H.E. Ambassador Ahmed A. Al-Jarman
The Permanent Representative
Allow me at the outset to express the gratitude of my delegation for the prompt response to our call to reconvene the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly to consider illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, and especially the situation in Gaza over the past 20 days. My delegation wishes to thank the Deputy Secretary-General for her important statement on the situation in Gaza (see A/ES 10/PV.32). My delegation also supports the statements made by the representative of Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and by the representative of Morocco on behalf of the Arab Group.
The United Arab Emirates condemns the barbaric aggression by Israel, the occupying Power, against civilians in the Gaza Strip, which has continued since 27 December 2008 and which has made use of excessive force and internationally banned weapons to bomb civilian homes and destroy infrastructure. Israel is besieging unarmed inhabitants and has caused the deaths of more than 1,000 persons — 40 per cent of them women and children — and has wounded more than 5,000, half of them women and children. Tens of thousands have been displaced. These numbers continue to grow each day.
In addition, obstacles have been put in place to delay the delivery of internal and international humanitarian and medical assistance to the injured and the displaced, including women, children, the elderly and the disabled. This exacerbates the suffering of the victims in an inhumane manner and places the region on the verge of an intolerable and unacceptable humanitarian catastrophe. In addition to the threats to international peace and security, we are gravely concerned at the ongoing violence and the human suffering of the people of Gaza. We express our solidarity with them and their plight, and we stand ready to deploy all possible efforts to alleviate their suffering and put an end to their tragedy.
We meet today following Israel’s refusal, again, to comply with Security Council resolutions relevant to the Palestinian question, the most recent of which is Council resolution 1860 (2009) of 8 January, in addition to its flagrant violations of international law and international humanitarian law. We call upon the Security Council and the international community, including the General Assembly, to assume their responsibilities to maintain international peace and security and to protect Palestinian civilians.
In view of the catastrophe suffered by the inhabitants of Gaza, the United Arab Emirates calls on the international community to intensify its efforts to compel Israel to comply with Council resolution 1860 (2009), to put an end to the violence, to implement an immediate ceasefire, to lift the blockade and open the border crossings, to provide access for humanitarian and relief assistance to the inhabitants and to withdraw totally from Gaza. Israel must abide by the resolutions of international legitimacy and international humanitarian law and live up to its responsibilities as an occupying Power as stipulated in The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols.
We welcome the fact that resolution S-9/1, adopted by the Human Rights Council on 12 January 2009, calls for the urgent dispatch of an independent fact-finding mission to investigate Israel’s violations of international law and international humanitarian law against the Palestinian population in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in the Gaza Strip, and for bringing those responsible to justice. At the same time, we urge the international community and influential parties to press Israel to resume peace talks in order to reach a final settlement of the Palestinian question and the Middle East problem, on the basis of all relevant international resolutions.
We underscore that the international community and the specialized agencies and bodies of the United Nations should continue their efforts to effectively address the political, humanitarian, socio-economic and security repercussions of this crisis. The United Arab Emirates has assumed its humanitarian responsibilities both as a member of the group of donors to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and by working to provide urgent assistance to the Palestinian people in Gaza through an emergency meeting it hosted in Abu Dhabi on 13 January for donor countries, charitable organizations of the United Arab Emirates and other international humanitarian organizations, in order to coordinate the delivery of relief assistance to the population of Gaza and to rehabilitate important educational, health and other infrastructure.
In this respect, it is our hope that the positive diplomatic initiatives and international and regional efforts that are currently being deployed will put an end to the tragic situation in Gaza, provide relief to the civilian population, bring about the resumption of the peace talks between all of the concerned parties, and bring an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State.
H.E. Ambassador Ahmed A. Al-Jarman