‘Palestinian State Must Have Jerusalem As Its Capital!’

Nakba 1948 – Palestinians are driven from their homes by armed Zionist gangs
Nakba 1948 – Palestinians are driven from their homes by armed Zionist gangs

‘A PALESTINIAN state without Jerusalem as its capital will not be accepted,’ Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokes-man for President Mahmoud Abbas, said on Tuesday. He added ‘We tell those who try to circumvent the Arab Peace Initiative and the resolutions of international legitimacy by proposing vague ideas or slogans that these attempts will be doomed to failure because no one will accept them and there will be no Palestinian or Arab interaction with them.

‘Without establishing an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the 1967 borders and a just solution to the refugee issue because they are central issues, not incidental, all interim solutions and vague ideas will end. ‘Any proposals from any party, regional or international, that does not meet the legitimate rights of our Palestinian people will not see the light, nor will they have any legitimacy. ‘Jerusalem with its holy places will remain the title of Palestinian identity and the key to peace, security and stability in the region and the world.’

Abu Rudeineh concluded: ‘We reaffirm that any false and unclear ideas will be futile, and will take the region and the world to more tension and instability.’ The United States will open its Embassy in the City of Jerusalem on May 14, to coincide with Israel’s Independence Day, spokesperson of the Israeli Embassy to Russia said on Monday. Such a move will set the entire region on fire as it is a direct attack on Palestine. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine.

In December, US President Donald Trump announced his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and instructed the US State Department to launch the process of moving the US embassy, currently located in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. ‘The opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem will take place on May 14 on the Israeli Independence Day,’ Alex Gandler told Russia’s Kommersant newspaper.

The spokesperson added that Israel was expecting ‘very important guests’ to be in attendance at the opening ceremony and the celebration of Israeli independence. The US step to move the embassy from Tel Aviv triggered a wave of protest throughout the Middle East and Palestine.

Meanwhile Palestinian diplomats have filed an official complaint against Israel, alleging breaches of Israel’s obligations of the United Nations’ anti-racism treaty. The 350-page document was handed to the Geneva office of the United Nations that is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention. 

Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Khraishi accused Israel of being in breach of the Convention, stating that Israel’s policies illustrate a ‘common aim of displacing and replacing the Palestinian people, for the purpose of maintaining a colonial occupation.’

The document mentions specific breaches of the convention, contributing to ‘apartheid’ in Gaza, as well as the the occupied West Bank, and East Jerusalem, with the sole purpose of maintaining ‘a Jewish demographic majority in the entirety of historic Palestine.’

‘Not only is the purpose of the settlement regime discriminatory in itself, it is further maintained by a system of discriminatory measures, severely depriving Palestinians of their fundamental rights.’ According to the 350-page document, Palestinians are not afforded the same rights and freedoms that are awarded to Israeli settlers, which are routinely perpetuated by the ‘confiscation and seizure’ of their land.

The document went on to state that: ‘It is clear that Israel’s acts are part of a widespread and oppressive regime that is institutionalised and systematic; that accords separate and unequal treatment to Palestinians.’ In addition to the submitted complaints, the document states that Israel is in clear violation of Article Three of the Convention, which prohibits racial segregation and apartheid.

Article three declares: ‘States parties particularly condemn racial segregation and apartheid and undertake to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all practices of this nature in territories under their jurisdiction.’ The summary of the complaint called for the dismantling of current Israeli policies.

Speaking in an interview on Monday, Khraishi said that ‘the system of racism and discrimination by the Israelis must not be recognised as a legal system.’ If the complaint is responded to by the UN, it could trigger a high-profile and independent investigation into the alleged breaches of the UN convention.

The convention is overseen by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which consists of a body made up of eighteen independent monitors.

Israel’s most recent report on the state of racism stated that it had successfully ‘maintained a consistent policy prohibiting such discrimination.’

If the complaint is picked up by the respective UN committee, Israel will be required to submit written explanations and evidence of the contrary within the next three-months. Israel ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1979, while Palestine became a signatory in 2014; two years after receiving status as a UN observer state.

• Israeli army forces on Tuesday detained the Dean of Student Affairs at Bethlehem University, according to a statement from the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS).

PPS reported that the dean, Mahmoud Hammad, was detained. The circumstances surrounding his detention remained unknown. The group added in a statement that Israeli forces also detained Muhammad Samer Sirhan, 14, from occupied East Jerusalem.

According to UN documentation, between March 27th and April 9th, Israeli forces carried out 159 raids. Palestinian prisoners rights group Addameer reported that as of March, there were 6,050 Palestinians being held as political prisoners in Israeli jails.

• Two Palestinians, including a deaf teenager, succumbed to wounds sustained during the ongoing ‘Great March of Return’ protests in the besieged Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that 18-year-old Tahrir Mahmoud Wahba, who was deaf, died on Monday morning.

The teenager was shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces during protests on Friday April 13th in the southern Gaza Strip district of Khan Younis, near the al-Awdeh refugee camp. Late Sunday night, the ministry reported that a Palestinian ‘youth,’ identified as Abdullah Muhammad al-Shamali, succumbed to wounds he sustained last Friday. Al-Shamali was a resident of the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.

According to the Ministry of Health, the deaths of Wahba and al-Shamali brought the total death toll in Gaza since the ‘Great March of Return’ began on March 30, to 41 Palestinians, including at least three minors and a journalist. The massive nonviolent protests in Gaza have seen thousands of Palestinian refugees take to the heavily militarised borders with Israel to demand their collective right of return to their homelands.

The six-week protest is set to end on May 15th, the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, or ‘catastrophe,’ when the state of Israel was created, leaving some 750,000 Palestinians and millions of their descendants as refugees. Despite widespread outcry from international rights groups who have condemned Israel’s excessive use of forces against the civilian protesters, Israel has maintained its open-fire rules for the Gaza border.