|The News Line: Feature
Friday, 8 March 2019
‘CONFRONT ANY COUNTRY THAT RECOGNISES JERUSALEM AS THE CAPITAL OF ISRAEL’ – PLO minister Riyad Malki
PALESTINIAN Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyad Malki urged Arab countries on Wednesday to take ‘all practical measures’ to confront any country that recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
|Palestinians in Tulkarm, in the West Bank demonstrate against Trump’s decision to transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
He also urged the Arab countries to implement ‘the resolutions of the Arab League Council’ at various levels to take all measures ‘necessary’ to confront any decision by any state that recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or moves its embassy to the city.
Malki’s comments came during his speech at the 151st session of the Arab League Council at the level of foreign ministers, which was held in the Egyptian capital Cairo. The minister said that Palestinians are currently defending Al-Aqsa Mosque against Israeli attempts to control parts of the holy site, adding that the Israeli occupation authorities believe that the ‘time and place are proper to divide the Mosque’.
He added: ‘We need to respond to the Prime Minister of the Israeli occupation government, who claims every day that peace with Palestine is not a condition for peace with the Arabs, as he seeks to change the image of Israel from an occupation force to an oasis of solutions and innovation.’
In 2002, the League of Arab States adopted the Arab Peace Initiative, which showed the desire of the Arabs for ‘strategic peace’, which states that the condition of recognising Israel and establishing normal relations with it is conditioned on its withdrawal from the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, and finding a fair solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees, the minister said.
‘Thus, Arab states have expressed the maximum concession that they can offer for a just and comprehensive peace,’ he continued. He added that ‘17 years after the Arab Peace Initiative, the number of Israeli settlers has doubled, campaigns to Judaise East Jerusalem and attempts to divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque have increased.
‘Killing, arresting and robbing Palestinian lands and resources have doubled,’ he stressed. Malki also called on the Brazilian president to maintain historic positions in support of Palestinian rights, urging him to adhere to international law and international resolutions and to refrain from any step undermining the legal status of Jerusalem.
The foreign minister reiterated his rejection of Israeli and American efforts to undermine the refugee issue by stopping financial commitments to the budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), in order to damage its international mandate and ability to perform its functions in relief and employment of Palestinian refugees.
He also called on all countries to commit to supporting UNRWA’s budget and renewing its mandate whenever necessary, until the issue of Palestinian refugees is resolved in accordance with international law and United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948.
Meanwhile, Indonesia has announced a $1 million contribution for Palestine refugees, according to a press release by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
It said that the Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi paid a visit to UNRWA headquarters in Amman, Jordan where she met with Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, during which Marsudi announced a $1 million contribution for Palestine refugees, representing a five-fold increase of Indonesia’s support to UNRWA.
‘Palestine is at the heart of Indonesia’s foreign policy, and in the heart of Indonesian people,’ said Marsudi. ‘I know that UNRWA is facing another difficult year, so I wanted to come to you to show Indonesia’s support, hoping that this will attract increased support by other countries.’
Marsudi also visited an UNRWA school in Amman New Camp, meeting students and visiting a family of Palestinian refugees. During a special dialogue with student parliamentarians, the Foreign Minister conveyed a message of commitment and empowerment to female students.
Commissioner-General Krähenbühl expressed heartfelt gratitude for Indonesia’s important partnership: ‘Our appreciation goes to Minister Marsudi, to the government and people of Indonesia for the remarkable political and financial support to UNRWA.’
He continued: ‘Today’s visit represents a source of great encouragement for our students and all our staff. We value the increase in funding and Indonesia’s important advocacy for the dignity of Palestinian refugees in diverse international fora.
‘The agreement, signed today, will help provide important health services to some 29,000 Palestine refugees – and food assistance to over 9,500 – living in and around Jerash refugee camp in Jordan, the press release said. The support will focus on a particularly vulnerable community known as ex-Gazans, in reference to the Gaza Strip from where they originate.’
Indonesia has been a long-standing supporter of Palestinian refugees. The growing partnership with UNRWA is of special significance both in terms of increased bilateral assistance and in multilateral initiatives such as the establishment of a Developmental Waqf Fund for Palestinian refugees, adopted in the presence of Foreign Minister Marsudi and with the support of Indonesia at the recent Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation in Abu Dhabi.
• Reacting to the announcement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights of the delay in issuing the report and database on firms linked to illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan, Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi called for the release of the database without any delay.
‘The Palestinian leadership is alarmed and disappointed by the UN High Commissioner’s failure to release the long overdue database exposing firms linked to the illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,’ said Ashrawi in a statement.
‘This new delay is an unacceptable disservice to the standing of international human rights standards, including corporate responsibility to respect human rights and obligation not to profiteer from violations of human rights.
‘It also sends an alarming message of acquiescence to the mounting politicised pressure that has been levied on the Council with the intent of shielding Israel and its corporate accomplices from legal and moral accountability for rampant and grave human rights violations.’
Ashrawi said the Human Rights Council mandated the disclosure of companies and firms that have profited from the prolific human rights abuses in Palestine and the occupied Syrian Golan, particularly those involved in the illegal Israeli settlement regime.
‘We expect the High Commissioner of Human Rights to discharge this mandate expeditiously and without prejudice,’ she said, speaking on behalf of the PLO. ‘We expect her not to succumb to political pressure and release the list without further delay.
‘The issue of corporate responsibility to respect human rights is neither a novelty nor an anomaly in the rules-based international system. In fact, this issue has enjoyed worldwide consensus for years.
‘The situation in Palestine is not an exception to this moral and legal responsibility.
‘Human rights violators must not enjoy protection from accountability. The Palestinian leadership will continue to work with international partners and the human rights community to ensure companies profiteering from the grave violations of our people’s human rights are exposed and held accountable.’
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