Delivered By: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
It is perhaps beyond me to put into words the abject horrors we are witnessing in Gaza.
That is why the United Arab Emirates fully supported the Council to take action today, and we still support that the Council does take action on this situation.
For more than 140 years, the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital has provided medical care and shelter for generations of Gazans. Yesterday, more than 500 Palestinians were killed in a strike that hit the hospital.
Each passing hour of this ruinous war makes a mockery of the principles of international humanitarian law.
Gaza is laid to waste, and nobody feels safe.
We call for a full, independent investigation into this incident and for those who are responsible to be held accountable.
As we verify information about the strike, one fact still remains indisputable: more Palestinians have died in this outbreak of violence than in any other in the history of the conflict.
In less than two weeks of bombardment, more than 3,500 Palestinians have been killed and more than 14,000 injured, while we continue to sit here and compare the casualties on both sides.
We support no less than a full humanitarian ceasefire. We don’t ask for this to be done at the expense of Israel’s security, but so that people may tend to their wounded, bury their dead in dignity, and begin putting their lives back together.
This ceasefire is also crucial so that vital humanitarian aid may enter and aid workers do their work safely.
Hamas is indeed responsible for sparking this latest fire that is now engulfing the streets of Arab capitals around the region. We have called them out on this openly for the heinous attacks on the 7th of October. But make no mistake, the kindling was already there, fuelled by decades of violent dehumanisation, dispossession, and despair.
That is why we cannot, however convenient, lose sight of the context of this crisis – the longest ongoing occupation in the world today of a people that do not wish to be ruled and have been let down again, and again, and again, by all of us.
The UAE voted for this resolution not because it is a perfect text, but because it clearly states basic principles which must be upheld and which this Council is obliged to reinforce and uphold.
We really thank Brazil and its delegation for their efforts, and we remain hopeful that in the coming days we can unite behind a resolution, and that also in parallel, diplomatic efforts led by the United States help lead us all off this brink that we are edging towards.
As I and others said yesterday, the current escalation must drive all of us, but most importantly, Israelis and Palestinians, to the urgent work of achieving the two-state solution.
Let me be clear: the only alternative to that is the violence we see right now.
Three years ago, my country established diplomatic relations with Israel. The Abraham Accords are grounded in a simple but enduring truth: that peace and dialogue are better than violence and enmity.
Along with our Israeli and American partners, we sought a new Middle East where co-existence and cooperation deliver prosperity, security, and peace for all.
The indiscriminate damage visited upon the people of Gaza in pursuit of Israel’s security risks extinguishing that hope.
The region is already contending with the spill-over of this crisis, and the enemies of peace are unapologetic about their aims.
Let us not play into their hands.
It has been said over the past few days that this crisis is a test for the international community, and for the UN Security Council.
That is true.
Noa Argamani, a young Jewish woman abducted by Hamas, is in her second year of computer studies at Ben-Gurion University. Her mother is undergoing cancer treatment, and she is an only child.
In a conversation with a journalist about the horror inflicted on this family, her father, Yakov, recalled that “in Gaza, too, families are mourning their children.”
He described Israelis and Palestinians as “two nations with one father,” and added that “we can reach true peace, and I’m praying for this to happen. Amen to the hostages’ return.”
22-year-old Dunia Abu-Rahma, an architectural student in Gaza, is one of the thousands of civilians today fleeing south. Last night, she told CNN that up until recently, all she had been thinking about was her graduation project. Now all she thinks about is “how to be safe”.
The test, colleagues, is whether or not we sustain that hope for peace that shines even through a parent’s unspeakable anguish and a child’s aspiration to just be normal, like the rest of us.
We cannot doom millions of people to misery because diplomacy is hard. We must keep trying, again, and again, and again.
We must recognise that by continuing to fail to respond to the Palestinian people’s legitimate aspirations for a country in their homeland, we fuel this unrelenting cycle of violence and hatred.
Let us not fail this test, for the sake of Israelis, for the sake of Palestinians, and for the sake all of the peoples of the Middle East.