National statement of Germany at the UNSC Arria Meeting “Condemning Hostage Taking in Israel on October 7th as a Psychological Tool of Terrorism”, 16 May 2024

Arria Meeting - Condemning Hostage-Taking

Arria Meeting - Condemning Hostage-Taking, © GermanyUN

16.05.2024 - Speech

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

Let me begin by thanking Prof. Halperin-Kaddari and by expressing my sincere gratitude to the briefers Dr. Shoshan Haran, Ayelet Samerano and Gili Roman. You and your family have experienced unimaginable grief and trauma, yet you have come here today to share your story with us and your perspectives.

I also thank the United States for organising this meeting. We have held numerous meetings on the situation in the Middle East in recent months, but the situation of the hostages held in Gaza has not received enough attention.

The taking of hostages constitutes a war crime. To secure peace and stability in the Middle East and beyond, all parties to a conflict must respect, and act in accordance with, international law.

Today is for us an opportunity:
• to state clearly that the taking of hostages on October 7th was an act of terrorism;
• to send a strong message that the remaining hostages are not forgotten, but deserve all the support that we, the international community can provide;
• to thank the United States, Qatar, Egypt and others for their continued efforts to bring the hostages home;
• to urge all parties to continue constructive negotiations to reach a hostage release deal now;
• and to renew our urgent call on Hamas to immediately and unconditionally release all remaining hostages, to ensure immediate, adequate and medical support, to stop using them as human shields, to end all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, to give the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian actors access to the hostages, and to grant proof of life to – and allow for regular communication with – their families.

Madam Chair,
We are saddened by every life that has been lost in this conflict – on all sides, and offer our condolences to all victims and their families – Israeli, Palestinian, UN and NGO staff.

On October 7th, the lives of so many innocent people from all walks of life have changed forever. They began what they thought would just be another normal day, celebrating life at a music festival or spending time with their loved ones. Instead, they became victims of the worst terrorist attack in recent history.

Among the hostages taken on that day were also German nationals. We fully support the efforts of today’s briefers and so many more, to bring back the hostages! Let us all join forces for hope to bring the hostages back home now.

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