Israel-Hamas war: Stakes are astronomically high, UN Security Council hears

A general view during a meeting on the conflict between Israel and Hamas at UN headquarters in New York. Picture: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

A general view during a meeting on the conflict between Israel and Hamas at UN headquarters in New York. Picture: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Published Oct 24, 2023


The UN Security Council heard appeals and reiterations for a ceasefire and the end to the Israeli occupation on Tuesday as it held a quarterly open debate on the Middle East in New York.

State of Palestine Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki urged for the killing to stop.

“We are here today to stop the killing and the massacres committed against the Palestinian people. The ongoing massacres that are systematically and savagely perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people must be stopped.

“The Security Council is obliged to stop this (the violence); the global community has a duty under law to stop them. It's our human duty to stop them.”

Al-Maliki said the State of Palestine calls for the cessation of hostilities, a ceasefire, to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and to give the Palestinian people their inalienable rights.

Lynn Hastings, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian Territory, said they will do their part to make sure there will be a continuous flow of deliveries at the Rafah crossing.

“While there are trucks of aid being delivered, the deliveries do not include fuel. We urge Israel to bring food and fuel back to pre-conflict levels.”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the Security Council on Tuesday that he was "deeply concerned about the clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza".

"At a crucial moment like this, it is vital to be clear on principles, starting with the fundamental principle of respecting and protecting civilians," Guterres told the 15-member council.

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, highlighted the importance of bringing hostilities to a halt.

“It is crucial that we, as an international, united community, employ all collective efforts to prevent further hostilities. The stakes are astronomically high, and I appeal for relevant parties to act responsibly. All miscalculations can have immeasurable consequences.”

While many of the members of the council called for a ceasefire, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said they would not stop.

“This massacre on October 7 will go down as worse than that of the violence done by ISIS. Hamas are the new Nazis. Just as the civilised world defeated Nazis and Isis, we, as the civilised world, must defeat Hamas.

“This war was imposed on us, but it is not only Israel's war. It’s a war on the free world. The free world should remember that on October 7th, war was imposed on Israel. Next, it will be on anyone else’s door. This war is for life, and it will be won.”