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Gazans should not be subject to forcible displacement or relocation from Gaza

– Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council meeting on Gaza.

By Ambassador Barbara Woodward

President, I have three points to make today.

Firstly, the UK firmly rejects any proposal that Palestinians should be resettled outside Gaza, including proposals from members of the Israeli government. Our views and concerns are shared by our allies and partners that Gazans should not be subject to forcible displacement or relocation from Gaza.

Second, the UK is alarmed by record levels of extremist settler violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and it’s devastating impact. According to OCHA, since 7 October at least 198 Palestinian households, including 586 children, have been displaced following an increase in extremist settler violence and access restrictions. We call on the Government of Israel not only condemn settler violence but also to take direct action against those responsible for it, and hold them accountable, and ensure that Palestinian civilians are protected.

We also continue to call on Israel to cease immediately all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem and its Lower Aqueduct, and to respect in their absolute entirety all legal obligations. We reiterate our longstanding position that settlements are illegal under international law, and that settlement expansions hinder us from creating the conditions for a durable peace in Israel, the West Bank and across all the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Third, the UK is intensely focused on ensuring more aid gets into Gaza. The current levels are woefully inadequate for the deepening humanitarian crisis. We are deeply concerned that the World Food Programme are reporting that nine out of ten families are going with less than one meal a day.

We want to see a ceasefire, but this must be a sustainable ceasefire. One that will last. A sustainable ceasefire means one in which Hamas no longer poses a threat to Israel’s security, aid is delivered without hindrance, and Palestinians can return to the areas of Gaza from which they have been displaced.

Ahead of a permanent ceasefire, we want to see immediate and sustained humanitarian pauses. This will allow for hostages to be released and more aid to enter Gaza. In accordance with Security Council Resolution 2720, we call on Israel to allow for higher volumes of humanitarian aid, through as many routes as possible.

In conclusion, we call again for the release of hostages taken on 7 October, for measures to allow humanitarian aid in – to meet the desperate humanitarian need in Gaza, for a sustainable ceasefire with a political horizon towards a two-state solution. And we remain committed to working with Israelis, Palestinians, and all parties in the region and beyond to make this a reality.



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