. We nonetheless count, with regret, the many ceasefires that have been crafted and broken and have had to be restored, and believe that until both Israel and Palestine understand that neither of their narratives is a complete picture of the reality, this seemingly intractable conflict, could persist at great cost to all of us for many years to come. We therefore hope that the positions of both sides can be adjusted peacefully and believe that it is only through a sober return to the negotiating table that the strong emotional feelings of dispossession, prolonged occupation and denial of statehood by Palestinians can be reconciled with the Israeli fears over terrorism and existential threats from its neighbouring brothers in Palestine and the region.
As a country with pacific objectives, Ghana does not accept preemptive use of force under any circumstances since it risks the proliferation of lawless use of force – a position we have held
for many years. While acknowledging the State of Israel and her citizens’ right to equal measures of security, freedom, opportunity, and dignity, we are deeply concerned by the violence in the Gaza strip which came on the back of escalatory attacks in the West Bank. We condemn in no uncertain terms, the violent attacks which have resulted so far in the death of more than 40 Palestinians with several injured. We equally condemn the over 1,100 rockets fired by the Islamic Jihad into Israel. These retaliatory attacks only escalate tensions and prejudice the peace that is urgently needed on the ground. Non-violence is a principle that we expect the Palestinian authorities to impress over all militant groups if the peace process is to have any chance of resuscitation. We join the Secretary-General and others in calling for the full respect of the agreement reached for the cessation of hostilities, for the sake of the civilian population on both sides who have suffered such terrible destruction, unnecessary pain and irredeemable loss.
Ghana is also deeply concerned about the dire humanitarian situation caused by the recent border closures in the West Bank and the fifteen years blockade of Gaza with its adverse impact on women and children. We call on Israel to offer real guarantees of safe passage and access to humanitarian convoys and relief workers to provide needed assistance. We believe that there is no legal or moral justification for indiscriminate attacks targeting civilians and non-combatants, mostly children and women who are the most vulnerable. We call for urgent international investigations of the civilian casualties that have occurred and for accountability to be established.
In conclusion, I wish to state that, as a Council we have a duty not turn our backs on the bloodshed, suffering and hardship that have continued to afflict Palestinian civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, or the danger from rockets that continues to threaten the Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip. We must therefore reinvigorate the tracks of engagement for the Middle East Peace Process without delay.
I thank you for your attention.