PALESTINIAN Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Riyad Malki, called on the Arab League to reject the United Arab Emirates-Israel normalisation agreement.
‘Otherwise, our meeting will be considered a blessing to the move, or a cover for it, which the state of Palestine will not accept,’ Malki, who chairs the current 154th session of the Arab League’s Council at the ministerial level, told Arab foreign ministers during a video-conference meeting.
Malki reiterated that Palestine did not authorise anyone to speak on its behalf, rejecting the idea that some parties have normalised ties with Israel for the good of Palestine.
‘We know that the real reason is completely different … We stopped the annexation with our courageous stance and the positions of everyone who rejected this policy,’ the minister said.
He thanked the Arab countries that embraced the Palestinian cause and those who defended, protected, and contributed to strengthening it by all means, without speaking on behalf of Palestine.
Malki pointed out that Palestine’s desire to preserve the Arab consensus should not be interpreted as weakness, stressing that ‘we do not feel weak to defend our principles, constants, rights and our cause.’
He also thanked the Arab countries that rejected the US Secretary of State’s blackmail to normalise ties with the occupation state.
‘Our ordinary session takes place in extraordinary circumstances, and we meet with enormous challenges ahead, challenges that we have not experienced before,’ the minister said. ‘We have always believed that the Palestinian issue is above all differences, as it was always the point of gathering and not the point of division.’
The American-Israeli-Emirati tripartite declaration was ‘an earthquake, and instead of placating us, we started to defend ourselves and our cause, and the situation turned so that we became the rioters because we dared to stand in the face of the earthquake as we stood against the US administration when it violated our rights,’ he added.
The minister said Palestine called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League’s Council at the ministerial level to discuss the Emirati move as the issue requires an emergency meeting.
‘We were surprised this time that an Arab country objected to our request to hold an emergency meeting and asked to replace it with the ordinary session.
‘When we agreed to its request, the same country objected to our request to add an article to the programme of the session, while another country threatened to submit an alternative draft resolution,’ minister Malki said.
‘How do we explain these steps?’ Malki asked. ‘Who determines that? Are they the owners of influence and money or what? Did the State of Palestine go too far in its request to hold an emergency meeting or even add an article to new works of the Arab League’s Council?
‘Did it cross the red lines that were drawn, but without announcing them?
‘We need to know these new red lines to decide whether we want to be a part of them or not.’
The Foreign Minister wondered if the Arab Peace Initiative that talks about normalising relations with Israel after it withdraws from all the occupied Palestinian territories is still on the table or not.
‘We ask here whether our decisions regarding it (the Arab Peace Initiative) are in place or not, and if we are still committed to it as it came and was adopted at the Beirut Summit in 2002?’ Malki said.
Minister Malki also requested that no country should speak on behalf of Palestine ‘as Palestine has not authorised anyone to do so’.
- Israeli military vehicles infiltrated Gaza’s border, east of Gaza city, and razed farmland, according to a WAFA correspondent.
He said that Israeli military vehicles advanced several dozens of metres into Gaza’s eastern frontier, east of Gaza city, razing farmlands and placed dirt mounds while opening fire in the air.
Meanwhile, the Israeli navy opened fire and blasted water hoses towards fishermen sailing within three nautical miles offshore of Gaza city, forcing them to flee to the shore.
Fourteen years following the Israeli ‘disengagement’ from Gaza, Israel has not actually disengaged from Gaza; it still maintains control of its land borders, access to the sea and airspace.
Two million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, which has been subjected to a punishing and crippling Israeli blockade for 12 years and repeated onslaughts that have heavily damaged much of the enclave’s infrastructure.
Gaza’s 2-million population remains under ‘remote control’ occupation and a strict siege, which has destroyed the local economy, strangled Palestinian livelihoods, plunged them into unprecedented rates of unemployment and poverty, and cut off from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories and the wider world.
Gaza remains occupied territory, having no control over its borders, territorial waters or airspace. Meanwhile, Israel upholds very few of its responsibilities as the occupying power, failing to provide for the basic needs of Palestinian civilians living in the territory.
Every two in three Palestinians in Gaza is a refugee from lands inside what is now Israel. That government forbids them from exercising their right to return as enshrined in international law because they are not Jews.
- A major Christian Palestinian group has criticised a US bishop for condoning the recent Israeli-UAE normalisation agreement.
Kairos Palestine addressed an open letter to Bishop of Rockford and Illinois, David Malloy, who also serves as Chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace, criticising him on showing satisfaction with the agreement and providing him with their observations on the issue.
‘People who think that any mutual recognition between an Arab country and the state of Israel is a step forward towards peace are mistaken. It would be a step towards peace if this accord were accompanied by the resolution of the core of the conflict: the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian land,’ they said.
‘Establishing peace relations between Israel and Arab states starts by ending the Israeli occupation and granting the Palestinians their rights, including the right to self-determination. Any other path is a false way to peace. Isolating then cornering the “poor” to kneel before the powerful is surrender, not peace,’ they stressed.
‘Moreover, if the Arab regimes will recognise Israel, their peoples will refuse to normalise with the Israelis, as long as the Palestinians remain under oppression.
‘True peace doesn’t start with forging peace agreements with Arab countries but rather with the Palestinians.
‘True peace should start in the hearts of the Palestinians, and this is in the hands of Israel to recognise a Palestinian state on the 22% left from historic Palestinian land.
‘It is a question of the equality between peoples, all of whom have been created equal by God.
‘You condone the agreement because it delayed the annexation of more than 30% of what is left of Palestinian land. But this delay is in words only.
‘In fact, on the ground de facto annexation is an ongoing process, day after day, through daily cruel and destructive actions of the army and the settlers against Palestinian farmers, including the constant stealing of Palestinian land and building of settlements. Netanyahu himself declared that the annexation was not cancelled but postponed.
‘Some people call this accord the Abraham agreement. Here we say, enough exploiting of God and God’s prophets to side with the powerful. If we call on God and the prophets in this matter, we must then observe God’s commandments and the equality God has given to all peoples – including Israelis and Palestinians. Justice to all.
‘Now on the ground, as the “powerful” take what is theirs and what is others, they are even supported by many churches. The weak are deprived of their rights while the powerful and the churches respond with words, but no action.
‘You speak about direct negotiations. They took place for 30 years and Israel kept saying “no” to the minimum requirements of the Palestinians. Going back to negotiations with the same disposition of the powerful is insane. But if the powerful show more equity towards the other party (regarding Jerusalem and acknowledging the equality of all), negotiations will make sense.
‘Finally, Palestinians rejected Trump’s “Deal of the Century” because it did not answer to the minimal requirements of the Palestinians described in UN resolutions and international laws. Trump’s plan has declared Jerusalem only as Israel’s capital.
‘His plan has taken away what belongs to the Palestinians and given it to Israel. It is a perpetuation of the long injustice imposed by the Israelis upon the Palestinian people.
‘Real peace is to support the “poor” and to say “no” to the injustice inflicted by the “powerful” on the weak. In this way, churches should lobby their governments to put an end to this prolonged tragedy of the peoples of the Holy Land.’
The letter was signed by Latin Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah, Coordinator of Kairos Palestine Rifat Kassis, Coordinator of NCCOP & Director of Arab Educational Institute Fuad Giacaman, President of DIYAR Mitri Raheb, Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center officer Omar Harami, The East Jerusalem Rehab. Program & Beit Sahour YMCA Nader Abu Amsha, Director of Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and Sustainability Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, Director of Christ at the Checkpoint conference.
Kairos Palestine is primarily know for issuing the Kairos Palestine document, full title of which is ‘A Moment of Truth: A word of faith and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering’, urging churches around the world ‘to say a word of truth and to take a position of truth’ and explicitly endorsing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) ‘as tools of justice, peace and security’.