Delivered by Mrs. Amierah AlHefeiti, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’affaires
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At the outset, I thank Mr. Tor Wennesland for his thorough briefing and for his efforts and attempts to calm the escalating situation in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Despite the repeated appeals made by Council members to defuse tensions over the past months, we regret the continued trend towards dangerous escalation. The recent period has witnessed a worrying upsurge in confrontations between Palestinians and Israelis. Undoubtedly, the lack of negotiations between the parties is one of the main drivers of this escalation. The absence of prospects for a political solution has also led to a state of frustration and fear and fueled feelings of anger over the situation on the ground.
As for the Security Council, instead of proactively taking measures to prevent the situation from worsening, we have reached a stage at which the conflict seems to control our responses to ongoing developments. What we need today is urgent diplomatic action that restores confidence between the parties and encourages them to return to genuine and serious negotiations. We would like to recall here that escalation will not be in the interest of any party. A political solution is the only way to end this conflict and establish an independent, sovereign 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.
It is imperative in the current situation to stop all illegal practices in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially those that increase the likelihood of further confrontations. This includes the ongoing incursions into the cities and villages of the West Bank, mainly in Nablus, as well as the restrictions on the movement of residents. The situation is further exacerbated by continued settler violence, which significantly increased over the last period and must stop. We affirm here that the construction and expansion of settlements constitutes a violation of international law, undermines the two-State solution, and hinders peace efforts. Considering the recent increase in the number of injuries, we remind all parties to abide by their responsibilities under international law and international humanitarian law, particularly regarding the protection of civilians – which includes children. We support here Mr. Wennesland’s statement following the death of a young child, Rayan, on the need to protect children from harm.
Additionally, in light of the recent incursions into the Al Ibrahimi Mosque in the city of Hebron as well as holy places in the Holy City of Jerusalem, we affirm that any unilateral or provocative action in holy places must also stop. It is critical to preserve the status quo in the Holy City, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 478. We also highlight the important role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as guardian of the holy sites and religious endowments under international law, in line with the historical status quo, without prejudice, and with respect for the powers and competencies of the Administration Department of Awqaf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs. We appreciate the efforts of the Al-Quds Committee and the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of the Kingdom of Morocco, in protecting the city.
The Palestinian people continue to face difficult humanitarian conditions. According to United Nations reports, 36% of the population lives below the poverty line, and the Gaza Strip has one of the world’s highest rates of unemployment. We stress that responding to the fragile humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory requires intensifying cooperation between the Palestinian and Israeli authorities and United Nations agencies as well as increased international support for the Palestinian people.
For its part, the UAE signed a cooperation agreement this month with the World Health Organization to support “Makassed Hospital” in East Jerusalem with USD 25 million dollars, to provide medicines, medical supplies, and equipment to the hospital.
As we highlight the need to support for the Palestinian people, we appreciate here the efforts of the Algeria in facilitating the recent consultations that resulted in the country’s declaration on Palestinian reconciliation. We also commend the historical role of the Arab Republic of Egypt in this regard.
Thank you, Mr. President.