Statement by Mr. Emil Breki Hreggvidsson
Deputy Permanent Respresentative of Iceland to the United Nations
Open debate in the Security Council
The situation in the Middle East
7 January 2009
The situation in Gaza is unacceptable. In the three weeks since the end of the six month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, hundreds of civilians, including many women and children, have died in military actions and thousands have been injured.
My country has condemned the killings of civilians and aligns itself with the Secretary-General of the UN as well as those member states which have called upon Israel to stop immediately its military actions in this densely populated area.
Iceland has also condemned the firing of rockets from Gaza to terrorize Israeli civilians. Hamas bears a heavy responsibility for drawing civilians into the conflict zone. However, Israel’s actions in Gaza, the past two weeks, are both disproportionate and clearly contrary to international humanitarian law.
The immediate imperative is the suspension of all violence from all parties. It will then be essential for Israel to lift its blockade on Gaza so that humanitarian aid is given access to Gaza immediately.
The Peace Process must recommence with the active involvement of the international community. Iceland renews its call for the better inclusion of women in the peace process, in accordance to Security Council Resolution 1325. In this regard, as in December, Iceland calls the attention of the Council to the International Womens´ Commission for Just and Sustainable Israeli-Palestinian Peace, the IWC, a triparty body involving Israelis, Palestinians and prominent international women leaders. The solidarity among these women across the lines of conflict can offer inspiration and hope for their societies as a whole.
The Security Council is the international body responsible for maintaining international peace and security. The situation in Gaza demands a concerted effort by the Council to bring an end to the bloodshed and put forward a plan to further the goal of ending the occupation and achieving a two state solution, a prerequisite for durable peace.