As the war continues in the Gaza Strip and the number of child victims increases, the Emirates’ initiative to treat a thousand Palestinian children serves as a lifeline.
Launched by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the United Arab Emirates, the initiative is like a beacon of hope in a dark tunnel, dispelling the fear of the coming days and offering new hope to the people of the Gaza Strip.
Treating a thousand children is a message of Emirati hope
Today, Saturday, the first plane arrived carrying the first batches as part of the initiative to host 1000 Palestinian children in the Emirates, within the framework of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan‘s initiative to treat a thousand Palestinian children along with their families from the Gaza Strip in the hospitals of the United Arab Emirates.
This new initiative is part of a series of consecutive humanitarian and diplomatic initiatives from the Emirates, affirming that Palestinian children hold a prominent place in the heart of the Emirates and its leadership. These initiatives reveal the Emirates’ constant commitment to supporting and caring for Palestinian children across various health, educational, and social levels.
The arrival of the first plane comes about a month after the UAE President directed urgent aid to Palestinians with a sum of twenty million dollars through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). This marks the third time in 5 months that the UNRWA has received support from the UAE, an agency committed to providing education, healthcare, and social services to Palestinian refugees, embodying the UAE’s commitment to preserving the right to education for future generations in Palestine.
Support is increasing within the framework of continuous diplomatic efforts, with a top priority of protecting Palestinians in general and their children in particular.
The United Arab Emirates launches its international efforts to support children’s rights based on its foreign policy principles of justice, equality, and commitment to constructive action to support the implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UAE pays notable attention to providing a decent life for children worldwide, especially Palestinian children and those from countries affected by wars and natural disasters.
The UAE has solidified its position as one of the foremost supporters of child rights internationally through a range of initiatives and aid that primarily aim to ensure the right to health, education, and food for millions of children around the world.
The history of humanity is illuminated by the initiatives and efforts of the UAE, which tirelessly supports the rights of Palestinian children around the clock.
One million children… half the population of Gaza
As part of the latest initiatives, the first plane arrived on Saturday carrying the first batches of Gaza children and their families, within the framework of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan‘s initiative to treat a thousand Palestinian children along with their families from the Gaza Strip in the hospitals of the United Arab Emirates.
The plane arriving from El Arish Airport in the Arab Republic of Egypt landed at Abu Dhabi Airport, carrying on board children in urgent need of medical assistance, including those suffering from severe injuries and burns, as well as cancer patients in need of intensive treatment.
The Emirates News Agency quoted Maha Barakat, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Health in the United Arab Emirates, confirming that all medical and health teams and hospitals in the country are fully prepared to receive the remaining children and their families. They aim to provide comprehensive and integrated care for their treatment, offering the best specialized services according to international standards until they recover and return.
This initiative embodies the approach of the United Arab Emirates and its historical commitment to supporting the Palestinian people and alleviating the severity of the humanitarian crisis they face, especially the most vulnerable groups, including children, who make up about half of the population of the Gaza Strip (over a million children). This is in line with the strong fraternal positions of the UAE towards the Palestinian brothers.
A Heartwarming Gesture
Under intense care and in equipped vehicles, the injured children were transported from the plane to specialized hospitals. The medical staff and accompanying personnel did not hide their smiles, creating a positive and reassuring atmosphere for these children and their families.
Amidst these atmospheres, a member of the UAE team did not miss the opportunity to interact with a young child present. He lifted the child in his arms and gave him a kiss, and the child appeared happy with all the attention.
The child is an orphan, having lost his father in the ongoing war in Gaza. His mother, also injured, is being hosted by the United Arab Emirates along with the children to receive treatment in hospitals until she recovers.
The Palestinian mother experienced the horrors of the Gaza war, losing her husband in it. Through her journey of treatment in the UAE, she hopes to recover for the sake of her family that lost its support.
Nurse Draws Attention with Humanitarian Gesture
The UAE working teams did not limit themselves to transporting the children; rather, their humanity was the driving force behind their efforts. They tried to meet the children’s needs, reassure them, and calm their fears after what they experienced during the past days in Gaza due to continuous Israeli airstrikes.
On the shoulders of a UAE nurse, a Palestinian child burdened by the scars of the Gaza war found solace. The nurse provided the humanity that the child lacked during the past 42 days, moving him to tears and releasing his sobs.
The UAE nurse warmly received the child’s tears and sobs in video clips, showing a compassionate and welcoming attitude. She tried to soothe his fears after what he and others had experienced during the past days in Gaza due to continuous Israeli airstrikes.
In the video, the UAE nurse overlooked the fatigue and hardship of the journey that began early on Friday and continued until the early hours of Saturday. She exerted every effort and means of mercy to alleviate the suffering of the wounded child.
Diplomatic Movement… Leading Initiatives to Protect Palestinian Children
Since the escalation renewed in Gaza on the 7th of October last, the Security Council has held 9 sessions on the Palestinian issue and the situation in Gaza. In each of these, the UAE has consistently delivered strong messages calling for the protection of Palestinian children and condemning what they are facing.
Out of these nine sessions, five meetings were held at the request of the UAE. During these sessions, the state ensured that Council members had the opportunity to hear briefings from UN officials and others in the humanitarian field, revealing the facts of the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the hardships faced by children in the region.
Officials in these briefings issued humanitarian appeals for a humanitarian ceasefire.
These briefings had a significant impact on shaping the positions of members of the United Nations Security Council, leading to the adoption of a resolution last Wednesday regarding the situation in Gaza.
In that meeting, the Security Council broke its silence for the first time since the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas by issuing a resolution calling for “urgent humanitarian ceasefires and humanitarian corridors” in the Gaza Strip.
The resolution, drafted by Malta and adopted by a majority of 12 votes, including the UAE as the only Arab member in the Council, called for “the establishment of urgent humanitarian ceasefires and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip for a sufficient number of days to enable UN humanitarian agencies and their partners to have full, immediate, and unhindered access to provide humanitarian assistance and facilitate the provision of essential goods and services for the well-being of civilians, especially children, throughout the Gaza Strip”.
In justifying her vote in favor of the resolution, the UAE’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, stated, “It was necessary for the members of this Council to unite around the urgent and pressing need to protect civilians, especially children”. She emphasized that “the protection of children formed the compass that guided this Council’s approach to this resolution.”
She also stated that this resolution “also means delivering fuel, food, water, medicines, and other goods on a wide scale, and evacuating sick and injured children”.
At the same level, the United Arab Emirates and Malta called for a meeting of the Security Council during this week, in light of the extremely disturbing developments in the occupied Palestinian territories, and their severe impact on women and children.
The two countries also requested, from Sima Bahous, the Executive Director of UN Women, and Catherine Russell, the Executive Director of UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), to present briefings before the Council.
In a previous session of the United Nations Security Council, the UAE ambassador condemned what Palestinian children are facing, stating that the number of Palestinian children killed in just a few weeks from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza exceeds the total number of children killed worldwide in the past four years.
She emphasized that this situation “should be a wake-up call to our moral conscience (…) Children deserve protection today (…) Members of this Council have repeatedly expressed their concern about the undermining of the international system.”
Support for UNRWA… Health and Education a Priority
Humanitarian and diplomatic efforts, preceded and accompanied by growing Emirati interest in Palestinian children and their education in particular.
As part of its continuous commitment to support the Palestinian people, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered, on October 10th of last year, the provision of urgent aid to Palestinian brothers in the amount of twenty million dollars through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).
Earlier in June, the UAE had announced its contribution of $20 million (73.6 million AED) to support the UNRWA in providing education, healthcare, and social services to Palestinian refugees. The agency is almost entirely funded through contributions from member states of the United Nations.
Approximately a month later, specifically in July, the United Arab Emirates, based on the directives of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE, decided to open a joint account and contribute $15 million to support the operations and services of UNRWA. This is aimed at providing urgent assistance to Palestinian families, especially in rehabilitating the losses in the city of Jenin and its camp, which have witnessed Israeli attacks with consequences for thousands of people.
The UAE reiterated its steadfast commitment to supporting UNRWA and assisting it in overcoming the challenges it faces in fulfilling its mandates from the United Nations, and in carrying out its noble mission to improve the conditions of Palestinian refugees and provide them with a dignified life.
Providing Safe Drinking Water… A UAE Goal in Gaza Schools
Also, in the context of the UAE’s support for education in Gaza, the UAE launched an initiative in January 2022 to provide clean drinking water to hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren in Gaza.
The initiative aims to enable 230,000 students and teachers in the Gaza Strip to have access to clean drinking water and water for personal use.
The UAE-funded initiative seeks to equip 125 schools affiliated with UNRWA in the Gaza Strip with desalination units and solar energy systems as a renewable source of electricity. This will work towards providing clean drinking water and promoting personal hygiene practices.
The UAE’s support for the project to provide clean drinking water for the children of Gaza comes after the UAE provided essential vaccines for children in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Emirati support for Palestinians in general, and their children in particular, continues through a series of consecutive initiatives aimed at alleviating their hardships and giving them hope for a better tomorrow through an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.