Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
Thank you, Mr. President.
At the outset, I would like to extend our sincere condolences on behalf of the United Arab Emirates to the government and people of Kuwait on the passing of the late Emir, His Highness Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah. He was a true leader, a tireless advocate for peace in the region who championed humanitarian causes around the world. His loss will be felt the world over.
I thank our briefers today – Special Coordinator Tor Wennesland and Major General Patrick Gauchat – for updating us on the situation on the ground.
We are now coming to the end of what was the deadliest year in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
This should be a wake-up call that the current status quo cannot be allowed to continue, and this starts with the current situation in Gaza.
Last week, many Security Council Members witnessed a humanitarian system at its breaking point at the Rafah crossing.
They saw thousands of trucks and warehouses filled with aid from people and governments around the world, the physical expression of their solidarity with the people of Gaza.
Meanwhile, just over the border, 2.2 million people remain trapped with 9 out of every 10 spending entire days without food. Gazans are experiencing unprecedented levels of starvation and thirst, while doctors lack even the most basic of medical supplies to treat the wounded and the growing threat of infection.
What we need is access. The resolution that we will vote on later today aims to meet this need by demanding the use of all land, sea and air routes to allow aid to enter.
Israel must stop blocking the entry of aid, and allow life-saving aid into the Gaza strip. The UAE notes the opening of the border crossing at Karam Abu Salam. We call on authorities to ensure its full opening, including to commercial cargo, so that aid can enter at scale.
The entry of aid alone is not enough, aid workers must not have to pay the ultimate price to carry out their lifesaving work, and those accessing the aid must be able to do so without fearing for their safety.
This is why we need the urgent and extended pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza strip as called for in resolution 2712.
Monitoring and verification are key to implementation. We welcome the Secretary-General’s letter to the Council yesterday providing options. We look forward to discussing these with fellow members of the Council and to their further elaboration by the UN Secretariat.
A humanitarian ceasefire remains a fundamental necessity to bring the suffering in Gaza to an end.
It will stop the bloodshed, allow for the safe and unhindered access for humanitarian aid, and offer an opportunity for hostages to be brought to safety.
Meanwhile, less than 100km away from Gaza, people in the West Bank are living in a situation of violence and fear that has escalated over the past two months.
Since 7 October, the number of people killed in the West Bank has increased; 278 Palestinians, including 70 children have lost their lives. This is more than half of the total number since the beginning of the year, in a year that was already witnessing unprecedented levels of violence.
The level of settler violence is disturbing and unrelenting, with 344 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians in the past two months. This is unacceptable and must be stopped.
Just because those with extremist voices shout the loudest does not mean that they should decide the fate of the region.
We are also deeply concerned about reports of Israel approving a new illegal settlement in East Jerusalem, including 1,700 units.
We reject and condemn in the strongest possible terms any attempt to exploit the ongoing war on Gaza to expand settlements and displace Palestinians from their land.
This is also a grave violation of resolution 2334.
Not just an indictment of settlements, 2334 renewed the Council’s commitment to the two-state solution and the parameters necessary for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
The violence we are witnessing now across Gaza and the West Bank is a direct result of the lack of full implementation of 2334, and the absence of any meaningful political process.
The past two months have made this crystal clear as well as underlining the urgency of resolving the Palestinian question, a matter of priority for all of us.
This is why we need a comprehensive, just, and lasting solution.
The international community’s commitment to the two-State solution is a responsibility we must all bear and a call to action we must all heed.
Thank you, Mr. President.