Delivered by: Ameira AlHefeiti, Deputy Permanent Representative
At the outset, I thank Mr. Tor Wennesland and Mr. Philippe Lazzarini for their comprehensive briefings. We also listened to Mr. Daniel Levy’s briefing.
The recent incidents in the Gaza Strip highlight several critical facts, including the continued fragility of the security situation and the recurring cycles of violence that have become alarmingly frequent. These incidents also confirm that the only way to end the cycle of violence is by reaching a comprehensive, just, and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue. This is the ultimate goal, and rather than merely managing the situation on the ground – which has proven to be insufficient – it must remain the central focus for the parties and the international community.
Therefore, we stress the need for the parties to return to a constructive negotiation process that leads to the two-State solution and the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state based on the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel, in peace, security, and mutual recognition. The international community must also fulfill its role in maintaining peace and security by providing the necessary support to the political process.
In conjunction with these efforts, we reiterate the need to maintain the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. We commend Egypt’s mediation efforts in this regard, which once again played an important role in restoring calm. We stress here that additional cycles of violence will only lead to the further deterioration in the humanitarian and economic conditions in the Gaza Strip. As indicated by reports from the United Nations, more than 80% of the near two-million-person population of the Gaza Strip depends on receiving humanitarian aid. Additionally, the level of unemployment among young people has reached 80% at a time when the children of Gaza are suffering from difficult psychological conditions. Children who are 15 years old in the Gaza Strip have now witnessed five devastating cycles of conflict.
We believe that both reducing tensions and improving the humanitarian and economic conditions of the people of Gaza are in the interest of all parties. These steps are necessary to achieve security and stability, which also require the United Nations and international partners to intensify efforts to support the recovery and reconstruction process in the Gaza Strip.
On a broader level, the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory requires increased humanitarian, economic, and development support. We urge the Palestinian and Israeli authorities to intensify cooperation in the economic, health, and service sectors to improve the lives of Palestinians, especially refugee communities.
In light of recent concerning developments, we underline the important role that civil society actors can play in the occupied Palestinian territory. As such, we stress the importance of cooperating with them in order to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.
We reiterate our condemnation of all unilateral steps that hinder efforts to achieve the goal of a two-state solution. In particular, we refer here to the settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that continue to occur at a high rate, in clear violation of international law and the resolutions of this Council. We also condemn the violence perpetrated by settlers against Palestinians and call for taking the necessary measures to end these egregious actions.
It is also important to maintain the existing legal and historical status of the holy places in Al-Quds Al-Sharif and put a stop to all measures aimed at changing the city’s identity.
In conclusion, the UAE affirms its readiness to support all regional and international efforts aimed at advancing the peace process in the Middle East and achieving the two-state solution. We stress here that diplomacy and peaceful dialogue remain the best pathways to ease tensions. The continued violence does not serve any party. On the contrary, most victims affected by violence are innocent civilians, including women and children, who all deserve a better life and future.
Thank you, Mr. President.