From the President to royals, ministers, top officials, envoys and residents, the UAE has come together as one to extend a helping hand to Palestinians.

The corridors of the United Nations Security Council have been reverberating with Emirati calls to end the Israel-Hamas war, while the country’s leadership has been dialling up and meeting global leaders to prevent further escalation. Shows and events have been cancelled, and families and children spent the weekend packing relief goods for Palestinians in a show of touching solidarity with war-torn Palestine.

As the conflict rages on, the UAE has been leading a global campaign to end the violence.

Uniting the world

The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has been relentlessly communicating with world leaders to help protect the lives of civilians and to call for life-saving humanitarian aid to be delivered to the Gaza strip.

Sheikh Mohamed has held talks with leaders of Israel, US, European Commission, Egypt, Jordan and United Nations, among others, to stress the urgency of protecting civilians from the cycle of escalating violence.

The President flew down to Egypt to join world leaders at the Cairo Peace Summit and stressed the UAE's firm stance against targeting civilians. He vowed to advance initiatives to ensure peace and stability in the region. He also called for countering voices that “seek to exploit the conflict to spread messages of hatred”.

Rallying for peace

The UAE has been advocating calls for peace at the United Nations’ most powerful body – its security council. The country voted for resolutions that aimed to put an end to hostilities and ensure the safe passage of humanitarian aid.

Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE's Permanent Representative to the UN, spoke about how Gaza has been laid to waste, where no one feels safe. She spoke of the mounting casualties; the bombing of a hospital and UN schools and buildings; and the displacement of a million people to urge the security council to unite behind a resolution to end the war.

She relayed heartbreaking reports from the ground to appeal to the council to act so that Israelis and Palestinians can hope for peace.

Cancelled events

In light of the tragedy unfolding in the region, several events were cancelled or rescheduled. Coca Cola Arena cancelled Egyptian singer Amr Diab's concert on Friday, October 20 and the performances of rappers Sean Paul and TI who were set to take to the stage on Saturday, October 21. No reason was provided for the cancellation of these performances.

However, Lebanese DJ Rodge who was scheduled to perform alongside Amr Diab took to Instagram to share the cancellation notice with his fans with a caption mentioning the current Israel-Palestine conflict.

"This Friday’s concert in Dubai has been postponed, and as you know by now, I have cancelled all my others scheduled shows (Riyadh, Egypt and Beirut). The music takes a pause, as we remember the lives lost and pray for a better future. Stay safe this weekend, wish for peace, and a swift recovery to the injured. Let's unite in our hopes for an end to this inhuman war," he wrote.

The 2023 Fashion Trust of Arabia Awards which was set to take place in Dubai on October 25 was also postponed, with the FTA saying in a statement to an international media outlet that “given the current situation in the region, it would be inconsiderate to proceed with our event.”

Air bridge

The UAE has been sending relief goods to the region that has been ravaged by the attacks. Last week, International Humanitarian City (IHC) launched an urgent humanitarian airbridge operation to transport essential medical supplies and food assistance to Egypt and Lebanon. The operation was in preparation for the growing challenges brought about by the ongoing crisis in the region. It was in response to an immediate request for aid from the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The initial shipment, consisting of more than 11 metric tonnes of essential supplies from WFP and UNICEF's stockpile, including water, sanitation, hygiene, dignity kits, crucial aid materials, and essential food provisions, departed from Dubai to El Arish in the North Sinai Governorate of Egypt. This boosts healthcare response capacity through the Egyptian Red Crescent.

Since then, for two days in a row starting on Saturday, trucks carrying aid crossed the Rafah border passage from Egypt into Gaza Strip.

Tarahum for Gaza

The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) launched the Tarahum for Gaza- which translates into Compassion for Gaza- campaign with the aim of collecting donations for the besieged city. Organized in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Community Development, the initiative saw the participation of 10,100 volunteers who prepared 25,000 relief packages.

The campaign has seen an outpouring of help from residents, corporates and small businesses around the country. There have been several packing events across many emirates where residents waited for hours to get a chance to pack boxes containing dry food items, blankets and hygiene products to be shipped to Gaza. The campaign also welcomes in-kind donations and have set up drop off boxes in multiple locations.

Several local businesses have pitched in by donating their proceeds and profits to the campaign. Al Serkal Avenue also organized an informal gathering called The Tree School where groups and individuals shared their life experiences. There were readings, talks, songs, poems, food and collective activities, in an effort to build bridges and learn from each other.

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