Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
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I would like to begin by aligning the UAE’s voice with the statements delivered on behalf of the Arab Group, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Non-Aligned Movement.
I welcome the adoption of the General Assembly’s critical resolution last Friday in response to the bloody war in the Gaza Strip, where civilians are bearing the brunt of its impacts.
Confronted with scenes of massive devastation, the killing of around 9,000 Palestinians, and the displacement of more than 1.4 million people as a result of the violent Israeli bombing and the expansion of its ground operation, the overwhelming majority of the UN member states agreed on the need to adopt this resolution, which calls for an immediate, sustainable, and durable humanitarian truce.
This resolution sends a clear message about the need to uphold international humanitarian law and to reject the double standards that are at play regarding the protection of civilians. We recall here that nearly seventy percent of Palestinians killed over the past several weeks were women and children.
We urge the international community to demonstrate unity, coordination, and redouble diplomatic efforts to end all hostilities. This is critical to maintain both regional and international peace and security. The tensions and maneuvers we are witnessing in southern Lebanon, the occupied Syrian Golan, and the Red Sea risk expanding this conflict across the wider region. The escalation could also reach a level that is no longer containable.
The UAE will continue to support ongoing efforts to stop this war – both through our efforts in the Security Council as well as in our extensive exchanges with actors in the region and beyond.
The position of the UAE has been clear since October 7th. We have affirmed that Hamas’ attacks against civilians are unacceptable, and we have demanded the release of all hostages. We have also categorically rejected the Israeli policy of collective punishment and emphasize the imperative of ensuring full respect for international humanitarian law, which demands Israel to stop its unrelenting and indiscriminate bombing of civilians and civilian objects.
Today, there is no place or person who is safe in Gaza. Israel is bombing refugee camps, schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, and United Nations facilities, where people are seeking shelter. Several journalists, medical workers and 70 UNRWA staff have also been killed. We reiterate here our strong condemnation of last Tuesday Israeli heavy air strikes on Jabalia refugee camp, which resulted in hundreds of deaths and injuries. Even those who were displaced to the South, despite the impossible orders of Israel to the people to evacuate from the North, couldn’t escape the bombing.
As we have stated time and again, the UAE firmly rejects the forced displacement of the Palestinian people from their land. We will not allow a new Nakba to occur.
We are deeply concerned about the declared siege on the Gaza Strip and the severe restrictions on water, food and other essential goods, including the complete denial of electricity, and fuel to the Gaza Strip, leading to the collapse of the healthcare system. Meanwhile, humanitarian aid is accumulating at the Rafah crossing. Only a very limited percentage of trucks have entered Gaza, representing less than 4% of the total volume of commodities that used to enter before the war.
We appreciate Egypt’s continued efforts to ensure access to humanitarian aid in Gaza, in addition to other critical efforts, including its receipt yesterday of a number of the injured and sick from the war in Gaza for treatment.
All parties to the conflict, namely Israel, must allow and facilitate rapid, safe, and unhindered passage of humanitarian aid for all civilians in need throughout Gaza, in a sustained manner.
The full and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel must also be ensured. We also stress the importance of allowing them into and throughout the Gaza Strip to address the acute humanitarian crisis there.
We further stress that internet and communication networks should continue to operate without interruption to facilitate the work of medical teams and humanitarian actors.
The UAE continues to follow its historic and longstanding approach of supporting the Palestinian people. Once the war began, we hastened to launch a national campaign titled “Tarahum – for Gaza” and opened a humanitarian air bridge to Egypt for UAE aid and UN assistance to reach the people of Gaza as quickly as possible. The UAE also pledged USD 20 million to UNRWA this month, in addition to the USD 35 million that we provided earlier this year. The UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan also directed the provision of medical treatment for 1,000 Palestinian children, along with their families, in the UAE.
We also continue to call for the international community to stop managing this conflict, and to protect and achieve the two-state solution, so that a sovereign Palestinian state is established on the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The Palestinian people have suffered for far too long under this occupation and they deserve, like other peoples, a stable and secure future. A future in which the children of Gaza can attend schools, not shelter in them, and in which young men and women build the institutions of their state, and not search for their relatives under the rubble.
Thank you, Mr. President.