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UAE reiterates call for ceasefire, safe, sustained humanitarian aid in Gaza: Nusseibeh

UAE reiterates call for ceasefire, safe, sustained humanitarian aid in Gaza: Nusseibeh
1 Nov 2023 09:48

NEW YORK CITY (ALETIHAD) -  Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) in New York, delivered the UAE statement at the UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on the Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, urging the Council to work together to prevent the war in Gaza, in which civilians are paying the price.

At the start of the address, Her Excellency extended the UAE’s deep condolences for the 64 UNRWA workers killed in the current war, noting that they “paid the ultimate sacrifice for the lifesaving work the UN does every day around the world”. She referred to last Friday, when 121 countries issued an unambiguous call for an “immediate, durable, and sustained humanitarian truce in Gaza”.

“They stood up for the humanitarian imperative, for human rights, for international law, and most importantly, for the self-evident truth that Palestinian life is precious, equal, and deserving of the full protection of the law,” Her Excellency added.

Continuing her address, she said: “We have heard many say that the 2.2 million Palestinians in Gaza are not Hamas, that this is not a war against them. And while these are welcome words, it is time that action reflected them.” Nusseibeh pointed to the 8,000 people that have been killed in Gaza, 70% of whom were women and children. “Nearly 1,000 children are missing and may be trapped or dead under the rubble. They are not Hamas. Will we help them,” she appealed, noting that the number of Palestinian children killed in just three weeks of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza exceeds the total number of children killed in conflicts worldwide in each of the last four years.

Her Excellency stressed that children deserve the Council’s special protection and called for an urgent ceasefire, ensuring that “safe, sustained, and at scale humanitarian aid” reaches Gaza and that access to electricity, clean water, and fuel is restored.

The shutdown of cellular and internet services over the weekend as part of the offensive meant that wounded civilians were searching for help in the dark, she noted, highlighting that there have been 76 attacks on healthcare, which resulted in the destruction and damage of 20 hospitals and clinics.

“Let me be absolutely clear on this point: these sites are protected by international humanitarian law. Announcements that they are targets or warnings for them to evacuate do not, I repeat, do not alter their protected status,” Her Excellency underlined, urging for the recession of dangerous, unrealistic evacuation orders. She cautioned the Council that the Gazan population is at risk by escalating hostilities, as are the Israeli and international hostages wrongly taken by Hamas, adding that “the occupied West Bank has not been spared from violence either”.

“Israeli settlers are escalating their attacks against Palestinian civilians, and forcing their displacement. These attacks must be prevented by the State of Israel,” Her Excellency said, adding that there have been several credible warnings of a wider conflict escalation across the region.

“We cannot reverse the heinous October 7th attacks by condoning this war in which civilians are paying the price. Ignoring what could happen day after day, will have devastating consequences, not only for Israelis and Palestinians, but for the prospects of peace and stability in our region,” Nusseibeh said.

Her Excellency continued her address by mentioning Arab poet Heba Abu Nada, a Palestinian woman killed in Khan Yunis several days ago. “Colleagues, we may have failed the dead, but we must channel our sorrow into saving the living. The time to reverse course is running out. What we, and 121 countries, are advocating for may be the harder road, but history warns us of the consequences of not taking it,” Her Excellency said, concluding her address.

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