Geneva, May 18. 2018
As delivered by Ambassador Harald Aspelund, Permanent Representative of Iceland.
Thank you, Mr President,
Iceland is deeply concerned over the situation on the border between Israel and Gaza and regret the loss of lives. We urge political leaders on both sides to exercise restraint and avoid further violence and casualties.
The right to freedom of expression is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and while we would like to stress that Israel has the right to defend itself under attack and secure its borders against violent incursion, the exercise of that right must be proportionate.
The use of live ammunition and of number of fatal casualties raises serious questions on the proportionality of the response, and call for an independent and transparent investigation into the incidents forthwith.
At the same time, we urge Palestinian leaders not to inflame the situation further – any demonstration must be peaceful. Those who intentionally place civilians in harm's way are in breach of international law.
Iceland is committed to a two-state solution where Israel and a Palestinian state exist side-by-side in peace and security. This objective will not be reached if Israel continues its settlement policies and its blockade of Gaza, and if Hamas continues to use its position in Gaza to fan the flames of radicalism.
A peace process needs urgently to be put back on track. Otherwise, we run the risk of violence continuing and conditions deteriorating even further.
I thank you Mr. President.