NEW DELHI : Speakers at a function to commemorate the ‘International Day of Solidarity with Palestine People’ stressed the need for the peaceful existence of Palestinians. They also recalled the contributions India made towards this end. It was organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA.)
|| Jose Kalathil
Mr Adnan M J Abualhayijaa, ambassador of Palestine to India, said, for over 70 years, the Palestinian people have endured many tragedies and crises. They have suffered sacrifice, pain, displacement; they have been steadfast and struggled; and they have been martyred and imprisoned while defending their history, their homeland, and their holy sites. They remain undeterred in their struggle and journey and in their belief in their national aspirations and goals, in accordance with United Nations resolutions.
“We have accepted international legislation and international law as the arbiter for resolving the conflict. We accepted the path of negotiations, dialogue, political engagement and peaceful popular resistance as the means to resolve all final status issues and to achieve a peace agreement that leads to independence, ends occupation and ends the conflict.”
“However, all the while, Israel, the occupying Power, has only pursued delaying tactics and bad faith actions since the conclusion of the Oslo agreements and to this very day. Moreover, the Israeli Prime Minister has expressed his rejection of the two-State solution and actively pursued annexation and settlement activities in our occupied land to undermine this solution. His government has persisted in the efforts to alter the identity and character of East Jerusalem, the capital of our State. It has promulgated discriminatory and racist laws. It has isolated, through its blockade, Gaza from the rest of our country and from the world. It has suffocated our economy and stolen our money and natural resources. It has violated all the political, economic and security agreements concluded with it.
“Once again, we witness the US administration violating international law, proving it is unqualified to be an honest broker. Two weeks ago, the US Secretary of State declared that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, do not contravene international law. This position was rejected by us and by the international community at large. This statement is null and void, is illegitimate and without legal effect, and stands in complete contravention of international law and UN resolutions, including Security Council resolutions, foremost 2334 (2016). Such unlawful statements and decisions by the US only embolden the Israeli government in perpetuating its occupation and in accelerating its settlement activities and in further committing crimes as determined by the Rome Statute;” he added.
“I seize this occasion to express our appreciation to all countries and all international organizations that have condemned and rejected this statement and settlement activities, which constitute a flagrant violation and a grave breach under UN resolutions and international law. The international community rejected this statement as it rejected before it the US attack against the international consensus and the terms of reference of the peace process, and as it opposed the US policy regarding Jerusalem and countered the assault on UNRWA by providing financial and political support to the Agency and by renewing its mandate, all in a clear, unequivocal message that the Palestinian people is entitled to freedom and justice and that all peoples in the region are entitled to just and lasting peace,” the ambassador said.
“International law is the cornerstone of the multilateral order and it cannot bear double standards and misinterpretations. Treating Israel as a State above the law has only encouraged it to continue to act as an outlaw State. The international community needs to immediately assume its responsibilities to put an end to this Israeli aggression against our land, our existence and our future. It is time for concrete measures to provide protection to the Palestinian people and to fulfill their right to self-determination, freedom, and independence on the land occupied in 1967, and with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
“It is time for the countries across the world which believe in the two-State solution and which have recognized Israel to also recognize the State of Palestine. Hasn’t the time come yet to put an end to the longest military occupation in contemporary history? Don’t the Palestinian people have the right, like all nations, to their independent sovereign State? Don’t they have a right to see an end to the ordeal of the refugees who were forcibly uprooted from their homes in 1948?” he asked.
Conveying his gratitude to the States that have reiterated their commitment to international law and UN resolutions, he called on the international community at large, in accordance with their obligations, not to recognize the illegal situation created by Israel’s illegal policies and practices in Occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem, and not to render aid or assistance that would allow this situation to be maintained and entrenched. All States must distinguish between the territory of the occupying Power and the occupied territory and ensure accountability.
He also called for the convening of an international peace conference and the establishment of an international multilateral mechanism to help the parties in the negotiations to resolve all final status issues and to provide guarantees to ensure implementation of that agreed upon, within a specific time frame, towards achievement of just and lasting peace based on the internationally-endorsed parameters.
“The State of Palestine will continue working to build the national institutions, spreading the culture of peace and empowering our people, especially women and youth,” he said.
“The Palestinian people will not vanish and will not surrender to oppression and injustice as our fate. Our people will continue to pursue their legitimate struggle against this colonial occupation of our land and our people and against the denial of our inalienable rights, including our right to self-determination,” he added.
He also expressed his deepest gratitude and appreciation to the people and government of India and to all countries, governments, organizations and peoples that have expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people, supported their struggle and strengthened the determination and steadfastness in their bleakest hours across history.
Dr Saud Mohammed Al-Sati, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia and Head of Arab Ambassadors Council also spoke on the occasion. The keynote address was given by Ambassador Sanjay Singh, former Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Messages of the UN Secretary General, Arab League Secretary General and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were read out by UNIDO representative in India Dr Rene Van Berkel, Mrs Alyaa Ghannam, Ambassador of the League of Arab States Mission and Dr TCA Raghavan, Director General of ICWA, respectively.