The United Arab Emirates urged the US to support an immediate ceasefire of Israel’s war in Gaza, warning that the risk of a regional conflagration is growing daily as the three-months long conflict rages on.
“We need a humanitarian ceasefire now, we can’t wait another 100 days,” the UAE Ambassador to the United Nations, Lana Nusseibeh, said in an online interview from New York. “The risks are high, the war in Gaza is very clearly an open wound and it’s destabilizing the region,” she said, adding that the US could play a critical role in easing the tensions.
The Iranian-backed militant group Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by the US and European Union, killed 1,200 people and abducted 240 others in its October 7 incursion into southern Israel.
In retaliation, Israeli troops displaced most of Gaza’s two million population and killed more than 24,000, according to the Hamas-run health authorities.
In mid-December the World Bank estimated Israeli bombardment had damaged or destroyed over 60% of Gaza’s infrastructure.
President Joe Biden’s administration has refrained from demanding a halt to the Israeli military campaign, also vetoing a United Nations peace proposal put forward by the UAE in December.
Since the start of the war in Gaza, there have been almost daily skirmishes on Israel’s border with Lebanon between Israeli forces and the Iranian-supported Hezbollah.
Iran on Monday launched missile strikes on an alleged Israeli spy base in northern Iraq. Meanwhile, Iranian-armed Houthis in Yemen are disrupting global trade by attacking cargo ships moving goods across the Red Sea. Attacks by Iran-linked groups on US bases in Iraq and Syria are also intensifying.
“If the objective is not to increase extremism and terrorism in our region, this would be described as the case study for how not to do it,” Nusseibeh said.
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