by H.E. Ambassador Le Luong Minh
Permanent Representative of Viet Nam
at the debate of the Security Council on the situation in the Occupied Gaza Strip
New York, 22 January 2008
The convening of this urgent meeting of the Council is necessary and timely in response to the emergency humanitarian situation in the Occupied Gaza Strip. I thank you for the efforts you undertook in your capacity as President of the Council to make this happen. I thank Under Secretary-General Lynn Pascoe for his briefing. I thank the Permanent Observer of Palestine and the representative of Israel for presenting their views on the matter. As this meeting is convened in response to the emergency humanitarian situation in the Occupied Gaza Strip, I will confine my statement to this issue. We associate ourselves with the statement by the representative of Cuba to be delivered later on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The humanitarian situation in the Occupied Gaza Strip, for long a great concern of the international community, of the United Nations and the Security Council, has come from bad to worse since the recent escalation of the military campaign waged by Israel, the occupying power, against the Palestinian civilian population living there which cost the loss of lives of dozens of innocent people, among them women and children, and injured many dozens of others. The measures undertaken by Israel over the past few days such as intensifying its closure of the Occupied Palestinian Territory by sealing all border crossings, preventing the delivery of food supplies, continuing to reduce fuel supplies, and even completely cutting off fuel supplies to the main power plant in Gaza have made the humanitarian situation in the Occupied Gaza Strip deteriorate to an appalling level. As reported by the Representative of Palestine, such collective punishment measures are already affecting the people on the ground who are having to live in darkness, with no heating due to the suspension of electricity and fuel supplies. More seriously, the stoppage of generators in hospitals as a result of such fuel supplies suspension is endangering the lives of sick patients and creating potentials of negative health impact on the civilian population.
Notwithstanding the fact that Member States always insist any solution to the Israel-Palestine issue must be based on the ensurance of not only the right of the Palestinian people to set up an independent State of their own, but also security for Israel, a State with which Viet Nam has established and maintains normal relations, we consider these acts of the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian civilians, just like any such act targeting innocent Israeli civilians or innocent civilians of any country, unjustifiable by any security or other pretext. These acts, which constitute violations of international law, including international human rights and humanitarian laws, are not only causing numerous sufferings to the people on the ground, but also undermining the Middle East peace process which has gained new momentum following the Arab Peace Initiative and the Annapolis and the Paris conferences. Viet Nam joins other countries in calling upon Israel to respond to the appeal of the Secretary General of the United Nations and of the international community to immediately put an end to those measures, open border crossings, restore normal fuel, medical and food supplies and ensure unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people in the Occupied Gaza Strip, thus relieving the Palestinian civilian population living there of sufferings of a magnitude hardly ever seen and helping bring the Middle East peace process back on track.
We call upon the international community and UN agencies and NGOs to extend to the Palestinian people in the Occupied Gaza Strip necessary emergency and humanitarian assistance with a view to helping them overcome this humanitarian crisis. For its part, Viet Nam stands ready as ever to contribute to the collective efforts of the international community in this connection
We support and will join the Councilâ€™s timely action by issuing a Presidential Statement on the matter. We look forward to working constructively with other Council members with a view to adopting one on the basis of the draft already circulated.
I thank you, Mr. President.