Palestine/Israel: Hundreds of Innocent Lives Taken – UN General Assembly President

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  • United Nations published this video item, entitled “Palestine/Israel: Hundreds of Innocent Lives Taken – UN General Assembly President” – below is their description.

    Remarks by Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, at the General Assembly 67th plenary meeting on Middle East, Palestine.

    “Distinguished Ministers,

    Mr. Secretary-General,


    Dear colleagues,

    As indicated in my letter dated 17 May, I convened this formal plenary of the General Assembly in line with the request from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Arab Group to hold a joint debate on the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East. Subsequently, the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement informed me of their decision to join this request as well.

    As we meet at the General Assembly today, the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate. We have witnessed the worst violence in years. Hundreds of innocent lives have already been taken. The suffering is immense. It is inhumane and simply unbearable. I am extremely concerned about the protection of civilians, particularly amidst continued bombardment of Gaza and for international humanitarian law. I condemn all attacks against civilians and religious sites.

    It is particularly heart-breaking that the escalation of the attacks began at the end of the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan. The raid on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is one of the holiest places on earth for 1.8 billion Muslims, was shocking. I once again urge display of respect, to all places of worship, including Al-Aqsa Mosque / Al-Haram al-Sharif.

    Since the onset of the current escalation, nearly two weeks ago, the UN has reported that over 200 Palestinians, including 63 children and 35 women, have been killed in Gaza. In the last 24 hours alone, there were six Palestinian fatalities in Gaza.

    The situation in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is also dire, with the UN reporting that 25 Palestinians, including four children, have been killed. Three of these fatalities, including one child, took place in the last 24 hours.

    Thousands of Palestinians have been injured across Gaza and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Thousands have been rendered homeless, seeking refuge elsewhere including in mosques and UNRWA schools.

    Civilians are also impacted in Israel, with fatalities and hundreds of injuries reported.

    My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have been killed – may they rest in peace. And my wishes of speedy recovery for the injured.

    Operating in an increasingly complex world, the principal organs of the United Nations have endured challenges, the impact and magnitude of which, the architects of multilateralism could not have predicted. The UN has not always met the challenge of the day – and we must be honest about this fact. It would be a disservice to the people we serve to pretend otherwise.

    Of course, the counter-factual is hard to establish – what the world might have been like without the United Nations – the conflicts not averted, the human suffering not eased. In any case, imperfect as it may be, the primacy and relevance of the United Nations remains unmatched after more than seventy-five years.

    Consider for example, the General Debate. It is one of the few engagements on the global calendar that has stood the test of time. This year more Heads of State and Government participated in the General Debate than ever before, proving that when the world is in crisis, leaders turn to one another here in the United Nations to promote solutions.

    Indeed, every day, I see the impact of the framework and resources of the United Nations on work in pursuit of peace, universal human rights, and sustainable development.

    At a time of deepening inequalities within and between countries, multilateral actors and partners are working tirelessly to address the multiplicity of threats facing the people we serve. Through constructive debate and negotiations, ideas develop into norms, which in turn drive policy development and implementation, with a view to advancing the course of humanity.

    It was in the General Assembly that the notion of universal human rights was first imagined, and it was here, in 2015, that the world pledged to leave no one behind in achieving Sustainable Development by 2030…”

    Full Remarks [as delivered]:

    United Nations YouTube Channel

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