‘End occupation of Palestine’ – Russia


THE Russian envoy to Palestine, Haidar Aghann, affirmed that in Russia’s view, a comprehensive and just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies in ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories within the 1967 borders and the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In an interview with Voice of Palestine radio, Aghann affirmed Russia’s firm and principled position as a member of the United Nations’ Security Council and the international Quartet, in support of the Palestinian people’s right to self determination and efforts exerted by the Palestinian side to achieve a comprehensive and just solution based on international resolutions.

He affirmed Russia’s support to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its stance that finding a solution to the Palestinian issue can be reached through negotiations, stressing that circumstances must be created to reach that goal.

Aghann further confirmed Russia’s clear position toward the illegality of Israel’s continued settlement activities based on international law. Meanwhile, King of Jordan Abdullah II said on Tuesday evening that reaching a just and permanent solution of the Palestinian cause will lead to achieving security and stability in the entire region.

King Abdullah, during a meeting in Washington with US senators, called for reviving peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis based on a two-state solution and the resolutions of the international community, leading to the creation of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and living side-by-side with Israel.

The meeting also discussed the overall situation in the Middle East and the ongoing regional crises, including the war against terrorism. King Abdullah met with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and discussed the efforts to revive peace talks. King Abdullah stressed the importance of the US role in achieving lasting peace in Palestine and Israel.

• Egypt on Wednesday reiterated the importance of each and every effort to resume peace talks between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, in a bid to achieve a long lasting peace. The Egyptian Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ahmad Abu Zeid said ‘the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (29 November of every year as designated by the United Nations in 1977) is a renewed international call to reassert our steadfast position in support of the Palestinian legitimate rights, until the establishment of the independent Palestinian state.’

He said Egypt has made major sacrifices to defend the rights and legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people in an independent state. ‘Egypt has continuously reaffirmed the centrality of the Palestinian cause for the Arab and Muslim worlds, because it believes a just peace is the only way to achieve stability, prosperity and security for all people in the Middle East,’ he added.

• Israeli forces on Wednesday morning reportedly forced Palestinian farmers off lands they were working on in the Jordan Valley area of the Tubas district in the northern occupied West Bank, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency.

Wafa reported that Israeli forces ordered a group of Palestinian farmers near the village of Sakout to stop working and leave the lands immediately. While it remained unclear why the farmers were suddenly ordered off their land, the Jordan Valley forms a third of the occupied West Bank, with 88 per cent of its land classified as Area C – under full Israeli military control.

57 per cent of the land in the Jordan Valley has been declared closed military zones, also known as ‘firing zones’, where Israeli army forces routinely train using live ammunition and explosive devices. Nearly 20 per cent of the occupied West Bank has been declared ‘firing zones’ since the 1970s, but according to the UN, some 80 percent of these areas are not in fact used for military training. However, when military training does take place, Israeli forces instruct families to leave their homes for hours or days at a time until the drill is over.

• The three Palestinian Arabic dailies highlighted in their Wednesday issue the Israeli plans to break up East Jerusalem. Al-Quds made this subject its main front page story and said the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, voted in the first reading to separate Shufat refugee camp and Kufr Aqab neighbourhoods from East Jerusalem.

Al-Ayyam said an Israeli parliamentary committee started preparations to pass a law allowing the severance process of the camp and the neighbourhood, both already separated from the city by an eight-metre high concrete wall Israel had built in the last decade to isolate the heavily populated areas from the city’s centre.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida had more or less a similar headline, but its main front page story focused on Russian President Vladimir Putin sending a letter to President Mahmoud Abbas expressing his support for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

The main front page story in al-Ayyam focused on the conflict in the return of Gaza’s Palestinian Authority employees to work and Hamas’ strong objections to this move since their return means dismissing most of the 40,000 employees Hamas had hired over the last decade to fill the positions vacated by the PA employees, who were ordered not to work under Hamas rule.

It printed a picture of Palestinian policemen standing to attention at the Rafah crossing with Egypt and said in a report from Gaza that for the first time since 2007, the Palestinian security forces were deployed inside and around the crossing.

Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida also reported on this matter, with al-Quds saying that Hamas has briefed an Egyptian security delegation that arrived in Gaza of its steps to facilitate the work of the reconciliation government in Gaza.

The seventieth anniversary for the passage of the United Nations Partition of Palestine Resolution 181, which coincides with this day, was highlighted on the front page of the dailies with al-Quds printing the headline: ‘70 years since the partition decision 181, the wound is still bleeding.’

Al-Hayat al-Jadida said US Vice President Mike Pence told a meeting in New York for Jewish leaders marking this occasion that US President Donald Trump is actually thinking to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

However, the paper quoted King Abdullah of Jordan telling US officials in Washington that extremism will soar without resolving the Palestinian issue. Al-Quds said the illegal Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank is proceeding in full force, particularly in the northern areas. Al-Ayyam said Human Rights Watch expects the UN Human Rights Council to publish its blacklist of companies working in the illegal Israeli settlements before the end of the year.