U.S. Statement on the ILO Governing Body Agenda Item:
“Enhanced Programme of Development Cooperation for the Occupied Arab Territories”
As Delivered by Ambassador Bathsheba Crocker
I would like to start by addressing the current conflict in the Middle East that is on all our minds. We mourn the many Israelis and other victims from around the world who were slaughtered by Hamas in its horrific terror attacks on October 7. And we express our profound condolences to the families of the Palestinian civilians who have died or been injured during this conflict as well. The United States is heartbroken by every civilian life lost since this terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas.
President Biden and Secretary Blinken have been clear that we stand with Israel and support its right and obligation to defend itself and its people. They have also been clear that it is imperative for Israel, or any state, to adhere to international humanitarian law, including the importance of protecting civilians and taking every feasible precaution to avoid civilian casualties.
We recognize the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and support equal measures of justice and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Hamas does not represent those aspirations. Hamas has only compounded and perpetuated the suffering of the Palestinian people at every step of this crisis.
The United States will continue doing all we can as we work around the clock to reunite hostages held by Hamas with their families, where they belong. We are actively working to significantly increase the flow of humanitarian aid recognizing that the levels of aid currently arriving in Gaza are nowhere near enough. Far more is needed.
Turning to the Governing Body’s agenda item of today, we thank the Office for its report and for the addendum provided, updating the Governing Body on the changes in the labor market, economic, and humanitarian situation in Gaza since the October 7 terrorist attack and ensuing hostilities. We note the consequent change in the ILO’s development cooperation posture to respond to the needs of Palestinian workers.
We appreciate the ILO’s emergency interventions to respond to the crisis in support of workers and enterprises and support the redirection of resources to the ILO’s proposed three-phase response program. We encourage the ILO to continue its coordination with other UN agencies in this regard and support the Office’s efforts to mobilize urgent financial support for the ILO emergency response.
We note the amendments tabled by the OIC. We would like to arrive at a consensus decision point that gives clear direction to the ILO Office regarding how best to continue its mandate to deliver development cooperation to support decent work in the West Bank and Gaza.
Thank you, Chair.