Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : The UK will continue work to break the cycle of violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories – UK statement at the UN Security Council [October 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 18 October 2023.

Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council meeting on the Middle East.

Thank you President, and I would like to start by thanking Under-Secretary Griffiths and Special Coordinator Wennesland for their sobering briefings, and through you may I also thank your teams who are working tirelessly in the region including in the face of considerable personal risk. And again, we extend our condolences to those who have lost their lives.

President, the UK is shocked and deeply saddened by the destruction and the hundreds of lives that were lost and people who were killed at the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza yesterday evening. This is a devastating loss of life, and our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted.

The UK is working intensively to establish the facts. But fundamentally, hospitals are protected under international law and should not be targeted.

President, as I have said, Israel has the right, under the UN Charter, to defend itself against Hamas’ appalling terror attacks. We have also emphasised that every feasible precaution must be taken to minimise harm to civilians, and we continue to call for immediate unimpeded humanitarian access to enable essential aid, water, food and medicines to reach civilians.

Israel has itself acknowledged that it must act in accordance with international humanitarian law.

President, the UK is clear that Hamas does not speak for the Palestinian people. Humanitarian support and access must be maintained into Gaza. To support that effort we have announced a further £10m in UK humanitarian support.

And we call for the opening of the Rafah crossing and guarantees of security for any foreign nationals wishing to cross, as well as for vital humanitarian aid entering.

President, we are also clear that we must avoid further escalation of any conflict in the region.That is why the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have been working urgently to engage Israeli, Palestinian and regional leaders.

President, the UK will continue to work with partners in the international community to break the cycle of violence across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and work towards the peace and security of Israelis and Palestinians.

Thank you.