Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

ANNEXATION OF PALESTINE

UAE always working to solve 'bleak' situation for Palestinians, says Zaki Nusseibeh

The UAE minister of state, himself born in Jerusalem, says that the countries must be clear on where they stand

The “bleak” situation in Palestine looks worse every day, UAE Minister of State Zaki Nusseibeh, but the Emirates will continue to do everything it can to find a positive outcome for the Palestinian people.

Speaking to Tonight's Chat by The National, hosted by Ricardo Karam, the Jerusalem-born Mr Nusseibeh said he believes the UAE will continue to do all it can to “to help mitigate this situation” just days before Israel plans to begin annexation of large areas in the West Bank and Jordan Valley.

Palestinian, Arab and international officials have warned that the move would effectively kill off any hope for a two-state solution to the decades-long Arab-Israeli conflict.

“Let me start by saying that the situation looks bleak,” Mr Nusseibeh said. “Let us not kid ourselves… we are in a situation that is worsening every day. And we see this happening before our very own eyes.”

He pointed to recent statements and interviews by numerous UAE officials – including an op-ed by US Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba in Israeli media warning of the risks of annexation.

“In the end, you need to communicate, you cannot just hide your hand… The UAE as usual, tries everything it can to be positive, to be proactive to try to help and let us not forget, we need to help people in the end.”

The minister of state urged people to remember that the issue is about people and livelihoods, not geo-politics.

“We are not talking about an abstract issue of occupying further land, of occupying water resources, of bringing in immigrants to live in the place of the indigenous population. We are talking about the suffering that these people have to go through, and I am confident that the Emirates will continue these efforts, notwithstanding the fact that the outlook is very bleak.”

Watch Zaki Nusseibeh on Tonight's Chat

Mr Nusseibeh also touched on the view of Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, when it came to Palestine.

“The leader I worked with was fully committed and passionate about helping the Palestinian people and about delivering justice, redressing the injustice that they have gone through.”

Mr Nusseibeh’s family have been leading voices in Palestine for generations. His father, Anwar Nusseibeh, was a prominent Palestinian official in the middle of the 20th century and a man Mr Nusseibeh described as “always upheld the values of public service” while his mother Nuzha Al Ghussein a leading women’s rights campaigner.

The UAE minister of state said that he had always tried to instill the same values in his own children.

During the conversation with Mr Karam, Mr Nusseibeh also responded to questions regarding the treatment of migrant and foreign labourers in the UAE.

“Throughout the decades of development, one of the major contributions was brought by Indian Pakistani, South East Asian labourers who came here, worked here and spent the lives here, building our cities … but at the same time, I can assure [you] that the government has always had the interests of these people at heart,” he said.

Of reports of poor conditions or abuses, he said “we listen, we hear about them, about the mistreatment of labour in the Gulf countries, about the kafala system, about the rights of labour, about the payment of their salaries. And I know that the UAE government is doing everything it can in order to bring legislation that will provide help to this labour.”

Updated: June 29, 2020 08:53 AM

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