Sierra Leone Statement at the UN Security Council Briefing On The Situation In The Middle East (2334)


Thank you, Mr. President.

I would also like to thank Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland for his thorough briefing on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2334 (2016) and the current situation in the Occupied Palestine Territory overall.

We acknowledge the report of the Secretary General on this subject and note the lack of implementation of the provisions of resolution 2334 (2016). Reports of plans for construction of housing units by the Jerusalem District Planning Committee across the Green Line in occupied East Jerusalem, illegal outposts in the occupied West Bank, and demolitions and seizures of Palestinian-owned structures across the OPT, are serious violations of this resolution, and pose  risks to peace efforts between the Israel and Palestine. 

The continued hostilities in the Gaza Strip for the past 8 months, and the volatile security situation across the Middle East undermines the prospects for durable and sustainable peace in the region. It is crucial at this stage therefore that the parties to the conflict in the Gaza Strip adhere to the call for a permanent ceasefire without any further delay. It is also important that attacks between Israel and other parties across the region in Lebanon,  Yemen, Iran and elsewhere cease immediately.

Since 7th October 2023, there have been reports of over 37,000 Palestinian fatalities in the Gaza strip, as well as over 1200 fatalities in Israel.  The consistent attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, including humanitarian aid workers and volunteers serving in the region, are outright violations of resolutions of this Council.  This Council must continue to strongly condemn these violations to international human rights. 

Sierra Leone remains deeply concerned about the significant rise in the scale and depth of humanitarian needs in the Gaza Strip, which are being exacerbated by severe access restrictions, including the closure of key crossings, denials and delays in processing humanitarian relief access. The destruction of essential infrastructure such as roads, and the presence of debris and unexploded ordnance in the armed conflict further limits the capacity of humanitarian organizations to deliver vital assistance at scale to the suffering population.

We empathize with the 1.7 million internally displaced men, women and children in the Gaza Strip, crammed in congested areas and exposed to unfavorable weather conditions. Unsanitary conditions, overcrowding in makeshift shelters, and inadequate water have resulted in increases in water-borne diseases. 

Mr. President, 

At this crucial stage of finding common ground for peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, the situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem demands our sustained attention. Recent developments between settlers and Palestinians indicate the potential for possible escalation and increased casualties.

To this end, permit me to emphasize the following points in ensuring compliance with resolution 2334(2016):

Firstly, we reaffirm that any attempt to expand settlements activities in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution.

Secondly, we reiterate our calls for parties to the conflict to stop all violence against civilians and honor their obligations as outlined in international law, including international humanitarian law and all ICJ Orders issued on this matter. In light of this, we demand the safe release of the remaining 129 hostages held by Hamas on the 7th October 2023 without further delay.

Also, parties to the conflict are reminded to refrain from unilateral and provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric that undermines trust, erodes confidence and limits the space for dialogue and negotiations.  These actions are counterproductive to the aim of having two effective states co-existing side by side. Protracted military attacks and restrictive administrative measures being deployed by Israel against Palestine ultimately destroys its ability to develop the good governance, effective security and sustainable socio-economic development conditions necessary to support peace and security in the region. 

In conclusion, my delegation urges parties to conflict to respect and abide by the decisions of this Council as outlined in all its resolutions, including 2334, 2712, 2720, 2728 and 2735. We emphasize the binding nature of all the resolutions and the implications associated with non-compliance under international law.  

I thank you.


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