Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question


We thank Special Coordinator for the Middle East, Mr.Tor Wennesland, for his briefing on the situation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone, where Israel's brutal military operation, which has already claimed more than 36,500 Palestinian lives (an unprecedented number of casualties since the Second World War) has entered its eighth month. The vast majority of them are women and children, who die seeking the life-saving assistance in areas of the enclave that cannot be accessed by United Nations agencies. Israeli air force continues its indiscriminate bombardment of southern and central Gaza in defiance of the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly, as well as the rulings of the International Court of Justice,.

The city of Rafah in the southern part of Gaza has not escaped this tragic fate too. About one million civilians have congregated there after 800,000 Palestinians left, as reported by UNRWA. On May 13, a staff member of the UN Department for Safety and Security was killed and another UN official was wounded when a UN vehicle was shot at while en route to the European Hospital in Rafah. On the night of May 26, an Israeli Air Force attack on an IDP tent camp northwest of Rafah killed at least 45 people, including young children, and wounded dozens more. This came just two days after another International Court of Justice order on “provisional measures” demanding an end to the Rafah offensive. In addition, an Egyptian soldier was killed at the Rafah checkpoint in a firefight between the Israeli military and Egyptian border guards.

The absolute majority of members of the international community, including the foreign ministers of the Arab world condemned Israeli actions in Rafah. Secretary-General Guterres was no exception, calling on West Jerusalem to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the perpetrators and take immediate measures to protect civilians.

We, too, condemn the airstrike on the Rafah IDP camp and call on West Jerusalem to put an end to these war crimes against the Palestinian people. We demand that Israel strictly abide by the provisions of international humanitarian law. Attacks on United Nations personnel and humanitarian workers on the ground are unacceptable. We support the relevant call by Secretary-General Guterres for an immediate ceasefire, unimpeded humanitarian access and the unconditional release of all hostages in order to put an end to the suffering of the civilian population of the enclave.


The assessments of the Special Coordinator make it clear that we should not expect Israel’s “war machine” to stop in the near future. We see that West Jerusalem is determined to continue the military operation in the Gaza Strip, despite its increasingly obvious inability to achieve its stated goals, namely the safe release of hostages and the elimination of Hamas. At the same time, the negotiation process between Israel and Hamas through mediators on the exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners is stalling.

Under these circumstances, the scale of the humanitarian catastrophe is widening by the day. For three weeks now, the Israeli military has been blocking three thousand trucks with humanitarian aid from crossing at Rafah and Kerem Shalom checkpoints. Subsequently, Gaza has run out of all humanitarian aid – water, food or fuel, as reported by UN humanitarian agencies. Those who manage to escape the bombings face starvation, infectious diseases and the lack of necessary medical care. The discovery of a mass grave in Khan Yunis with more than three hundred Palestinian bodies caused wide public outcry.

Russia is doing its utmost to alleviate the plight of the civilian population of the occupied Palestinian territory. Since 19 October 2023, Russian EMERCOM has delivered by air more than 500 tonnes of humanitarian supplies to Egypt for onward shipment to the besieged Palestinian enclave through the Egyptian Red Crescent Society. In addition to governmental efforts, numerous Russian NGOs and public organizations, as well as private individuals actively joined in the collection of humanitarian aid for needy Palestinians. Through their efforts, hundreds of tonnes of medicines, warm clothes, tents, food and basic necessities were collected across Russia and to be sent to the conflict zone.


We must note with regret that in the current escalation, the prospects of returning the Palestinian-Israeli settlement process to a political and diplomatic track and establishing a ceasefire look bleak. In this regard, the UN Security Council needs to continue to exert pressure on both Israel and its ally Washington, which has passed a bill allocating $26.4 billion in military aid. This step, against the background of the lack of proper funding for UNRWA, is causing growing discontent and outrage even within the United States itself, where anti-Israeli demonstrations have already surged through campuses of major universities.

Attempts of the Israelis to propel the topics of sexual violence and the alleged involvement of UNRWA staff in the October 7 Hamas attack are having the opposite effect. Following a visit to Israel and the West Bank, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General failed to confirm the most odious accusations of the Israelis, but recorded numerous violations against arbitrarily detained Palestinian women. One must also note the conclusions of the Independent Review Group headed by K. Colonna, which confirmed UNRWA's compliance with the principle of neutrality and its key role in assisting the Palestinians.


The current aggravation of the situation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict zone shows the tragic consequences of Washington's attempts to monopolize mediator efforts and cherish its unjustified ambitions to solve all the world's problems alone. At the same time, the Americans are blocking any efforts by the international community to find ways to promote the Middle East settlement and correct the “historical injustice” against the Palestinians. That includes the US veto of the draft Security Council resolution enshrining a recommendation to the General Assembly to admit Palestine as a full UN member.

As the massacre in Gaza continues, we welcome the efforts of Algeria to promote adoption of a document in the Security Council. We believe that the Council urgently needs to send a consolidated signal demanding an immediate ceasefire in the enclave.

We reiterate that our position remains unchanged as regards the need (along with measures to overcome the acute phase of the crisis) to begin creating conditions for the establishment of direct dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis on the entire range of final status issues. That process should result in the implementation of the internationally endorsed two-State formula, which provides for Israel and Palestine coexisting in peace and security within the 1967 borders.

Thank you.

Video of the statement