PALESTINE President Mahmoud Abbas received a telegram from his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Sunday to mark International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.
In it, the Russian leader emphasised that his country has always been committed to achieving the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to establish an independent and viable state of their own, living side by side with its neighbours.
He affirmed Russia’s commitment to consolidating friendly relations with the State of Palestine and to maintain constructive bilateral cooperation in various fields.
‘We are ready to continue to provide assistance to our Palestinian partners in resolving urgent issues of socio-economic development and confronting the coronavirus pandemic,’ he said.
The Russian President wished President Abbas good health and more success, and the Palestinian people peace and prosperity.
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is observed each year on 29 November. Established in 1977, it marks the day in 1947 when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution partitioning Palestine into an Arab State and a Jewish State.
Meanwhile, British Consul General to Jerusalem, Philip Hall, has also affirmed his country’s rejection of the Israeli colonial settlement policy in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
‘The Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal and constitute an obstacle to achieving peace. We’re talking frankly with the Israelis about the need to stop building settlements, to give peace a chance, and to achieve the two-state solution,’ he said in an interview with official Palestine TV.
He renewed his country’s commitment to provide political and economic support to the Palestinian government, to continue building state institutions and to work towards achieving the national right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
Hall reiterated Britain’s position on not relocating its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and on rejecting the Israeli annexation plan.
Also commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said he remains committed to ending the Israeli occupation in line with relevant UN resolutions.
In a message marking the occasion, the UN chief cautioned that prospects for a viable Two-State solution are becoming ‘more distant,’ and urging Israeli and Palestinian leaders to explore every opening to ‘restore hope’ for that solution.
‘A host of factors continue to cause great misery, including: the expansion of illegal settlements, a significant spike in the demolition of Palestinian homes and structures, violence and continued militant activity,’ said Guterres.
‘Israeli and Palestinian leaders have a responsibility to explore every opening to restore hope and achieve a Two-State solution.’
The UN chief said that he remains committed to supporting Palestinians and Israelis to resolve the conflict and end the occupation in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements in pursuit of the vision of two states – Israel, and an independent, democratic, contiguous and sovereign Palestine – living side by side in peace and security, within secure and recognised borders, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.
‘I hope that recent developments will encourage Palestinian and Israeli leaders to re-engage in meaningful negotiations, with the support of the international community, and will create opportunities for regional cooperation,’ he said.
‘Let us together resolve to renew our commitment to the Palestinian people in their quest to achieve their inalienable rights and build a future of peace, dignity, justice and security,’ added the Secretary-General.
In the message, Guterres also extended his condolences on the passing, earlier this month, of Saeb Erekat, Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Secretary-General and Chief Negotiator for the Palestinians in the Middle East Peace Process.
In the meantime, the UN Secretary-General voiced concerns over the financial situation facing the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which provides direct and often life-saving assistance to millions of Palestine refugees.
‘I appeal to all Member States to urgently contribute to enable UNRWA to meet the critical humanitarian and development needs of Palestine refugees during the pandemic,’ he urged.
Also on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the republics of Bangladesh and Pakistan expressed their firm support for the Palestinian people in their just cause and their struggle for independence and freedom.
Bangladeshi President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reaffirmed Bangladesh’s position for the establishment of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders.
‘On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, Bangladesh reiterates its unswerving support for the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine.
‘We reaffirm our principled position in favour of the establishment of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian State within pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem-Al Quds Al-Sharif its capital under a two-state solution,’ said Abdul Hamid in a message quoted by the Dhaka Tribune daily.
He recalled Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh, who was a strong supporter of the legitimate rights and just struggle of the Palestinian people, adding that Bangladesh has remained consistent in this position from the very beginning of its statehood.
‘In fact, our own struggle for independence and the painful experience of the worst form of genocide in 1971 inspired us to stand against injustice and oppression that people of Palestine had been subjected to for many decades and advocate for an early resolution of this protracted crisis,’ he said.
And Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Munir Akram, said Pakistan has always remained a staunch supporter of the Palestinian people.
He said supporting the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and calling for the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state has been a cardinal pillar of Pakistan’s foreign policy from the beginning.
Akram said Pakistan will continue its unwavering support to the struggle of the Palestinian people to attain self-determination and achieve their independent state.
- On Sunday the Israeli municipality of occupied Jerusalem demolished a stairway leading to one of the gates of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Witnesses told Palestine news agency WAFA that an Israeli bulldozer demolished the stairway leading to the Lions’ Gate under the pretext that it needed to be used to transfer equipment to al-Yusifiya Islamic cemetery – which is close to the gate.
In the meantime, Israeli municipality surveyors began to survey the cemetery’s land and fixed signs there. The reason for demolishing the stairway or what then happened in the area remains unconfirmed.
However, Israeli authorities had announced earlier that they would erect concrete pillars for a cable car project, which they intend to establish near Jerusalem’s Old City all the way to the Mount of Olives. The project overlooks the Al-Aqsa Mosque.