New York: The UAE has renewed its commitment to provide humanitarian and development assistance to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

The pledge came during a speech made on Friday by ambassador Ahmad Al Jarman, UAE Permanent Representative to the UN during the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly during a discussion on strengthening the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance and assistance to the Palestinian people.

Al Jarman said the UAE is one of the major contributors to the immediate humanitarian assistance and development projects, as well as to the direct budget of the Palestinian National Authority. “Our contribution in 2011 amounted to $34 million [124.85 million] earmarked to support the government and development projects,” he said.

“The experiences and practices of some countries in responding to humanitarian crises had underscored the importance of building and strengthening national capacities and preparedness to deal with disasters, as a key factor in reducing human losses and achieving quick recovery, as was stated by Hugo framework and reaffirmed in the final document of Rio+20. In this regard, the UAE stresses the necessity of integrating disaster risk-reduction strategies, capacity-building, quick efficient response and recovery, into sustainable development plans of developing countries and the allocation of efficient resources for it,” Al Jarman said.

The UAE envoy also expressed the nation’s grave concern about the deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territories resulting from the continued Israeli occupation and the policies of aggression and closure, especially in the Gaza Strip, which is still subjected to the blockade imposed by Israeli occupying forces, and the brutal attacks it has endured lately. “The UAE renews its demand from the international community to compel Israel, the occupying power, to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip, immediately and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people, end its occupation of the Arab lands.”