Delivered by Ghasaq Shaheen, Political Coordinator
I thank Mr. Tor Wennesland for his thorough briefing and significant efforts.
Five years ago, this Council adopted resolution 2334 to reaffirm the position of the international community demanding an end to all Israeli settlement activities as an imperative to salvage the two-state solution. Regrettably, however, the Secretary-General’s latest report details the persistence of negative trends on the ground. These developments include the construction and expansion of settlements, demolitions and forced displacement—the most notable of which was the decision regarding the displacement of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta in the West Bank—and the threat to demolish homes in various parts of East Jerusalem.
We underscore that the construction and expansion of settlements jeopardizes the geographical contiguity of the occupied Palestinian territory and deeply affects the lives of the population, especially women and children, including by limiting their movement and by depriving farmers of access to their lands and to water sources. These settlements are also points of tension and are among the factors that perpetuate violence. They also undermine peace efforts and constitute a violation of international law and United Nations resolutions.
On a larger scale, and as Mr. Wennesland highlighted, the security and political situation continues to deteriorate, especially in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as recent events have exacerbated tensions, threatening to ignite violence at any moment. As the Secretary-General makes clear in his report, these situations are becoming more dangerous in the absence of prospects for peace and the failure to address root causes. It must be emphasized here the necessity to abide by the call of resolution 2334 regarding the prevention of all acts of violence against civilians, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement, and destruction, especially in light of these escalating tensions.
Therefore, this fragile situation should not be left unaddressed. Regional and international diplomatic efforts must be intensified to take proactive measures that maintain calm and contribute to creating an environment conducive to peace. In this regard, we look forward to the upcoming visit of US President Biden to the region next month, especially his visits to Israel and Palestine. We also believe that strengthening cooperation between the parties at all levels, particularly in terms of de-escalation and improving living conditions, would contribute to building trust between the parties and create a space that would lead them back to credible negotiations.
In the context of the worsening humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially in the Gaza Strip, amid a spike in commodity prices, we stress the importance of alleviating these conditions, by taking concrete measures to revive the economy and facilitate the movement of workers and trade flows. We reiterate the UAE’s permanent and historical commitment to the Palestinian people, including with humanitarian aid and support for the health and education sectors.
We welcome last Friday’s meeting of the Security Council’s Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security, which focused for the first time on the Peace Process in the Middle East and highlighted the status of Palestinian women and their contributions to peace and security. There was also consensus on the need to pay more attention to strengthening the role of Palestinian women in this field and empowering them in various sectors, given their vital role in building peaceful and stable societies.
In conclusion, my country reiterates its firm and unwavering support for achieving the two-state solution in which an independent and sovereign Palestinian state based on the borders of June 4th, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, lives side-by-side with Israel in peace, security, and mutual recognition.
Thank you, Mr. President.