UAE calls for Palestine peace process to 'spare region from violence'

Diplomats warn crisis in Gaza has exposed cracks in troubled international system

The UN's human rights council was warned of a  deteriorating catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. AFP
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The UAE on Tuesday called for a political solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict to “spare the region from confrontation and violence”.

The crisis in Gaza is “extremely sensitive and dangerous” and threatens the lives of everyone in the Gaza Strip, said Khalifa Shaheen Almarar, Minister of State.

He was among several Arab diplomats to use speeches at the UN’s human rights council in Geneva to lobby for a long-term peace process after months of war between Israel and Hamas.

While the US, Egypt and Qatar are brokering talks on a potential Ramadan truce, neither Israel nor Hamas have shown interest in a broader Middle East settlement to end repeated cycles of fighting.

A key demand for Arab states is an end to Israel’s settlement of occupied land. Kuwait said there was “no solution” without an end to occupation, while Tunisia said Israel should be compelled to stop its blockade of Gaza.

The UN council, being chaired by Morocco, was warned faith in the troubled international system could crack further as polarised views limit the world’s ability to tackle the crisis.

Egypt bemoaned what it called the double standards of allies of Israel, suggesting “life in Gaza is not worthy enough of their attention”. Some western diplomats joined calls for Israel to curb its offensive.

Catastrophic situation

Representing the UAE, Mr Almarar said incessant Israeli attacks “have led to a catastrophic humanitarian situation which is extremely sensitive and dangerous, and threatens the lives of all residents of Gaza”.

He told the council of UAE efforts to provide medical aid, drinking water and treatment for Palestinians but said the crisis “requires stepping up collective action and joint efforts”.

These should “put an end to the ongoing machinery of destruction, to achieve an immediate ceasefire to protect civilians and accelerate the arrival of needed humanitarian aid", he said.

“In order to spare the region from confrontation and violence, we stress the need to find a political solution to a just and comprehensive outcome to the Palestinian question on the basis of a two-state solution.”

Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said the international community “cannot keep turning a blind eye” to the war’s human toll, as his country presides over a packed month-long session of the Geneva council.

“This is a difficult situation that asks questions about the credibility of multilateralism,” he said.

“We need to create a political horizon for the Palestinian cause with the two-state solution in our sights, with the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Israel, which is not represented on the 47-member UN council, has said it cannot accept full Palestinian self-rule. It says this would reward Hamas violence and that Israel needs “security control” of Gaza and the West Bank, which it currently occupies.

Its conduct in Gaza is also under scrutiny from allied capitals, UN inspectors and judges in The Hague, who last month ordered Israel to do everything possible to prevent acts of genocide and allow aid into the besieged strip.

However, the UN’s ability to act is limited by regular US vetoes in the Security Council, which has “failed to end the Israeli atrocities”, said Turkish deputy foreign minister Ahmet Yildiz.

“Ongoing indiscriminate attacks by Israel in Gaza have eroded the international community’s faith in the rules-based international system,” Mr Yildiz said, despite what he called the milestone ruling from The Hague.

Iraq and Egypt urged donors to keep funding aid agency UNRWA, after payments were suspended by the UK, Germany and others over allegations of staff involvement in Hamas’s 7 October attack on Israel.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry said the crisis in Gaza had "laid bare double standards" as he accused some states of intentionally thwarting a ceasefire, thereby "giving Israel carte blanche to continue their operations".

He said a lack of condemnation of events in Gaza, from countries which had expressed a view on other conflicts, could lead to the "collapse of the international system".

"It seems that life in Gaza is not worthy enough of their attention, that the massacre of tens of thousands of children fails to shake their otherwise all too sensitive conscience, for the lives of Gaza’s children are seemingly less valuable than others," he said.

Updated: February 27, 2024, 4:30 PM