Thank you, Mr President,

The situation in the Middle East calls for united and urgent action by the Council. We have all been talking about this since the shocking and unjustifiable acts of terror perpetrated by Hamas against Israeli civilians on 7 October, which we condemn.

The priorities are the protection of civilians, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza, the immediate release of hostages, and to exert our influence on the parties in order to avoid an even more serious escalation, or even a regionalization of the conflict.

Switzerland voted “yes” to the draft resolution presented by the United States, because in our view it represented a first step by the Council towards achieving these priorities, even if we demanded clearer language, particularly on the protection of civilians.

Switzerland abstained on the text presented by Russia, in the absence of a consultative process and the intention to find a consensus on the substance. Such a process would have enabled us to submit alternative proposals on a number of important elements, including the way in which the tragic events linked to the hospital in Al-Ahli are mentioned.

Switzerland recognizes Israel's legitimate will for national defense and security. It deplores the deaths of thousands of civilians, including thousands of children, in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in Gaza.

It is regrettable that the Council has once again been unable to reach a consensus and thus demonstrate its unity in the face of these principles and the acuteness of a crisis that still threatens to spread throughout the region.

Regardless of the failure to adopt these resolutions today, Switzerland reiterates that the parties must respect international humanitarian law, in particular the principles relating to the conduct of hostilities - the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.

Mr President,

The permanent members of the Council have the right of veto, which gives them a particular and increased responsibility for international peace and security. We expect them to assume their responsibility and to lead a constructive and inclusive process.

Switzerland remains ready to support all efforts by Council members and their partners to use their influence on the parties to bring this conflict to a rapid end.

I thank you.

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