Heads of states of the Non-Aligned Movement Saturday called Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip “illegal” and strongly condemned indiscriminate attacks against Palestinian civilians, civilian infrastructure and the forced displacement of the Palestinian population.
While calling for a ceasefire desperately needed for humanitarian aid to access the Gaza Strip, the movement in a joint statement called for a two-state solution, on the basis of the borders before 1967, when Israel seized Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem in a brief war with neighboring Arab states.
The group also reiterated support for a Palestinian state to be admitted as a member of the United Nations to take its rightful place among the community of nations.
The Non-Aligned Movement, formed during the collapse of the colonial systems and at the height of the Cold War, has played a key part in decolonization processes, according to its website. Member countries aspire not to be formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.
Ninety representatives, including 30 heads of state, from the 120 countries that are members of NAM took part in the week-long conference in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. It culminated in a summit of heads of state on Friday and Saturday.
Gaza’s Health Ministry says more than 24,400 Palestinians have died in the current war, and the United Nations says a quarter of the 2.3 million people trapped in Gaza are starving. In Israel, around 1,200 people were killed during the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas that sparked the war and saw some 250 people taken hostage by militants.
The NAM statement said members were very concerned at the continued deterioration of the situation on ground and the humanitarian crisis. It condemned Israel’s continuing settlement construction and expansion activities throughout the Palestinian territories, as well as in Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The group called for the attention of the international community, especially the U.N. Security Council.
“To this end, it is high time to end this abhorrent occupation, which continues to be imposed in flagrant violation of international law, and to ensure the implementation of the countless relevant General Assembly and Security Council resolutions,” the statement said.
UN Secretary General António Guterres told the summit that the refusal to accept the two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, and the denial of the right to statehood for the Palestinian people, were unacceptable.
He supported the NAM’s position calling for reform of the Security Council.
“Your Movement has long highlighted the Council’s systemic shortcomings and the need for reforms to make it truly effective and representative. How can we accept that the African continent still lacks a single Permanent Member?” he asked.
Guterres said the killing of 152 UN staff in Gaza is disheartening adding that the Hamas attack on Israel and the destruction of Gaza by the Israel army in 110 days was totally unprecedented during his mandate as UN Secretary General.