Delivered by His Excellency Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.
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I thank Mr. Tor Wennesland for his valuable briefing.
We meet today at a time when the Middle East Peace Process is going through a delicate phase that requires undivided attention from the international community. While the Occupied Palestinian Territory is witnessing a sharp rise in violence and tensions, there are also increasing concerns at the local and international level over the future of the two-state solution, especially in light of current events and the absence of serious negotiation between the parties.
In the context of the heightened tensions surrounding the political and security situations, which we are closely following, we emphasize the following points:
First, there is an urgent need to de-escalate and prevent tensions from rising to an irreversible point. Inciting extremism and violence have not and will not be in the interest of any party. Diplomacy and dialogue remain the only way to end this conflict. This primarily means refraining from any rhetoric or provocations that may fuel tensions in an already fragile situation. We remind all parties to abide by their responsibilities under international law and international humanitarian law, especially regarding the protection of civilians.
In this context, there is a need to stop the repeated incursions into holy sites and Palestinian areas by settlers and the accompanying acts of violence, such as those seen in conjunction with the incursion of tens of thousands of settlers in the Old City of Hebron this month. We also reiterate our condemnation of the terrorist attacks that took place in Jerusalem last week.
Secondly, the coming period requires wise leadership that sees the path of peace and the two-state solution as an indispensable strategic option to end the cycles of violence and create a future based on security and prosperity for both peoples. Accordingly, we urge both sides to intensify constructive communication and cooperation. We affirm that creating an environment conducive to peace requires reversing the negative trends on the ground, foremost of which is stopping the construction and expansion of settlements that violate international law and this Council’s resolutions.
Third, the Security Council must send a clear message that we remain committed to the agreed upon international terms of reference to end this conflict. This includes the need for the parties to return to serious negotiations that pave the way towards a two-state solution, in which the Palestinian state lives side by side with Israel in peace, security, and mutual recognition. This solution remains one of the demands of all Arab states, as reaffirmed at the Algeria Summit held earlier this month, along with adherence to the Arab Peace Initiative.
The difficult humanitarian condition in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in Gaza Strip, requires constant international attention and support. This is critical as unemployment approaches 40%. We stress the importance of providing economic and educational opportunities for Palestinian youth, to enable them to build and develop their societies. We also welcome the recent agreement to bring dual use materials to repair fishing boats into the Gaza Strip for the first time since 2007. We appreciate the United Nations efforts in facilitating this important step, which we hope to build upon.
In conclusion, and as we mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People tomorrow, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has emphasized in his letter on the occasion, the UAE’s firm and historic commitment to support the Palestinian people and their aspirations to establish an independent and sovereign Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Thank you, Mr. President.