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Turkish minister walks out of Israeli minister’s UN speech

Türkiye’s family and social services minister walked out of a speech by her Israeli counterpart at a UN meeting Monday in protest against Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Mahinur Ozdemir Goktas left the 68th UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at UN headquarters in New York while Israeli Minister May Golan was taking the floor to address the meeting.

Coming back to the hall after Golan’s speech, Goktas said: “When discussing equality, we cannot ignore the ongoing humanitarian crisis as a result of Israel’s actions towards Palestinians, which lead to immense human suffering.”

Türkiye strongly condemns the attacks in Gaza, and reiterates its call for an immediate cease-fire and rapid and unhindered humanitarian aid, Goktas said, adding Ankara stands with the Palestinian people, considering that 70% of those who lost their lives are women and children.

“We need to keep the ongoing massacre in Palestine at the top of the global agenda and redouble our efforts towards putting an end to this tragedy. We must unite in our shared sense of pain and ensure that our voices are heard stronger and louder,” she said.

Goktas recalled that UN Security Council Resolution 1325 is an “important milestone” in addressing the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflicts on women and the implementation of the key provisions of the resolution is “vital.”

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack led by the Palestinian group Hamas in which nearly 1,200 people were killed.

More than 31,100 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, and over 72,700 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 27 people have died of malnutrition and dehydration in Gaza due to the Israeli blockade.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of most food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.