Delivered by: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Thank you, Mr. President.
The war on Gaza has raged for 40 days. While we have held several meetings, heard devastating briefings, and seen heart-wrenching reporting, this Council has been unable to produce anything that would alleviate the suffering of the civilians in Gaza. Outside this building, and in our region in particular, the Council appears indifferent to the carnage and dismissive of the suffering. Due to Malta’s extraordinary efforts, and to that of their team, which we thank them for, and with our full support as the Arab member on the Council, today we have an opportunity to begin changing that perception.
The draft resolution is born from the idea that we must come together now to act under one fundamental common aim. The protection of children has been the North Star that has guided this Council’s approach on this draft and brings us together today to vote on the text before us.
And as Ambassador Vanessa Frazier has just said, the key elements of this resolution and what they mean in practice for the people of Gaza must not be underestimated. For the children and other Palestinians sheltering from the hostilities, for the Israeli children and others still held hostage, and for UN humanitarian and medical workers who are risking their lives to help alleviate the enormous humanitarian suffering on the ground.
This text is also what humanitarian actors have consistently called for as the bare minimum for them to be able to do their lifesaving work. The resolution means in real time enough time and space for search and rescue operations to save those children who are buried under the rubble, including the 1,500 who have been reported missing there. It means that fuel, food, water, medicine, and other essential goods can be delivered at scale. It means that sick and injured children can be evacuated. These extended pauses will also help reach those held hostage, particularly children, whose release this resolution calls for unconditionally.
In addition, the text is unequivocal in its demand that all parties to the conflict comply with their obligations under international law. Through this text, the Council also rejects the forced displacement of Palestinians. This is essential. Two-thirds of the population in Gaza are Palestinian refugees who have already suffered from the consequences of forced displacement in their past. And once again, in the last 40 days, nearly 80% of those living in Gaza have been uprooted again.
Finally, with the call in this resolution for the Secretary-General to bring options to the Council for the monitoring and reporting mechanisms in this text, we can aid the intention of this resolution to create the space needed for humanitarian actors to do their work.
This resolution is a first, important, and overdue step by the Council, and it is for these reasons that we will vote in favour of it, and it has the support of my group. However, the UAE remains resolute that we must work towards a lasting humanitarian ceasefire. We must not lose sight of this urgent goal.