Delivered By: His Excellency Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.

Madam President,

I thank the Assistant Secretary-General Mr. Khaled Khiari for his comprehensive briefing. 

During this Council’s last monthly meeting on this topic, we heard several warnings about the deteriorating security situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. At that time, the UAE emphasized the necessity of taking practical steps to curb this growing escalation.

In less than a week following that session, the Jenin refugee camp witnessed one of the most violent incursions in nearly two decades. This incident confirms, once again, that tensions are escalating to unprecedented levels. A return to calm has become an increasingly elusive goal in light of the ongoing illegal practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the prevalence of hate speech. The situation has grown increasingly alarming considering the mounting feelings of anger and resentment, as well as the deep-rooted despair felt among Palestinians – particularly youth – regarding the possibility of a just political settlement.

Against this concerning backdrop, it has become imperative for the international community to cease acting as bystanders. To prevent exacerbating the current situation, it is necessary to take a proactive and comprehensive approach, de-escalate tensions, and work towards reviving the Middle East Peace Process. As such, we must consider all available options for broadening our understanding to achieve these goals. We must also find creative approaches to rebuild trust between the parties, as convening meetings in response to specific events shouldn’t be sufficient for the Council.

This current juncture also demands that we spare no diplomatic effort, at both the regional and international level, to clearly emphasize that unilateral measures are unacceptable and that the recent levels of violence put the security and future of both peoples at stake. A return to constructive dialogue, in good faith, remains a necessity and an international demand.

In this context, it is crucial to reinvigorate the momentum generated by the Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh meetings held several months ago. The emphasis should be on ensuring compliance with the commitments agreed, which include concrete steps to address the current situation.

We must firmly reject any attempts to undermine the agreed international terms of reference for resolving the conflict, which calls to achieve the two-state solution, to which the Council renewed its commitment in its Presidential Statement in February earlier this year. The two-state solution must continue to serve as the foundation for all political endeavors. We cannot allow it to be marginalized under any circumstances. 

Once again, we underscore the need to halt all settlement activities. These activities constitute a threat to the two-state solution, particularly if the approval and construction of new settlement units continues at the same pace witnessed especially over recent years. These activities violate international law and relevant Security Council resolutions.

It is also critical to maintain the historical and legal status quo of the city of Jerusalem, which remains one of the final status issues. This means ceasing demolitions, property confiscation, and unjust displacement of residents in East Jerusalem. As we affirm the need to respect the Hashemite guardianship over the holy places of the city, we condemn the repeated storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by extremists and members of the Israeli government, the latest of which was carried out today, resulting in clashes and further tensions.

We reiterate our calls to end the continuous and escalating raids, against the Palestinian people – whether conducted by the Israeli authorities or settlers. We condemn the storming of the Nur Shams camp earlier this week, as well as the recent incursion of the Jenin camp that resulted in severe damage.

In order to alleviate the difficult living conditions of the Palestinian people, especially the refugees, the UAE pledged $15 million to UNRWA this month to help affected families in the city of Jenin and its camp. This is in addition to the $20 million that the UAE pledged to the Agency last June. The international community must continue its support to the UNRWA considering its critical role in assisting refugees and maintaining stability in the region.

In conclusion, we underscore that the upcoming period will be critical for intensifying efforts to prevent tensions reaching a point of no-return. We must preserve the gains previously achieved in the decades-long political process as well as the Palestinian peoples’ right to establish an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel, in peace, security, and mutual recognition.

Thank you, Madam President.