New York, 31 May 2010
Statement by H.E. Mr. Ivan Barbalić, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations
at the UN Security Council Debate
on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question
Letter dated 31 May 2010 from the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the
President of the Security Council (S/2010/266)
Letter dated 31 May 2010 from the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to
the President of the Security Council (S/2010/267)
At the outset, we take this opportunity to warmly welcome the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey.
We also welcome Assistant Secretary-General Fernandez-Taranco, and thank him for his briefing today.
Bosnia and Herzegovina would like to join other members of the Security Council in condemning in the strongest possible terms the attack that was carried out by the Israel Defense Forces on a flotilla of ships carrying unarmed civilians and humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza, leaving at least 10 of those unarmed civilians dead and numerous other injured.
Bosnia and Herzegovina deeply regrets this tragic loss of life and the injuries sustained, and we wish to extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to the families of the victims.
This attack on and killing of innocent humanitarians comes at a time when new efforts have been made in order to create the environment for negotiations. It can only aggravate the suffering of the Palestinian population and deepen the crisis. These were civilian ships carrying unarmed civilians and humanitarian aid intended for the 1.5 million Palestinians who are being held in Gaza under siege by Israel.
This Israeli attack on unarmed civilians aboard foreign vessels sailing in international waters constitutes a grave breach of international humanitarian law and a violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Nothing can justify such a use of violence. Bosnia and Herzegovina calls for a full investigation into the attack to be carried out immediately, so that the perpetrators, as well as those with command responsibility for the attack, are swiftly brought to justice, in accordance with international humanitarian law.
This tragic event points to the urgent need to lift the ban on humanitarian aid intended for Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Bosnia and Herzegovina is deeply concerned about the hardship and tragedy of the Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Their living conditions are unsustainable. We therefore reiterate our call upon Israel to allow the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) and the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access.
It is unacceptable for Israel to continue to act as a State that is above the law. If there is to be lasting peace in the Middle East, Israel must stop violating international law and start to act with restraint and in line with its international obligations.