Thursday, September 21, 2017

World leaders at UNGA urge resolute peace deal for Palestine to be an independent state


By Cynthia Wang - September 25, 2016
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Section: [Main News]
Tags: [UN] [Mahmoud Abbas] [Peace Process]

“Israel must reciprocate with recognition of the State of Palestine and an end to its occupation of the land,” said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the 71st UN General Assembly gathering the world leaders in New York on September 22.

Abbas indicated the core conflict between two sides is not between religions or people, but because of the “Israeli occupation of our land”; and reinforced that no peace progress can be achieved with the continued expansion of settlements, disruptions to the economy, and the “perpetrating [of] ethnic cleansing” against Palestinians.

“Those who believe in the two-State solution should recognize both States, and not just one of them,” Abbas concluded.

Marking the hundredth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration next year, Abbas reminded Britain bore responsibility for signing it, apart from urging the UN to hold an international peace conference for direct negotiations. The United Kingdom, Abbas said, should “bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibilities for the consequences of this Declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people for the catastrophes, miseries and injustices that it created, and to act to rectify this historic catastrophe and remedy its consequences, including by recognition of the State of Palestine.”

On the other side of the debate, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the UN as demonstrating “obsessive bias against Israel” over the past 20 years, but praised the new peace treaties signed with Egypt and Jordan as “diplomatic revolutions.”

Netanyahu as expected, criticized Abbas’ statements regarding the Israeli occupation and settlement construction, and called for a direct conversation between the two leaders.

“I invite you to speak to the Israeli people at the Knesset in Jerusalem. And I would gladly come to speak to the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah.”

President Obama, speaking as the leader of the US for the last time, affirmed the importance of Israel to end the occupation as it cannot “permanently occupy and settle.” On the other hand, Obama said that Palestinians need to “reject incitements” to start peace progress without giving specifics.

Describing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the “the core of regional instability,” Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, aligned with some other leaders from Spain, African and South American countries, reemphasized the “two-state solution” should be pursued with peaceful efforts from both sides to end the conflict crises. Egypt, as the first Arab country to recognize Israel in 1979, has stepped up in recent months for its diplomatic ties with Israel on the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiation.

The Saudi Prince, Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, urged Israel to return the occupied land to Palestine, along with other Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan Heights, and southern Lebanon.

On the second day of the annual gathering, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed “there is a need to allow for the Palestinian people to establish an independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

He said the recent reconciliation deal signed between Turkey and Israel will help assist the peace process, and solve the economic and humanitarian crises faced by Palestinians.

In a stronger statement, Jordanian King Abdullah warned Israel to accept a Palestinian state or it will face “a sea of hatred in a region of turmoil.”

2 days before President Abbas’ speech, he also held meetings with leaders from Egypt, Cyprus, Brazil and Belgium at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York to discuss diplomatic relations. He updated recent developments on the conflict, including the escalation of violent clashes since October 2015 and the difficult situation.

Palestine gained its seat as a non-member observer state in the UN on November 29, 2012. Although the United States and Israel expressed their strong opposition, the overwhelming number of advocates from 138 UN members still paved Palestine’s way in their pursuit of independence.

However, since then not much progress has been made for Palestine to become an independent state thus to free itself from Israeli military occupation. The international community has tried continuously to stop Israel on its violation of Palestinians’ human rights and the deliberately military targets towards Palestinian children. Land expropriation, ongoing construction of settlements, and armed occupation only stir more violent clashes seen up to date make peace solution hard to achieve.

World leaders concluded the Israeli-Palestinian discussion by urging the UN in fulfillment of their pleas for a resolute peace deal in the area that lead to independence for Palestine.

“The United Nations should carry out its historic mission in ensuring that the two longest outstanding decolonization and occupation issues are resolved once and for all,” said the president of South Africa.

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