Explanation of Vote by Germany, 10th Emergency Special Session of the UN General Assembly, 12 December 2023

12.12.2023 - Speech

Statement delivered by Ambassador Leendertse, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations.

We would like to thank all member states involved, especially Egypt for the work on this very important issue and for keeping the humanitarian situation in Gaza in our joint focus.

We support the objective of the resolution to reduce violence and human suffering and to enable unhindered humanitarian access. We are saddened by every life that has been lost in this conflict and express our condolences to all victims and their families, Israeli and Palestinian and UN staff.

Nevertheless, we cannot endorse a text, which does not condemn the heinous acts of terror and violations of international humanitarian law committed by Hamas against Israel since October 7th, including the horrific acts of sexual violence against Israeli women and girls. We condemn these acts in the strongest possible terms, and so should all Member States.

It has been more than two months that Hamas continues to attack Israel with rockets on a daily basis and uses Palestinian civilians as human shields. We reiterate our call on Hamas and others to immediately release all remaining hostages and lay down their weapons. We commend efforts undertaken by the United States, Qatar and Egypt to secure the release of hostages.

How can we possibly demand a “humanitarian ceasefire”, while attacks by Hamas continue! Israel has a right to defend itself in accordance with international law and international humanitarian law. At the same time, as we have stated repeatedly, we will continue to call for humanitarian pauses and unhindered humanitarian access so that assistance can reach all those in need. Civilians need to be protected during conflict.

It breaks our hearts to witness the immense suffering of the Palestinian population, especially women and children.

Germany supports the UN Secretary General’s efforts to act to mitigate a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and the collapse of the humanitarian system. We will continue to do our utmost to help alleviate the suffering of the civilian population in Gaza including by supporting humanitarian relief efforts. We will remain committed to supporting the Palestinian people now and in the future!

Mr. President,

We regret that the resolution before us does not acknowledge Hamas’ primary responsibility for starting this terrible conflict with its horrific attack on 7th October.

It is against this backdrop that Germany abstains in today’s vote.

Mr. President,

In the UN, we speak the language of international law, of humanity, of peaceful coexistence. This is what unites us. We all must step up our efforts to work towards a meaningful peace process allowing both Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace and security, in two independent states and in secure borders.

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