There is one factor that could never be compromised when it comes to the Middle East peace process as it is the one that determines whether a Palestinian state is viable or not. Without occupied East Jerusalem becoming the capital of an independent Palestinian state, any negotiations over peace are fruitless.

Realising the importance of this issue, the UAE has always been in support of what is just for the Palestinian cause. On the diplomatic front, it has been pressing for a strong stance to be taken against countries which move their embassies to Occupied Jerusalem or recognise it as Israel's capital. As a matter of fact, the Abu Dhabi Declaration — endorsed by all members of the Organisation of Islamic Conference — recognised a state of Palestine that includes all the parts occupied by Israel in 1967 — which includes occupied East Jerusalem.

The stance taken by the UAE is non-negotiable as it reflects a core policy position by the country on a vital matter to the region. President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that Arab Muslim Jerusalem can never be surrendered as history, law and international legitimacy confirm Muslims' rights to it.

The point highlighted by Shaikh Khalifa is crucial to the peace process given the ground reality in the occupied city. Israel has been following a policy of changing the city's identity so that a single group is represented and all the others are forced to leave. Palestinians, both Muslims and Christians, are being evicted from their homes as part of an Israeli master plan to Judaise Jerusalem. It is therefore of the greatest importance that the true identity of occupied Jerusalem is protected and maintained. Otherwise, any talk of peace would prove to be simply a waste of time.