MAHMOUD ABBAS, President of the State of Palestine, recalled that many of his people carry deeds and keys to the houses from which they were uprooted 73 years ago. Meanwhile Israel, in defiance of international law and United Nations resolutions, enacts laws and holds court hearings to displace Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan in Jerusalem unlawfully and forcibly, which can only be characterized under international law as ethnic cleansing. “The crimes and aggressive policies of the Israeli occupying Power against our people, land and holy sites will not thwart our people’s struggle to achieve their freedom and independence on their land. This colonial regime it has established on our land will disappear, regardless of how long it takes,” he said.
There are still some countries that refuse to acknowledge the reality that Israel is an occupying Power, only serving to embolden it to reject and violate United Nations resolutions, he said. As for internal Palestinian unity, he reiterated that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is the legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian people. In that context, he stressed that his Government did not cancel presidential elections, but postponed them as they could not be held in Jerusalem.
He went on to highlight the constructive dialogue currently under way with the United States Administration to resume Palestinian-American relations and take steps that will ensure the occupying Power’s abidance of signed agreements. However, the current and former Israeli Governments have persisted in evading the two-State solution, and pursued occupation and military control over the Palestinian people while presenting illusionary economic and security plans as an alternative. The leaders of Israel no longer feel any shame while stating their blunt opposition to this solution that is supported by global consensus, he stressed.
In that context, he called upon the Secretary-General to take the necessary steps towards developing an international mechanism for protection and to activate that mechanism. Furthermore, he called on the Secretary-General to convene an international peace conference, in line with the internationally recognized terms of reference and United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, and under the sole auspices of the international Quartet.
Israel has one year to withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, he declared, adding that his Government is ready to work throughout 2021 on the delineation of borders and solving all final status issues in accordance with United Nations resolutions. If this is not achieved, why maintain recognition of Israel based on the 1967 borders, he wondered. “This is our land, our Jerusalem, our Palestinian identity, and we shall defend it until the occupier leaves, as the future belongs to us, and you cannot claim peace and security for yourselves alone. Let us be.”
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