‘THE PALESTINIAN leadership is committed to achieving a political solution of the Middle East conflict, based on the creation of an independent Palestinian state and internationally recognised principles,’ Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on Sunday.
‘Our minds and hearts are open for serious and real peace in which Palestine is a partner in negotiations and not subject to dictats,’ Shtayyeh told the summit.
The Prime Minister, who spoke on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas, reiterated the Palestinian people’s rejection of the recently unveiled US-sponsored peace plan, the ‘deal of the century’, which he said ‘does not meet the minimum level of justice and rights for our people, nor does it honour the true meaning of Palestinian sovereignty and freedom over the border crossings.’
‘The American plan gives Jerusalem completely to the Israelis and appropriates 40% of the land of the State of Palestine.
‘The plan provides for illegally maintaining the Jewish settlements with about 720,000 settlers on our lands which Israel seized by force and coercion.
‘Palestine is committed to a political solution on the basis of the international references.
‘But this deal wants to legalise the fait accompli and conceal the real name of the current situation, the military occupation, which is contrary to international laws and references.’
Shtayyeh said that ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine requires international efforts in which Africa should participate alongside the rest of the international players through an international peace conference on Palestine, based on the UN resolutions and international law.
He expressed willingness to continue cooperation with the African Union countries in all fields, including medicine, agriculture, environment, education and security.
Shtayyeh congratulated his Ethiopian counterpart, Abiy Ahmed, for winning the Nobel Peace Prize, stressing the pivotal role Ethiopia has played in maintaining international peace and security.
Meanwhile, the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union has stressed its absolute rejection of any peace settlement which does not fulfill the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to an independent state on the borders of June 4th, 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital.
In the final communique of the Union’s emergency meeting to support the Palestinian cause, held in the Jordanian capital Amman last Saturday, the Union described the US-led Palestinian-Israeli peace plan, or ‘the deal of the century’, as a unilateral agreement which does not represent a step towards just and comprehensive peace.
The Union expressed support for the Palestinian National Authority and all active forces in their firm position rejecting the deal, calling for increased Arab support to the Palestinians in their struggle for self-determination and statehood.
The meeting stressed that the desired peace formula will only be through negotiations based on a two-state solution, and on the basis of a fair consensus on the final status issues.
The Union also decried the US president’s recognition of Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, describing the step as ‘a dangerous escalation that threatens the security of the region and cuts the road to peace opportunities, paving the way for a religious war to which Israel will be a major party.’
The communique reiterated the Union’s adherence to the international terms of reference for the peace process, including the Arab Peace Initiative, as a basis for any peace negotiations.
It also affirmed the custodianship of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan over the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, saying Israel’s attempts to enforce a spatial and temporal division of the Al-Aqsa Mosque are rejected as they would alter the internationally recognised status quo in the city.
Meanwhile in Greece on Saturday, the Secretary-General of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), George Mavrikos, reiterated the Federation’s rejection and condemnation of the American so-called ‘deal of the century’ and the American-Israeli aggressive policies in the eastern Mediterranean region and announced solidarity activities with the Palestinian people.
In his speech to the WFTU European Sector Conference, which was held in the capital Athens and attended by the Palestinian ambassador to Greece, Marwan Toubasi, and the heads of trade from 23 European countries, Mavrikos stressed the Federation’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle to achieve their legitimate rights.
Mavrikos also announced an international solidarity campaign with the Palestinian people to be launched this week in various countries throughout the world.
Toubasi gave the conference a review of the Palestinian leadership’s position, strongly rejecting the deal of the century and showing how it violates international law and United Nations resolutions, while implementing Israel’s colonial project at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people.
He urged participants in the conference to defend, not only the rights of the Palestinian people, but also the principles of international law, the UN Charter, and the values of democracy, justice and human rights.
He said the United States and Israel are not only targeting the cause of the Palestinian people and their inalienable rights, but are also seeking to create a world order governed by chaos and the absence of justice in place of international law.
WFTU membership includes representatives from 133 countries, including Palestine which joined it in 1943.
- In the USA last Friday more than 100 Democrats in the US House of Representatives signed a letter rejecting Trump’s ‘deal of the century’, saying it would ‘hurt Israelis and Palestinians alike, pushing them toward further conflict.
‘It does not have our support, and the Israeli government must not take it as a license to violate international law by annexing all or portions of the West Bank,’ said the letter, which was initiated by Democratic Reps Alan Lowenthal and Andy Levin.
The letter read: ‘In addition to the highly problematic nature of your proposal, the timing of its release suggests motives unrelated to helping solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.’
- Israel has escalated a trade war with the Palestinians by stopping their agricultural exports through Jordan, Palestinian Agriculture Minister Riyal al-Attari said on Saturday.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) opened a new front in their decades-long conflict with a trade dispute that began in October and which has escalated over the past week.
‘Yesterday, the director of Israeli crossings informed all exporters and all relevant parties that all Palestinian agriculture products would be banned from export to world markets through the Jordanian crossing starting Sunday,’ al-Attari told Voice of Palestine Radio.
‘We are at a critical political moment and we completely understand the negative impact that will result from these measures, but I say with all confidence that that negative impact will also affect the Israeli economy,’ said al-Attari.
‘We have several options and measures with which we can respond to each Israeli decision that aims to harm our national economy,’ he added.
Palestinians say that due to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, their economy is essentially a captive market for Israel.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) noted that in recent years, the Israeli economy absorbed 85% of Palestinian exports, while over 70% of Palestinian imports were from Israel.
Meanwhile, the occupied Palestinian territory accounts for only 3% of total Israeli trade.
Under agreements made between Israel and the PA, Israel collects customs duties on imports destined for the Palestinian market, which have to go through Israel.
It has been accused of illegally retaining Palestinian import and sales tax funds that it collects in order to put political pressure on the Palestinian government. It has also withheld fiscal revenues in order to pay debts that Palestinians owe to Israeli companies such as the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC).
Israel has also been accused of exploiting the restricted movement of Palestinian labourers, exacerbating Palestinians’ reliance on Israeli companies and deepening Israel’s de facto annexation of occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank.