NEW YORK – 20 May 2021 – The UAE stressed that it has been gravely concerned by the escalating spiral of violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The UAE welcomed the news of a ceasefire agreement and expressed hope that it is durable, lasting, and might contribute to the resumption of a credible wider peace process while restoring calm and building confidence between the parties at the same time. The UAE also thanked the UN Secretary-General for his appeal for an immediate ceasefire and his call on all parties to initiate a political dialogue and to exercise maximum restraint.

H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, Assistant Minister for Political Affairs and Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN, spoke before the UN General Assembly at its debate on the situation in the Middle East and the question of Palestine convened at the request of the Group of Arab Member States to the UN, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Non-Aligned Movement. She expressed the UAE’s condolences to the families of all those killed and stated that the events of the past two weeks have been a somber reminder of the urgent need for a peaceful dialogue aimed at a long-term solution to end the conflict.

She said: “The ongoing violence of the past two weeks and the growing number of civilian casualties indicate that we must redouble international efforts to find a just, comprehensive, and lasting peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue consistent with relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.”

Ambassador Nusseibeh expressed alarm at the actions against the Palestinian people since early May, in violation of international law, including at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the forced displacement of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which has led to civilian casualties, including women and children. She stressed that Israel must comply with its obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law, and with all relevant UN resolutions. She emphasized that Israel must protect Palestinian civilians, immediately cease building settlements and demolishing Palestinian property in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and halt the forcible displacement of Palestinians.

Furthermore, Ambassador Nusseibeh underscored the fundamental importance of upholding the status of Jerusalem, in compliance with relevant UN resolutions. She emphasized the right of the Palestinian people to freely practice their religions and the importance of respecting the role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem and in preserving their legal and historical status quo. She also reaffirmed the UAE’s readiness to support all regional and international efforts aimed at advancing the Middle East peace process and at achieving the two-state solution through the creation of an independent Palestinian state based on the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions, Madrid references, and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Ambassador Nusseibeh also stressed that the UAE remains deeply concerned by the backdrop of the wider deteriorating humanitarian and economic conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which has worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic and has underlined the urgent need to reach a lasting solution.  In this context, she highlighted the need for the international community to provide support to the Palestinian people, especially through the provision of vaccines and medical equipment.

“The UAE will continue to work with our regional and international partners to achieve a better future for Palestinian, Arab, and Israeli generations who deserve to live in safety and dignity in a stable and prosperous region,” Ambassador Nusseibeh concluded. “This cannot simply be the latest round of violence; it must be the last. This conflict, and these cycles of violence have endured for too long and can only be stopped by achieving real and lasting peace. The youth of our region, on all sides, cannot and must not be condemned to unending hatred out of a failure to recognize that the far braver stance would be to chart a course to peace.”