let me first thank the PGA Francis for chairing this Emergency Special Session.
I would like to begin by joining colleagues who have thanked the United Nations for their tireless work to de-escalate the conflict and help the affected populations on the ground.
It is extremely important that, in the face of the stalemate in the Security Council, the main body of the United Nations could serve as a multilateral forum of discussion on the most pressing issue of today, namely the conflict that has been inflaming Middle East since the horrific terrorist attacks against Israel that were launched by Hamas on October 7th. Italy is and will be firmly standing in solidarity with Israel. For us Israeli security is in no way negotiable. This is what Italian government, at highest level, from our Prime Minister to our Foreign Minister, has been stating all along.
But we also said that we should avoid to fall into the trap of those terrorists, those responsible of the attacks on October 7h that would like to turn the Middle East into an area of clash of civilizations, religions, cultures. We will not allow that. While stating our full solidarity with Israel, we will continue to be engaged as Italy in our active intense diplomacy aimed at building bridges with moderate Arab states, with our friends and partners, including the PA, in the attempt to build a peaceful environment in the region, based on mutual respect and mutual recognition.
Italy abstained in the draft resolution that was adopted today. While recognizing the efforts on the part of our Arab partners who put the resolutions forward, the improvements that they have accepted to include in the text have been unfortunately not enough for us to support the draft.
Three important elements were missing:
- First, the unequivocal condemnation in the strongest terms and without any ambiguity of the heinous attacks by Hamas last October 7th against innocent Israeli civilians.
- Second, it was missing the recognition of legitimate right of self-defense of any State, of Israel in this case, under attack. The exercise of the right of self-defense should obviously be fully compliant with international law and international humanitarian law.
- And finally, the resolution did not mention in explicit, unambiguous terms the humanitarian imperative to release immediately and unconditionally all hostages taken on October 7th and to treat them humanely.
So we could not support the resolution because of these three elements missing.
While the conflict is ongoing, our priority is to display all the possible diplomatic efforts to allow the safe and unimpeded passage of aid, while firmly demanding the immediate unconditional release of all hostages without preconditions. We need also to intensify our common efforts to avoid the conflict to spill over beyond Gaza.
The consequence of an expansion of the conflict would be unimaginable, for the region and for the entire world. The only way to avoid such dangerous prospect is to promote the resumption of a political initiative for a concrete, structural, long-term solution with a precisely defined time line, based on “two peoples, two states” perspective. The Palestinian people must have the right to be a self-governing Nation, in freedom, alongside a State of Israel to which the full right to existence and security must be unequivocally and unambiguously recognized.
I thank you.