As a momentous year draws to a close, The National is running a series of articles examining the impact of the growing diplomatic strength of the UAE.
Over the next few days, we will examine the country’s growing international influence, be it through the soft power of culture and connectivity, or strengthening ties within the GCC and further around the globe.
This nation has never had a more prominent position in the world – and this series will explain how it was achieved, why it matters and what lies ahead.
The UAE remains committed to supporting a sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war.
Abu Dhabi has continuously reiterated its unequivocal position towards the Palestinian cause and its support for the Palestinian people in restoring their legitimate rights in line with international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.
“The UAE supports peace efforts in Palestine and a solution that is based on the 1967 borders,” Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs said in November.
Since December 2017, Arab states have been attempting to counter US President Donald Trump’s move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a decision that overturned decades of American policy on the Middle East.
Mr Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem has infuriated the Arab world and upset Western allies, who say it is a blow to peace efforts and risks sparking more violence in the region.
The UAE and other Arab states consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it from Jordan in a 1967 war, to be occupied territory, and say the status of the city should be decided at future Israeli-Palestinian talks.
"A US peace plan must clearly set-out as an end goal a two-state solution in line with established final status parameters, past UN resolutions, and international law," Hugh Lovatt, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told The National.
Relations between the two states have been historical and vital for the stability of the region, Nabil Shaath advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told The National.
“It’s a historical relation that started with Sheikh Zayed and Yaser Arafat and, it’s a strategic relationship based on support and alliance and has always been like that,” Mr Shaath said.
“The relationship with the United Arab Emirates and our brotherly Arab countries have to always be close and important because of our joint aspirations, history and interests, now and in the future,” Mr Shaath said.
UAE Humanitarian assistance to Palestine
The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees has thanked the UAE, other Gulf countries and the European Union for their contributions after their budget shortfall fell drastically despite US funding cuts earlier this year.
In August, US President Donald Trump slashed the entirety of Washington's aid to the agency that helps millions of Palestinians displaced after the creation of Israel in 1948, leaving it facing its biggest crisis in its existence.
UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl thanked in particular Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, saying they had helped to plug the deficit by contributing $50 million each.
The UAE's total contribution to UNRWA in 2017 was $26.7 million, which includes contributions from the UAE government, as well as from UAE organizations like the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, UAE Red Crescent, and Dubai Cares to UNRWA.
Additionally, the UAE also contributed $98.7 million in bilateral aid to Palestine in 2017.
Overall, in 2017 the UAE sources contributed more than $125 million in support of the Palestinian people.
Since the beginning of 2018, the UAE has pledged an additional $75 million for Palestine, including $50 million to UNRWA.
"In addition to our ongoing and substantial financial support to the Palestinian people, the UAE is strongly supportive of the ongoing efforts by the international community to address the root causes of this protracted conflict and to restart a political dialogue for peace," Lana Nusseibeh, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN said in July 2018.