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The UAE has condemned Israel’s military ground operations in the Gaza Strip and called for an immediate ceasefire to protect civilian lives.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the UAE's concern as Israeli infantry moved into Gaza on Saturday in an escalation of military action that threatens to exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory.
Footage showed rows of tanks and armoured vehicles moving into open areas of Gaza as Israeli fighter planes carried out heavy bombardment that the military said was targeting Hamas tunnels and underground bunkers.
The ministry statement reaffirmed the need for an immediate ceasefire to ensure that civilians and civilian institutions were not targeted.
It underlined the importance of protecting civilians according to international humanitarian law and international treaties for the protection of civilians and human rights, and the need to ensure that they were not targeted during conflict.
The United Nations General Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution calling for a humanitarian truce in Gaza and a cessation of hostilities.
The resolution was heavily backed by the UAE, with MoFA stating it was an important step towards de-escalation to restore calm and protect civilian lives.
It also called for the immediate opening of safe humanitarian corridors to allow humanitarian aid to flow freely into Gaza.
Separately, the UAE has requested an emergency session of the UN Security Council as soon as possible to discuss the situation in Gaza.
The Emirates has asked Brazil, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council, to hold the meeting in an open format that would include contributions from the UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths and UNRWA’s Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini.
UN agencies have repeatedly voiced concern over the humanitarian situation in Gaza in the three weeks since Israel imposed a total blockade on the territory and began a bombing campaign that has claimed about 8,000 lives.
The Israeli military said on Saturday it would allow more lorries carrying food, water and medicine to enter southern Gaza to support civilians in the south of Palestinian territory.