PRESIDENT ABBAS addressed the summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday in Istanbul.
‘We are here today, and behind us all our nation and peoples, all Muslims and Christians in our region and the world, in order to save and protect Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem) and to confront all plots against it to falsify its identity and change its character, especially after those recent US decisions that challenge the feelings of Muslims and Christians everywhere.
‘We are here today, for all of us to speak in a clear language: Jerusalem has been, and will remain forever, the capital of the State of Palestine and its crown without which there will be no peace, nor stability.
‘Let me begin by thanking His Excellency President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey, and the President of the Islamic Summit for his invitation to this extraordinary summit, from which our peoples and the world are expecting a great deal. I thank Turkey and its brotherly people for their support for our just cause.
‘I also pay tribute to all of you, the leaders and heads of delegations, to the masses of our Islamic nation and to all the free and honourable people in the world who stand with us in the face of this great sin, which obliges us to come up with decisive decisions and directives that protect the identity and character of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy places until the end of the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine, foremost of which is Jerusalem and all the occupied Arab territories.
‘I would also like to pay tribute to my Palestinian people in Jerusalem and around it, especially to our people in the heart of the city of Jerusalem, who bear the harm of the settlers, the oppression of the occupiers and the arbitrary actions of the occupation forces aimed at restricting them, and their displacement through an endless series of colonial measures, including preventing them from building and expanding, taking away their identity cards and imposing unjust taxes on them, closing their shops and continuing the policy of prosecution, arrests, house demolitions and attacks on human lives, as well as obstacles to the arrival of worshippers and believers to perform their religious rites in their churches and mosques.
‘I salute our Christian and Muslim people inside and outside the walls of the Old City, the protectors of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Resurrection, the guards of the walls of Jerusalem and every corner of the city and its environs. I say to them: We will remain together and calmly defend Jerusalem and support your steadfastness with all our potential. The plots that target our city and the capital of our state, and with the support of our brothers and friends, until we achieve our freedom and our independence.
‘Mr President, Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses, President Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and his instructions to move the US embassy to it is a flagrant violation of international law and signed agreements, especially Security Council resolutions, and a provocation to the international community, whose various countries and peoples and political and spiritual leaderships and regional and international organisations have expressed their rejection of this declaration and who expressed support for the Palestinian people and their aspirations for freedom and independence.
‘I would like to assure you that we have rejected these unilateral, illegitimate and unjust US decisions, which the American administration shocked us with at the time we were involved in the political process in order to reach a just and comprehensive peace in the region. This has raised our astonishment and deep disapproval of the disregard of the peoples’ feelings in our region and the world, the Security Council and international law. Thus the United States has chosen to lose its eligibility as an intermediary and to have no role in the political process.
‘These unilateral steps by President Trump will not give any legitimacy to Israel in Jerusalem. It is a Palestinian Arab Muslim Christian city, the eternal capital of the state of Palestine. There can be no Palestinian state without the city of Jerusalem as its capital and there will be no peace in the region and in the world without it.
‘There is no doubt that these unilateral steps will encourage extremist groups to transform the conflict from political conflict to religious conflict, and this is what we have always warned against. Mr President, Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses, our role in the fight against terrorism in our region and the world is known to all. We have forged partnerships and agreements with many countries, including the United States.
‘So we reject the decisions of the US Congress, which considers the PLO a terrorist organisation and demand its cancellation. We have complied with all understandings between us and successive US administrations, including this administration, but these illegal resolutions on Jerusalem have crossed all red lines, which will not make it possible to keep our commitments unilaterally.
‘We have agreed with them that we do not join international organisations on condition the US does not recognise Jerusalem nor move its embassy and demands that Israel stop settlements. Mr. President, Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen, the failure to hold Israel accountable when it invaded our land, expelled our people, destroyed more than 400 Palestinian villages and towns, and violated all international resolutions, including resolutions 181, 194, 242, 338 and 478, and Resolution 2334, made it believe that it was above the law.
‘I wonder how the countries of the world can tolerate these violations of international law; how they can continue to recognise and have relations with Israel as it disregards everyone, continues to violate the agreements signed with it, and carry out its oppressive and colonial practices and create the reality of Apartheid system and the abuse of our peoples and our Christian and Islamic holy sites.
‘We will continue our efforts to build our national institutions on the basis of the rule of law, to promote our national economy, to work hard for the unity of our people and our land, and to end the division of the Palestinian people (through) reconciliation and implementation of the Cairo agreement, which was sponsored by Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
‘Mr President, Your Majesties, Excellencies and Highnesses, the great question posed by this new challenge, which targets our holy city, is what we and you are going to do? And what will history say about our decisions? What positions will we take at the summit level and at the bilateral level with both the United States and Israel in response to this flagrant aggression against our dignity, our heritage, our history and our hearts?
‘In all our conferences and decisions, we have agreed that Jerusalem is a red line, and now we must translate all this into actions that force the United States to go back on this sin and prevent other countries from taking similar steps. The Arab Peace Initiative has called for the solution of the Palestinian issue first before embarking on any relations with Israel. But this does not mean not to visit Jerusalem to support its people and protecting its Arab, Islamic and Christian identity. This is a duty for all of us and to enable them to withstand the barbaric attack on them and attempts by Israel to isolate it from its surroundings.
In this context, we thank all of you for honouring the State of Palestine by your esteemed organisation and its Youth Forum for Cooperation and Dialogue last July with the adoption of Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the Islamic Youth Capital of 2018. In order to face the challenges facing Jerusalem these days, we urge you to confirm the dispatch of the ministers and official representatives of our sister Arab and Islamic countries to participate in the celebration of the launch of the declaration of “Jerusalem as the Capital of Islamic Youth” on 28 January 2018 on the land of the State of Palestine.
‘The issue requires everyone to rise above narrow interests, to reconsider his calculations, and to reassess his positions on these American resolutions, which violate international legitimacy and target all, not just the Palestinian people. In this regard, we call upon you, Sirs, to take a number of decisive decisions to support this crucial issue of our nation, which is as follows:
‘1. Limit relations of the OIC member countries with world countries based on their positions and reactions from the issue of Jerusalem, specifically from this US step.
‘2 It is no longer possible to continue to deal with Israel as if nothing has happened. It is necessary to take political and economic positions and measures towards it by all, and to compel it to comply with the will of the international community to end its occupation of the land of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital and to implement international humanitarian law.
‘3. To demand that the countries of the world review their recognition of the State of Israel as long as it persists in violating the rules of international law and violating all international resolutions since its establishment in 1948.
‘4. Taking resolutions at the Security Council and all United Nations organisations and international organisations with a goal to nullifying the decisions taken by the United States on Jerusalem in accordance with Article 27/3 of Article 6 of the Charter of the United Nations and in accordance with Security Council resolutions 476 and 478 (1980) and Resolution 2334 (2016).
‘5. Request a special session of the Human Rights Council to assume its responsibility for violations of international humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, and to call on all relevant UN institutions to meet their responsibilities.
‘6. We reaffirm that we are committed to peace based on the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative. We demand to transfer the entire file of the conflict to the United Nations and to establish a new mechanism to adopt a new course to ensure the implementation of the resolutions of international legitimacy and achieving a comprehensive and just peace since the US is not qualified to mediate in the peace process.
‘7. To warn against the recognition of the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the establishment of any diplomatic mission there or move them to the city as a violation of international law and a clear attack on the Arab and Islamic nations, the rights of Christians and Muslims and the national rights of the Palestinian people.
‘8. It is no longer possible to remain silent as Israel continues to violate the identity and character of the city of Jerusalem, the continuation of excavations and settlements and, most importantly, its violations of Islamic and Christian holy places, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque. Therefore, the situation requires decisive guarantees to stop Israeli violations in Jerusalem and to preserve the historic status quo at Al Aqsa Mosque.
‘9. It is time to call upon the states that believe in a two-state solution to take practical steps toward recognising the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, which will enhance security, stability and peace in our region and the world.
‘10. Support the efforts of the State of Palestine to join all international organisations and treaties as a natural right for them in order to affirm the existence of the State of Palestine in the international system.
‘11. We call upon you to intensify your efforts to achieve full membership for the State of Palestine in the United Nations on the basis of resolution 67/19.
‘12. The continuation of Israel’s violations and colonial practices, especially in Jerusalem, makes us exempt from the agreements signed with them, since we cannot remain an authority without authority and under occupation without cost, which calls on us to re-evaluate the situation through our Palestinian frameworks and consultations with the brothers and friends in order to deal with the Government of the State of Palestine, which will perform its functions as an alternative to the Palestinian National Authority.
‘13. The strengthening of the steadfastness of our people in Jerusalem requires your support by all material and moral means. It is time to stand by our people in Jerusalem and support them and not leave them to face the occupation alone and the need for our summit to adopt the recommendations of recent Islamic Cooperation in its last expanded meeting to form an international Islamic stand in support of Palestine and holy sites worth one billion dollars.
‘At this delicate moment, I say to our great people: A century ago, the banner of our people remained high and our heads up. We embarked on a great march in which our struggle, faith, and certainty of victory did not stop. It was baptised by blood, suffering, patience, and bondage; no child among us has stopped, no young man surrendered, generation after a generation.
‘Yes, women and men believe in our right and God’s promise to us, that this holy Palestinian city founded by the Canaanite Jebusites five thousand years ago has not been and will not be other than the capital of our independent state and the sovereign State of Palestine; we want it to be an open city to all followers of the heavenly religions to practise their worship. We want it to be a bridge of coexistence and peace, so that all its believers and visitors will enjoy freedom, security and stability.
‘To the sons of our Arab Islamic nation I say:
‘You have stood for decades supporting Palestine and its just cause, and you have borne Jerusalem in the depths of your hearts; you have sacrificed for it and did not spare it with money and souls.
‘In Jerusalem, a people who, despite the hardships and difficulties, have not lost their pride in their steadfastness in the face of the occupation; a people who cherish their history and their belonging to their great nation, their great achievements and contributions to humanity in all fields and in building generations of pioneers who have delivered their noble message of peace and giving to all parts of the earth.
‘The Palestine Liberation Organisation is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people with its Muslims and Christians who pledge to remain the custodians of the Aqsa Mosque and the Holy Sepulchre, as we have been over the past centuries. Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, the blessed Holy Land, the cradle of the heavenly messages, to which our Holy Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him – moved to heaven, the cradle of Jesus Christ, the resting place of our prophet Abraham, peace be upon him. It is the city of peace, the gate of heaven, the city of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first of the two Qiblas, the second mosque and the third of the two holy mosques, the city of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This city is the capital of the eternal state of Palestine.’