New York - The UAE, in its capacity as the Chair of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has urged the international community to take united, practical measures to save prospects for peace and the two-state solution, during the quarterly Open Debate on the Middle East situation, including the question of Palestine, at the UN Security Council yesterday.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, UAE’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, underscored the organisation’s commitment to an outcome that sees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the borders of June 4, 1967, and with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with relevant UN resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the Madrid terms of reference.

“What is clear is that the situation on the ground in the [occupied] Palestinian territories is fragile and cannot be neglected any longer,” Ambassador Nusseibeh emphasised. “The conflict has critically destabilised the Middle East, paving the way for extremist groups to spread their messages of terrorism and violence.”

Nusseibeh called attention to the dire humanitarian situation in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem. She noted Israel’s near total closure of the Gaza Strip continues to harm the approximately 2 million Palestinians living in the area, and that the generalised travel ban limiting travel to “exceptional humanitarian cases” and the severe restrictions on the entry and exit of goods to Gaza, have significant consequences for Palestinian access to essential services.

She also called for support for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, UNRWA, which provides aid to the majority of Gaza’s population and to refugees in need throughout the region. In this regard, she also highlighted the endowment Fund for Palestine Refugees – announced during the 46th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in the UAE in March 2019 – which aims to bolster the financial position of UNRWA, enabling it to deliver sustainable relief and services to Palestinian refugees.

Regarding the political process, Nusseibeh stressed the importance of driving international momentum to resume progress. She noted the crucial role of the international community and the UN Security Council in reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict and reiterated that the only viable solution to the conflict is the two-state solution.

Nusseibeh emphasised efforts towards international peace and security would not succeed without the end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian and Arab territories. She called on Israel to stop its illegal colony activities and for the end of any unlawful attempts to change the legal status of occupied Jerusalem. Furthermore, she stated that any recognition of “Israeli sovereignty” over the occupied Syrian Golan does not alter the legal status of the Syrian Golan Heights under international law.

Additionally, she emphasised the need for providing the necessary assistance and support for Palestinians to achieve economic and social development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Nusseibeh concluded by affirming the OIC will spare no efforts to advance international peace and security through the promotion of a two-state solution where Palestine and Israel live side by side in understanding, peace, and prosperity.