Delivered by: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative

Madam President,

We have all heard today how the scale of suffering in Gaza competes with some of the darkest periods of our history.

This moment can be an inflection point, or it can be the point of no return. 

We are seeing the conflict spill over in the Middle East. The Houthis are holding maritime trade hostage by their opportunistic attacks in the Red Sea. Militias and other armed groups are sabre rattling, risking increased instability in our region.

And over a week ago the world was captivated by the proceedings at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. That such a case has been initiated and generated such international interest and support underlines the gravity of the situation.

The United Arab Emirates would like to define three steps to bring these crises in the Middle East to an end.

First, as has been said, we need an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. 

The overwhelming majority of the international community has called for this repeatedly and it is time that the minority view stop obstructing it from happening.

We cannot wait another 100 days.

The unbearable impacts of the ongoing Israeli bombardment on Gaza has resulted in what the UN has described as the worst humanitarian crisis in the history of the organisation. 

More than 25,000 people have died so far in Gaza, in addition to the 1,000 Israelis who died in the October 7th attack. 

But today, Gaza is also being starved ‒ one in four people is now experiencing famine-like conditions.

The humanitarian imperative at this moment must be our top priority, in addition to the ceasefire, so that life-saving aid can enter at scale and hostages can be allowed out and returned to their families safely.

The UAE will never tire in calling for such a humanitarian ceasefire.

Second, and even as we continue to push for a ceasefire, shorter truces would allow for urgent humanitarian aid and services to reach those in need and for hostages to be released in parallel. The truce at the end of November allowed for additional assistance and humanitarian activities in Gaza, and we need more of them to start tomorrow.

Finding pathways to similar agreements is essential.

Security Council resolutions 2712 and 2720 must be fully implemented. This includes ensuring that the UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator is able to fulfil her crucial mandate, including through the establishment of the UN mechanism.

Sigrid Kaag has hit the ground running, and we urge the United Nations and its Member States to give her their full support, including for any recommendations that she makes to this Council in her first report next week.

We also stress the need to end the so called “dual-use” restrictions that are seeing trucks containing basic medical supplies being turned away. Humanitarians describe this as a cruel policy that inflicts enormous suffering on the population in Gaza. 

We need to see the full opening of the Karem Abu Salem/Kerem Shalom border crossing to both humanitarian flow and commercial trade. The opening and facilitation of new routes as well as the resumption of the Port of Ashdod, the removal of restrictions on the movement of humanitarian workers and the full guarantee of safety for those accessing and distributing aid must all be prioritized.

Third, any resolution to this conflict must be anchored in the two-state solution. 

The UAE will not support a return to the failed status quo. 

Before, the two-state solution was the end point to where we envisioned our diplomatic efforts would lead us. 

Today, it must be our starting point. 

On both sides the future must be led by those who speak responsibly, those who understand that peace demands dignity and equality for both peoples, and begin negotiations on that basis.

There are those who resist the two-state solution even now without a viable alternative. We ask what they propose as a just and sustainable path to peace in the absence of that two-state solution.

What is needed is a valid, defined, benchmarked and agreed-upon way towards the two-state solution, and one that includes a workable governance structure. 

This is the only way to end this conflict sustainably and prevent the cycle of violence ‒ inflicted upon both Palestinians and Israelis ‒ from forever being repeated. 

Madam President, 

This is not only a moral and political duty to end the war on Gaza, but also a strategic imperative if there is any hope of a prosperous future for our region.  

Thank you.