9484th Meeting (AM)

Two Thirds of Gaza War Dead Are Women and Children, Briefers Say, as Security Council Debates Their Plight

Delegates Praise Hostage Deal, Renew Call for Humanitarian Ceasefire

Briefers at the Security Council today spoke of the disastrous situation for women and children in the Gaza Strip due to the Israel-Hamas war, highlighting acute stresses and needs of mothers and declaring Gaza to be the most dangerous place in the world to be a child.

Sima Sami Bahous, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), recalled that women and girls pay the highest price when armed conflict erupts.  Since 7 October, when Hamas fighters attacked Israel, 67 per cent of the more than 14,000 people killed in Gaza are estimated to be women and children.  “That is two mothers killed every hour and seven women every two hours,” she said.  “We mourn them all.”

Every day, 180 women are giving birth without water, painkillers, anaesthesia for Caesarean sections, electricity for incubators or medical supplies, she said.  Mothers, meanwhile, mix baby formula with contaminated water — when they find it — and go without food so that their children can live another day.  “Women in Gaza have told us that they pray for peace, but that if peace does not come, they pray for a quick death, in their sleep, with their children in their arms,” she said.  “It should shame us all that any mother, anywhere, has such a prayer.”

Catherine Russell, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), called for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire, saying that pauses are not enough for children to survive.  “No place is safe in the Gaza Strip”, she stressed.  While UNICEF is positioned to quickly scale up the delivery of humanitarian aid, more resources are needed to meet growing needs.  Describing the Gaza Strip is the world’s most dangerous place to be a child, she said that an unprecedented 40 per cent of deaths in Gaza have been children. She also noted that 35 Israeli children have been killed and more than 30 held hostage since 7 October.

Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said that 5,500 pregnant women are expected to give birth in December in Gaza. “At a moment when new life is beginning, what should be a moment of joy is overshadowed by death and destruction, horror and fear.”  Overcrowded conditions and insufficient clean water and sanitation are creating multiple health risks, including for women who have no access to menstrual hygiene. Meanwhile, in the West Bank, where settler violence is increasing, more than 8,000 women are expected to give birth next month, she said.

In the ensuing debate, Council members renewed calls for a ceasefire while also welcoming an agreement, announced on 21 November, that will see women and children held by Hamas — all taken hostage on 7 October — released in exchange for Palestinian women and children detained in Israel.  Several speakers added that women must be part of any peace process.

The representative of the United Arab Emirates, whose delegation — along with Malta — requested today’s meeting, said that war disproportionately impacts women and children — and that Gaza is no exception.  While calling for a ceasefire, she said that Council resolution 2712 (2023), which calls for extended humanitarian pauses, must be urgently implemented.  Malta’s delegate added that women human rights defenders, activists and journalists must be protected and gender-related issues and perspectives included in the Council’s work.

Gabon’s delegate warned, however, that the hope generated by resolution 2712 (2023) is shrinking daily as fighting continues, adding to the terrible human and material toll in both Gaza and the occupied West Bank.  All parties must exercise restraint and respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, he said.

France’s delegate said that civilian infrastructure, humanitarian facilities and health-care personnel in Gaza must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law.  The United States’ representative said that the deal to release at least 50 hostages, including Americans, who were taken by Hamas, must be fully implemented.

The Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, speaking at the end of the meeting, said that the 21 November truce agreement will save hundreds of Palestinian children.  It cannot, however, be just a pause before massacres start again.  “We believe in justice, not vengeance”, he said. “We should not be blind to each other’s wounds, traumas or history, nor dismiss them.”  Respect must be built on a common vision, where one’s life is not at the other’s expense, he added.

Israel’s delegate said that the briefers ignored the fact that 1,300 Israelis were massacred on 7 October and another 8,650 are still hospitalized. They also intentionally refused to brief on acts of sexual violence and rape of Israeli women and children, he stated, adding that today’s briefings made it clear that “Israeli victims do not matter”.



SIMA SAMI BAHOUS, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), welcomed the news that 50 hostages, all women and children, will be released in return for the release of 150 Palestinian women and children.  She hoped for a permanent truce, lasting relief for Gazans, and for Hamas to release all hostages.  Recalling that women and girls pay the highest price in conflicts, she said that 67 per cent of the more than 14,000 people killed in Gaza since 7 October are thought to be women and children.  “That is two mothers killed every hour and seven women every two hours.  We mourn them all.”  Moreover, 180 women are delivering babies every day without water, painkillers, anaesthesia for Caesarean sections, electricity for incubators or medical supplies.  Yet, women continue caring for children, the sick and the elderly, mixing baby formula with contaminated water when they find it and going without food so that their children can live another day.  “Women in Gaza have told us that they pray for peace, but that if peace does not come, they pray for a quick death, in their sleep, with their children in their arms.  It should shame us all that any mother, anywhere, has such a prayer.”

Since this latest escalation, the estimate of women and girls in dire need of humanitarian assistance in Gaza has gone up from 650,000 to 800,000, she said.  There is also an escalation in the West Bank, where the demolition of public infrastructure, revocation of work permits, increased settler violence and detentions have significantly impacted the lives and livelihoods of women.  She expressed alarm at disturbing reports of gender-based and sexual violence and called for all such acts to be fully investigated with the utmost priority. Gaza’s only two women’s shelters are now closed, while women-led organizations continue to operate in Gaza under severe constraints.  They must have whatever they need to continue their crucial work, she said.

She said UN-Women will initially cover food and cash assistance to 14,000 women-headed households, one third of all women headed households in Gaza.  It will work with the Egyptian Red Crescent and the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization to advance distribution of items identified by Gazan women as priority needs.  UN-Women is providing flexible financial support to women’s organizations across the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund has launched a new appeal to mobilize an additional $10 million.  She encouraged donors to increase financing. 

She welcomed last week’s Council resolution and called for its immediate implementation, adding however that like more than 100 resolutions on the Palestinian question since 1948, it made no reference to gender issues.  She urged the Council to include the voices of Palestinian and Israeli women working for peace, to recognize their leadership and call for their meaningful participation in any negotiation efforts, recalling that women remain the largest and most reliable constituency for peace.  She called for a ceasefire, for the remaining hostages to be released unconditionally, and an immediate end to the current siege, beginning with ensuring access to water. The women in Gaza feel completely abandoned, she said, adding:  “They see that the trickle of aid does not meet the ocean of need.  More than anything, they tell us they want the violence to stop — now.”

CATHERINE RUSSELL, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), called for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire, saying that pauses are not enough for children to survive and for humanitarian workers to deliver aid.  The Council must do everything in its power to end this catastrophe for children, while the parties to the conflict must heed the call for a negotiated political solution.  Gaza’s destruction and killing civilians will not bring peace to the region.  The war must end, and the killing of children must stop immediately.  The parties must abide by resolution 2712 (2023), provide safe and unrestricted humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip, allow the delivery of fuel, water, sanitation and hygiene supplies, tents and tarpaulins.  They must also ensure voluntary movement and safe passage for all civilians seeking emergency shelter and to reopen all water lines into the Gaza Strip.

UNICEF strongly opposes establishing so-called “safe zones” as they would lack the infrastructure or protection measures needed for large numbers of civilians, she said.  “No place is safe in the Gaza Strip” and attacks on southern Gaza must be avoided.  Further escalation in the south would exponentially worsen the humanitarian situation, causing more displacement and squeezing civilians into an even smaller area. She asked the parties to go beyond what international humanitarian and human rights law requires to protect children and civilian infrastructure, and called as well for the unconditional and immediate release of all civilian hostages in the Gaza Strip.

UNICEF is positioned to quickly scale up the delivery of humanitarian aid, but more resources are needed to meet growing needs, she said, noting that more than 1.7 million people in Gaza are displaced, half of whom are children.  In addition, UNICEF estimates that 450,000 children in the West Bank need humanitarian assistance.  The Gaza Strip is the world’s most dangerous place to be a child, with more than 5,300 Palestinian children killed thus far — amounting to more than 115 a day — and more than 1,200 children under rubble or unaccounted for.  At the same time, 35 Israeli children have been killed and more than 30 held hostage since 7 October, she said, calling on the parties to safely release all abducted children.

All one million children in Gaza are now food insecure, facing a catastrophic nutrition crisis, she continued.  UNICEF projects that child wasting, the most life-threatening form of malnutrition, could increase by nearly 30 per cent.  Water production capacity has plummeted to five per cent of normal output, as water services have stopped functioning and sanitation services have collapsed.  More than two-thirds of hospitals are no longer functioning. Hospitals should never be attacked or used by combatants, she emphasized, noting that thousands of displaced people are sheltering in them.  She also condemned all attacks on schools, as nearly 90 per cent of schools have sustained damage and nearly 80 per cent are being used as shelters.  She expressed particular concern over the increasing numbers of displaced children separated from their families and arriving unaccompanied at hospitals.  The latest war’s true cost will be measured in children’s lives, and the cost will continue growing exponentially without an end to fighting and full humanitarian access, she said.

NATALIA KANEM, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said that women and children, representing about two-thirds of those killed in Gaza, pay the steepest price in conflicts.  While 5,500 pregnant women are expected to give birth in December, approximately 180 women give birth every day under appalling conditions with their children’s future uncertain.  “At a moment when new life is beginning, what should be a moment of joy is overshadowed by death and destruction, horror and fear,” she said, adding that limited access to health care and emergency obstetric care puts to risk the lives of women facing obstetric complications. She expressed concern over the lack of access to postpartum care, water, sanitation, and nutrition for the more than 7,000 women who gave birth since 7 October.  As a result of the attacks on health facilities, including the lack of fuel, electricity and supplies, half of all hospitals have shut down with the remainder at breaking point, she said.

With more than 2.2 million people in Gaza, the entirety of which is besieged and denied access to the essentials for survival, more than 1.6 million are living in overcrowded conditions without sufficient clean water and sanitation, creating multiple health risks, including for women who have no access to menstrual hygiene, and the pregnant or recently delivered.  The lack of food and water will adversely impact the health and well-being of pregnant and breastfeeding women because of their higher daily water and caloric intake requirements.  In the West Bank, meanwhile, where settler violence is increasing, around 8,000 women are expected to give birth next month.  The Fund is concerned about the protection risks facing women living under these conditions, especially gender-based violence as “lack of access and the loss of communications limit our ability to deliver the support and services that gender-based violence survivors require”.

Hospitals, health workers and civilians must never be targets, given their special protection status under international humanitarian law, she continued.  She highlighted the Fund’s response to the humanitarian situation in Gaza, including five truckloads of reproductive health kits containing pharmaceuticals, equipment and supplies for emergency obstetric and neonatal care.  The Fund is also providing cash transfers to pregnant and breastfeeding women, breast cancer patients and survivors of gender-based violence.  However, operational constraints and the fact the UNFPA staff and partners are also affected by the conflict jeopardize the Fund’s efforts.

She called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas, welcoming the recent deal on the release of hostages and underscored the need for a continuous and sufficient flow of humanitarian assistance to all those in need, especially women and children.  Civilians and their critical infrastructure should be protected, as should humanitarian workers.  “The fate of humanity does not belong in the hands of those wielding weapons. It rests with women and young people and allies standing together waging peace”, she said, calling on the Council to “do everything in your power to make that peace happen”.


LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates), describing today’s briefings as painful, said that this war taking place is in a small yet highly populated area, with its largest city, Gaza City, more densely populated than New York.  Within this 25-mile-long strip, 12,000 locations have already been hit by airstrikes, including sites shielded by the laws of war, such as schools, hospitals and refugee camps.  History shows war disproportionately impacts women and children, and Gaza is no exception. In Israel, too, parents have grieved the unfathomable trauma of children taken hostage by Hamas, she said, warning also of the danger of antisemitism and Islamophobia unleashed by the conflict.  ”Ultimately, only a ceasefire will prevent further violence and suffering,” she said, adding that in the meantime, resolution 2712 (2023) must be urgently implemented, together with safe, sustained and at-scale humanitarian assistance throughout the Gaza Strip.

FRANCESCA MARIA GATT (Malta), emphasizing the need for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors, said that women in Gaza are among the first responders.  Support for women’s civil society organizations must be given urgent priority and women human rights defenders, activists and journalists must be protected.  Gender-related issues and perspectives must be included in the Council’s considerations, she added.  The killing of children, attacks on schools and hospitals, abductions and denial of humanitarian access are grave violations against children and violations of international law.  She said that she is deeply distressed by the death of premature babies at Al-Shifa Hospital and deeply concerned by unrest in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Looking ahead, she said that peace efforts must include women as legitimate stakeholders and effective peacebuilders.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) said that the deal to release at least 50 hostages, including Americans who were taken by Hamas, must be fully implemented.  All Council members should support its aims.  However, while it is a real cause for hope, the deal does not undo the conflict’s devastating toll on women, children and all civilians in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.  Noting the “dark reality of conflict that Hamas set in motion,” she said that many Council members seem to have forgotten or have attempted to erase the horrors of 7 October and cannot unequivocally condemn Hamas’s acts of terror. This moment tests the Council’s capacity to empathize with the suffering of all — both the victims of 7 October and innocent Palestinian civilians.  She urged the scaling up of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, even as Hamas is unconcerned about protecting civilians as it deliberately puts them in harm’s way. Still, this does not lessen Israel’s responsibility to protect civilians, and any harm to civilians sheltering at protected sites is unacceptable, she stated.  Even at this perilous moment, she called for a future where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said that the mass killings, maiming of children and attacks on hospitals are of utmost concern.  So, too, are attacks on schools, religious sites and United Nations facilities.  Denying humanitarian access to children is unacceptable, he said, noting that more children have died in the past two months than over the entire period combined since the conflict began.  He requested the Secretary-General and his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict monitor the situation and keep the Council informed.  The Council should also invite civil society and women to brief its members on the first-hand state of things.  It is a moral and humanitarian imperative to end the conflict, as no humanitarian pause can change this unacceptable situation.  Only an immediate ceasefire will do this and ensure the passage of humanitarian aid.  He added that the important agreement to exchange hostages was possible not because of resolution 2712 (2023) but the result of the intervention of Qatar and Egypt.  The Russian Federation hopes it will be enforced and lead to a de-escalation of the situation.

NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) hailed the agreement to release hostages and establish a truce, noting the role of the United States, Qatar and Egypt in those negotiations.  He condemned the terrorist attacks of Hamas and other terrorist groups, adding that the Security Council must do the same in unequivocal terms.  The humanitarian situation in Gaza is catastrophic, with women and children accounting for two thirds of the victims.  Civilian infrastructure, humanitarian facilities and health-care personnel must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law, he said, condemning all shelling of civilians and civilian infrastructure.  “The extremely grave nature of the situation in Gaza must not allow us to forget the extent of the violence perpetrated against Palestinian population in the West Bank,” he said.  “France demands that the Israeli authorities make that violence stop immediately.”  He also expressed France’s commitment to prevent the conflict from spilling over to the rest of the region.

PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland), calling for full implementation of resolution 2712 (2023), said that it is unacceptable that two thirds of victims in Gaza are women and children and that two mothers are killed every hour.  “Given their vulnerability and specific needs, the protection of children is particularly pivotal.”  All civilians must have access to services essential to their survival, such as drinking water, food and electricity.  Access to medical care is also essential, particularly for pregnant women.  There must be, at all costs, an avoidance of an even more serious escalation or regional conflagration, of which she sees worrying signs of both in the occupied West Bank and in Lebanon.  She called for Israel to adhere to international humanitarian law and for all violations of such law to be investigated.

YAMANAKA OSAMU (Japan) expressed deep concern at an unprecedented deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.  About 575,000 women and girls lack essential reproductive health services, leading to insufficient care during births and premature infant deaths, he said, emphasizing the importance of ensuring protection of medical personnel engaged in medical duties in line with relevant United Nations resolutions.  Women and children account for nearly 70 per cent of the death toll in Gaza, he said, adding:  “No other place on earth is as horrifying as Gaza right now.”  The protection of women and children must be prioritized and rapid humanitarian access must be ensured.  Japan condemns horrifying terror attacks committed by Hamas, he said, demanding the immediate release of all remaining hostages.  He also called for all parties to act in accordance with international law, underscoring the need to relaunch diplomatic negotiations, leading to a two-State solution.

JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) said that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is acute.  Too many people, including women and children, are losing their lives.  It is necessary for all sides to uphold international humanitarian law.  He welcomed news of a deal to release hostages and described a pause in the fighting as a crucial step.  “The UK welcomes the immense international cooperation, including efforts from Qatar, Egypt, the US and Israel that has led to an agreement being reached,” he said, adding that the pause provides an important opportunity for life-saving aid to reach Gaza.  He reiterated a call for increased land access through the Rafah crossing, and the full opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing, to get critical goods into Gaza at much greater speed.  “We continue to press Israel to authorise the entry of at least 200,000 litres of fuel per day,” he said.

FERIT HOXHA (Albania) welcomed the agreement to release some hostages captured by Hamas and reiterated a call to release all hostages. The four-day pause, also called for in resolution 2712 (2023), should be used to ensure delivery of critical humanitarian aid for the civilians in Gaza.  Hamas’s horrific crimes cannot be forgotten or relativized and should not go unpunished, he said, acknowledging that this is no easy task because that group’s military capabilities are deeply embedded within Gaza. “Wars, even the most carefully planned ones, are always a tragic event.”  However, any military strategy that ignores the human costs could ultimately end up having adverse effects, he said, calling on Israel to fully abide by international humanitarian law and to respond to terror in line with the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.

SÉRGIO FRANÇA DANESE (Brazil) said that today’s meeting is taking place under the shadow of a humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions.  “The situation in the Gaza Strip, especially for women and children, is nothing short of a calamity.”  Among those most at risk are newborns, infants and pregnant women, many of whom enter labour under appalling conditions.  He noted distressing reports of women undergoing Caesarean sections without proper anaesthesia.  Meanwhile, children face constant threats to their safety and well-being, with psychological and physical impact on entire generations of Palestinian and Israeli children.  He deplored recent attacks on two schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), resulting in the tragic loss of life, predominantly of women and children, and reiterated the inviolability of such facilities.

DOMINGOS ESTÊVÃO FERNANDES (Mozambique) said that it is the responsibility of Council members to maximize efforts and implement a coordinated response to save civilian lives in the Gaza Strip. Describing as a “positive signal” the potential agreement between the Government of Israel and Hamas on the release of hostages, he said that it could lead to a humanitarian ceasefire facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance.  There should be a unanimous call by the Council in support of these actions, he said, underscoring that the humanitarian assistance to Gaza should be scaled up to match the scale of the humanitarian crisis on the ground.  The parties need to demonstrate leadership, wisdom and courage to work towards a long-lasting solution allowing both Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side in peace.  Council members should exert their influence for this noble and ideal goal,” he added.

HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador) said that women suffer the disproportionate burden of conflicts — and the explosion of violence unleashed by Hamas’s terrorist attacks is no exception.  The acts of sexual and gender-based violence on 7 October were particularly abominable.  He added that the situation for civilians in Gaza is desperate.  It is spine-chilling to hear that children are risking death due to a lack of electricity and that women are undergoing obstetric procedures and Caesarean sections without antibiotics or anaesthesia.  All parties must uphold the norms of international humanitarian law, civilians must never be used as human shields and all hostages must be released immediately and unconditionally.  Humanitarian aid must reach those in need, under an immediate and sustained humanitarian truce.  He added that resolution 2712 (2023) must be immediately implemented and that the announcement on 21 November on the release of hostages is a hopeful first step.

HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) condemning the horrendous attacks of Hamas against Israel on 7 October, expressed concern about the high number of civilian casualties arising from Israel’s military response.  He urged “a strong recalibration of approach” and welcomed the decision for a temporary ceasefire.  Further mutual measures could reinforce respect for international humanitarian law by the parties, safeguard hospitals and schools and facilitate humanitarian access to prevent a potential health catastrophe.  Efforts to build confidence should also work towards reducing attacks on UNRWA installations.  Calling for an immediate halt to airstrikes beyond agreed deadlines, he emphasized that holding civilian hostages violates their fundamental human rights.  In this context, the Council must commit to ensuring the protection of civilians in strict compliance with international humanitarian law, he added.

MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said that the hope generated by the Council’s adoption of resolution 2712 (2023) on 15 November is shrinking daily as fighting continues, adding to the terrible human and material toll in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.  All parties must exercise restraint and respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, he said, also underscoring the need for a greater commitment to accountability for serious violations of international law.  The collective punishment of civilian populations is unacceptable and contrary to international humanitarian law.  There should be unimpeded, safe, and sustainable access to the delivery and distribution of essential goods and services to millions of people in need.  Noting the recent agreement on hostages, he called for their unconditional release as well as a broadened scope for the agreement to include hope for children.

ZHANG JUN (China), Council President for November, speaking in his national capacity, said that the Palestine-Israel situation has been a concern for the entire world.  Today’s briefings further highlight the gravity of the situation and the urgency of saving lives.  After Israel’s evacuation order, 80 per cent of the population in Gaza has been forced to flee their homes, while the medical system has completely collapsed.  Civilian facilities, including hospitals, refugee camps and UN-run schools, are targets of frequent attacks and there is nowhere for the children in Gaza to run.  In the past 46 days, more than 5,000 children have been killed.  This must not be allowed to continue to happen, he said.  “We must step up efforts to promote an immediate end to hostilities,” he said, calling resolution 2712 (2023) an initial step of great significance to avoid a greater humanitarian catastrophe.

RIYAD H. MANSOUR, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, welcomed yesterday’s truce agreement, saying it will save hundreds of Palestinian children.  He called for a definitive end to the criminal assault on the Palestinian people, as well as a way forward that averts this aggression’s resumption to protect civilians and prevent regional spillover.  This cannot just be a pause before massacres start again.  Also, while Israel claims to respect the laws of war, its true intention is the destruction of the Palestinian nation and its legitimate aspirations.  Resolution 2712 (2023) rejected the forced displacement of civilians, but Israel’s true plans are the forced transfer of Palestinians.  By depriving 2.3 million people the means for survival, Israel is telling them they have a choice:  “leave this land or leave this Earth”.  He pointed to Israeli officials calling Palestinians “human animals,” imposing a siege, calling for their annihilation, bombing indiscriminately and deploying brutal force.

While not denying the suffering of Israeli families on 7 October, he said Israel is not faced with an existential threat as Palestine is.  “Israel is not being destroyed; Palestine is.”  In the General Assembly, Israel’s Prime Minister presented his vision for the new Middle East, wiping Palestine off the map.  What is happening in Gaza and the West Bank is an attempt to make this map a reality; Netanyahu must be stopped.  Despair, destruction, displacement and denial of Palestinian rights will never bring security to Israel.  The Palestinian people are entitled to freedom and dignity on their land and in their lifetime; the Nakba has to end.  He called for a different path where the Palestinian people are not deprived of their rights and no one denies the other’s existence.  With two States side by side in peace and security, in line with Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, no Palestinians or Israelis would be killed and would instead enjoy equal measures of freedom, peace and security.  The conflict has no military solution, only a political one.  There is no peace possible in the Middle East without resolving the question of Palestine, and there is no coexistence with supremacy or subjugation.  Unequivocally opposing the killing of civilians, his delegation remains committed to the rule of international law.  “We believe in justice, not vengeance”, he said.  “We should not be blind to each other’s wounds, traumas or history, nor dismiss them”. Respect must be built on a common vision, where one’s life is not at the other’s expense.

GILAD MENASHE ERDAN (Israel) said for almost 50 days, the Council has not advanced a solution related to its mandate.  Amidst the one-sided condemnations, suggestions and calls for calm, there has been no single real solution.  If the Council cannot suggest a solution that also ensures the safety of Israelis, then it fails to address the security of both Israelis and Gazans alike.  The war can end today if Hamas returns all hostages and turns over all those who were responsible for the massacre.  No country will agree to anything else.  The hostage deal struck on 21 November shows Israel is ready to take far-reaching concrete steps, releasing convicted terrorists for women and children.  However, when the pause ends, his country will continue its goal of eliminating Hamas’s terror capabilities. He hoped the Council would maximize the pause to advance a solution to end the war.

The Council should tell the truth to Gazans that Hamas is solely responsible for their situation and, when that group is gone, their future will become bright, he said.  He asked where the Organization, UNICEF and UNFPA had been during the past 16 years when children were indoctrinated, adding that there is yet no condemnation against Hamas’s brainwashing and attacks.  “You have all suddenly woken up, but sadly not for the right reasons.”  He wondered how many reports UNICEF has written about the Hamas terror summer camps to indoctrinate children, especially considering that Gaza children have been taught that murdering Israelis is their life goal.  He went on to say that while the briefers mentioned hostages in Gaza, they ignored the fact that 1,300 Israelis were massacred with another 8,650 still hospitalized.  They also intentionally refused to brief on acts of sexual violence and rape of Israeli women and children.  Today’s briefings make clear that “Israeli victims do not matter”.  To the United Nations and its agencies, Israeli women are not women and its children not children.  The Organization refuses to accept Israeli numbers or statistics, claiming it cannot verify their facts, but it trusts the fabrications supplied by Palestine terrorists and directly from Hamas in Gaza, treating it as God’s truth without any of verification, he said, adding that this is why Israel calls out the United Nations.

For information media. Not an official record.