Mister President,

Like my colleagues, I would like to begin by thanking the Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, Sigrid Kaag, for her report and her commitment.

Four months have passed since the adoption of resolution 2720. Four months during which you have made every effort to coordinate the delivery of aid to the civilian population, at a time when we are facing, and continue to face, a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

As the Secretary-General said at the beginning of the year, delivering humanitarian aid is not about counting trucks. It's about ensuring that the necessary volume and quality of aid reaches those in need, as required by international humanitarian law.

To this end, we expect the parties to finally fully implement the binding resolutions this Council has adopted since Hamas's acts of terror on October 7, which Switzerland has strongly condemned. The same applies to the International Court of Justice's order that Israel take all necessary and effective measures without delay, in close cooperation with the UN, to ensure - without restriction and on a large scale - the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian aid to the population.

This Council must ensure compliance with the resolutions it has itself adopted. The effects expected immediately have been emphasized many times: the effective protection of the civilian population, the implementation of a ceasefire, humanitarian access to the population in need, and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. We must insist just as urgently on regional de-escalation.

Failing this, every day will bring new civilian victims. The prospect of a large-scale military offensive at Rafah is unacceptable, as it would further aggravate the situation of the civilian population, which is prey to displacement, hostilities, epidemics and famine.

The Security Council must insist that the parties immediately implement their obligations under international law.

The use of starvation as a method of warfare is strictly prohibited by international humanitarian law and constitutes a war crime.

All humanitarian actors in Gaza, including UNRWA, must have safe and unhindered access to the population in need. To achieve this, humanitarian aid must be able to flow through all crossing points and then be distributed throughout the Gaza Strip, particularly in the north. Reports that aid to Gaza yesterday reached its highest level since October 7 are encouraging. However, this is far from sufficient, and efforts must be stepped up.

We recall that arbitrary obstruction of humanitarian access is also prohibited under international humanitarian law, as are attacks on humanitarian personnel, facilities and equipment. UN, humanitarian and medical personnel, as well as the infrastructures of the UN and other humanitarian organizations, must be strictly protected.

It is imperative that this Council speaks out on this issue beyond specific contexts. Switzerland is in contact with all Council members on a draft resolution in this regard.

Finally, Switzerland calls for independent investigations into all violations of international humanitarian law committed in the Middle East. The perpetrators of all these violations must be held to account.

Mister President,

I repeat: the immediate implementation of the resolutions of this Council, a ceasefire, the safe, swift and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, and the release of the hostages must be our priority. As members of the Security Council, we must redouble our efforts to achieve this as quickly as possible, and to avoid at all costs an even more serious regional escalation.

This is a sine qua non if we are to give people back the prospect of a peaceful future in which they can live in dignity and security. Switzerland remains ready to support efforts that can revive the hope of peace through a solution with two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side, in peace, within secure and recognized borders, based on the 1967 borders, including Gaza as an integral part of a Palestinian state.

Thank you.