MAHMOUD ABBAS, President of the State of Palestine, said the question of Palestine was one of the first issues brought before the United Nations, yet it remained unresolved as the Organization and its Member States remained unable to end the injustice inflicted upon its people and help them exercise their right to self-determination and freedom in their independent and sovereign State. Continuation of the status quo was completely unacceptable because it meant surrender to the brute force of the Israeli Government as it continued its illegal settlement expansion in the West Bank, especially in Occupied East Jerusalem, and continued its blockage of the Gaza Strip, in defiance of United Nations resolutions and the agreements signed between the two sides under international auspices.
Despite the obstacles imposed by occupation, the Palestinian National Authority had worked to build the foundation of its State, its infrastructure and sovereign national institutions, he said. It had made progress as affirmed by several international bodies, including the United Nations, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). Its accession to membership in international organizations, conventions and treaties was not directed against any one, but aimed to safeguard its rights, protect its people and strengthen its international legal status and identity. “We will not accept temporary solutions or a fragmented State. We seek to form a national unity government that functions according to the programme of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and we seek to hold presidential and legislative elections,” President Abbas said.
The Palestinian people aspired to see the independent State of Palestine take its rightful place among the community of nations, he said. He was very grateful to the countries that voted in favour of the resolution enabling the flag of the State of Palestine to be raised at United Nations Headquarters. “The day is not far when we will raise the flag of Palestine in East Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Palestine,” President Abbas said. He recognized the European countries and parliaments that had reaffirmed Palestine’s natural right to independence and appealed to those countries that had not yet recognized the State of Palestine to do so. He extended a sincere call to the people of Israel for peace based on justice, security and stability for all. He also called on the Security Council and the General Assembly to uphold their responsibilities before it was too late to achieve peace.
Palestine welcomed global and European efforts, including the French initiative calling for the formation of an international support group to achieve peace, he said. It was no longer useful to waste time in negotiations for the sake of negotiations. What was required was to mobilize international efforts to oversee an end to the occupation in line with the resolutions of international legitimacy. Until then, he asked the United Nations to provide international protection for the Palestinian people in accordance with international humanitarian law.
Referring to various agreements, including the transitional Oslo Agreement and its annexes and economic agreements, he said that as long as Israel refused to commit to these agreements and violated them, Palestine could not continue to be bound by the agreements. “We therefore declare that we cannot continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying power, because the status quo cannot continue…” he said. He reiterated that the current situation was unsustainable. “Our people need genuine hope and need to see credible efforts for ending this conflict, ending their misery and achieving their rights,” he said.