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Security Council Open Debate Middle East, including the question of Palestine

Tuesday, 24 October 2023
H.E. ARIEL RODELAS PEÑARANDA, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
United Nations Headquarters, New York


I would like to thank you, Mr. President, for convening today’s open debate.

We highly appreciate the insights shared by the distinguished briefers.

Recent Developments

The Philippines notes with grave concern the recent escalation of hostilities in the Middle East. We condemn the killings, terrorist attacks, and other acts of violence by Hamas that took place in Israel on 07 Oct 2023, and in this regard acknowledge the right of Israel to self defense in accordance with the UN Charter. We mourn the loss of innocent lives, and extend our sympathies to all affected civilians in Israel and the Palestinian territories.  We deeply regret the violation of international humanitarian law which has imperiled the safety of civilian populations.

Prevention of Further Escalation

The ongoing conflict profoundly rooted in decades of tensions, grievances and complexities deeply concerns us, with its broad and profound impact on countless innocent civilians, including Filipino nationals and their families.  Joining the call of the international community, the Philippines strongly urges the swift release of all hostages. We call for the end of the taking and detainment of individuals, particularly women and children. We reiterate our plea to the international community to come together and provide essential humanitarian aid and support to the affected.

Most importantly, we urge all concerned to immediately put in place urgent solutions that would prevent the conflict from further escalating, spreading and protracting.

UN Efforts and Humanitarian Assistance

The Philippines supports the efforts of the United Nations to deliver urgent humanitarian assistance and essential supplies to Palestinian civilians caught in the midst of the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

We commend UNRWA, UNOCHA, and other related UN agencies for their efforts and sacrifice amidst these challenging times. The Philippines lends its full support to calls for ensuring the safety of civilians seeking refuge in UNRWA premises across Gaza.

We welcome the opening of a humanitarian corridor with Egypt. It is important that the UN humanitarian system be supported and is enabled to respond to the scale of the needs of the affected populations in a predictable and sustainable manner. We are also hopeful for a solution to be reached in the soonest possible time in order for the Rafah crossing to start receiving foreign nationals, including Filipinos still in Gaza.

We also continue to support UN peacekeeping missions in the region. We believe that a multilateral approach is crucial in addressing this crisis and preventing further escalation.

Safety of Migrants

The Philippines urges the Security Council to endorse and support coordinated efforts with UN entities for the safe evacuation and protection of migrants in conflict zones. We earnestly appeal to all parties involved to cooperate in safeguarding their security. With approximately 30,000 Filipino nationals in Israel and a further 130 in Gaza, their safety and well-being remain paramount to us.

Way Forward

Reaffirming our position, the Philippines firmly supports a two-state solution, consistently aligned with past international agreements and relevant UN resolutions. Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve a future where their rights, aspirations, and security are recognized and upheld.

This enduring Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a pivotal determinant for the peace and stability of the region. A lasting resolution can only be achieved through comprehensive dialogues and negotiations, anchored firmly in international law. The Philippines ardently urges all parties to elevate dialogue as the primary tool for a peaceful and lasting resolution.

Mr. President,

The Philippines underscores the urgency of peace and stability in the region. The Security Council, through prompt action, has the crucial task to bridge divides and champion the path to peace.

Lives are being lost. We must persevere to make diplomacy prevail. Now is the time for decisive and unified action.

Thank you.