Finland’s National Statement at United Nations Security Council Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question

Read the National Statement of Finland at United Nations Security Council Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, delivered by H.E. Mr. Lauri Voionmaa, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, on 24 October, 2023.

Mr. President,  

Finland aligns itself with the statement by the European Union.

We condemn the cowardly terrorist attack by Hamas against civilians in Israel in the strongest terms. Thousands of people in Israel and the Palestinian territory have already lost their lives in the attack and the escalation that followed.  

International humanitarian law must always be respected by all parties to a conflict and all civilians must be protected in all situations. Security belongs to all.

Finland recognizes the right of Israel to protect its civilian population. We underline that military operations must be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law.

We call for the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages held in Gaza and commend the role that Egypt, Qatar and other countries in the region have once again taken upon themselves.

Mr. President,

The humanitarian situation in Gaza is catastrophic. More aid needs to reach the civilians urgently. Continuously operating humanitarian corridors are paramount. We thank Brazil for its efforts on Council action on humanitarian access and join the call for a humanitarian pause.

In addition to the EU tripling its humanitarian aid to Gaza and launching a humanitarian air bridge operation, Finland examines options to increase its humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Avoiding escalation is crucial. This is a joint international effort. We greatly appreciate the diplomatic role that countries in the region as well as the US have played on the ground. We commend Egypt for the important initiative to host the Peace Summit. We would also like to highlight the constructive role the Palestinian Authority has played and continues to play as the partner for the entire international community.

The situation again highlights that the only sustainable way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a negotiated two-state solution. Its parameters are well known. Gaza and the West Bank must be considered together in order to create a viable Palestinian State. We as the international community must bear our responsibility by making the strongest possible push for negotiations as soon as it becomes possible.

Finally, our great appreciation goes to the brave personnel of the UN and other humanitarian actors for their selfless work in conditions where they put their own lives at risk.