I thank WHO Director-General Tedros and Mr. Jilani for your detailed description on the situation and personal stories with fear, pain, and loss. I thank you and your team’s dedication under this unimaginable situation.
The situation in Gaza grows more desperate by the day, and time is of the essence. We greatly admire that humanitarian workers continue to work in incredibly dangerous conditions, and we lament the deaths of more than a hundred UNRWA staff.
Regrettably, the Security Council has remained silent for more than a month since the conflict broke out with the horrifying acts of terror by Hamas in Israel on 7 October. The time for concrete action is now.
To this end, Japan fully supports humanitarian pauses as well as humanitarian corridors to facilitate urgently needed assistance, civilian movement, and the release of hostages. Full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access should be granted without delay and in a continuous manner.
We welcome the tireless diplomacy by the international community, including the International Conference on Humanitarian Aid for Gaza held in Paris yesterday. Japan hopes that pauses, announced by the US government on 9 November, will contribute to enhanced delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid, protection of civilians and release of hostages in Gaza. On our part, Japan, as the G7 Presidency, hosted the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Tokyo this week, calling for urgent action to address the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The recently announced Flash Appeal requires 1.2 billion USD to meet immediate humanitarian needs in Gaza and the West Bank. Japan has been playing its part. Our Foreign Minister has recently announced that Japan is prepared to provide an additional humanitarian aid package of 65 million USD, and emergency relief supplies through JICA, Japan’s aid agency, in addition to the already-decided Emergency Grant Aid worth 10 million USD. We call on all Member States and humanitarian partners to join this effort to alleviate the suffering of the people in Gaza.
Over 200 hostages, including many children, are still held by Hamas and other militants in Gaza. Hostage-taking goes against the fundamental principles of international law and we unequivocally condemn it. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of all remaining hostages. Their loved ones are waiting with increasing despair.
The risk of regional spillover is very real. The situations in Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen are getting worrisome. Additionally, the rise in extremist settler violence committed against Palestinians is totally unacceptable, undermines security in the West Bank, and threatens prospects for a lasting peace. A single miscalculation on any of these fronts could lead to a disastrous regional conflict, and we must do all we can to stop this.
This conflict has to end, and relevant parties need to return to negotiations towards finally achieving a two-state solution where both Israel and a viable Palestinian State live side by side in peace and security. In the short term, we should take all possible measures to bring about an early de-escalation of the conflict as a first step towards a durable peace.
I thank you, Mr. President.