During the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech in which he expressed his disappointment over the continuation of injustice for the people of Palestine, now the occupation is approaching half a century.
UN Photo / Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session.
Palestine commits itself to the agreements reached with Israel, which regretablly is not reciprocated by the occupying power. Settlement colonization, aggression against cities, villages and refugee camps, collective punishment and extrajudicial killings continue, in manifest breach of international law, agreements and 12 Security Council Resolutions.
“Our hand remains outstretched for making peace. But the question that keeps presenting itself over and over again: is there any leadership in Israel, the occupying Power, that desires to make a true peace and that will abandon the mentality of hegemony, expansionism and colonization, and that will recognize the rights of our people and will end the historic injustice inflicted upon them? It is Israel’s breach of the agreements it has signed and its failure to comply with its ob!igations that has led us to the deadlock and stalemate that we remain in.”
President Abbas called upon the Assembly to declare 2017 as the international year to end the Israeli occupation of our land and our people, as we approach in June 2017 a half century of this abhorrent Israeli occupation. He also appealed nations to enable Palestine to present and cosponsor resolutions beyond the question of Palestine and to support our efforts to enhance Palestine’s legal and political status, including by granting it additional responsibilities to chair committees and international groups, while at the same time we will continue our efforts for full membership in international organizations.
The full speech can be viewed or read here.
Palestine signed the Paris Climate Agreement after acceding to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Dr. Riyad Mansour stated: “Now as a State Party to the UNFCCC, the UN treaty body in charge of climate action, the State of Palestine has a unique role. It can, in particular, share expertise about conservation in harsh environments and serve as the voice for those without full control over their natural resources in the context of international climate action.” Continue reading
President Mahmoud Abbas strongly condemned the bombings which targeted Zeventem airport and Maelbeek metro station yesterday in the city of Brussels. He offered his condolences to the victims’ families and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured ones.
The PLO Executive Committee also issued a statement: “On behalf of the Palestinian leadership, we strongly condemn today’s terrorist attacks in Brussels. We stand in solidarity with the Belgium people and convey our deepest condolences and sympathies to the victims and their families who have been affected by such tragic events.”
“We, the Palestinian people, stress our commitment to nonviolence and are against any kind of terrorism and the targeting of innocent civilians. Terror and extremism must not be allowed to reign over the region and beyond.”
Israel declared more than 234 hectares of land near Jericho and the Dead Sea ‘State Land’. This is the largest single land grab since before the Oslo Agreements. PLO Secretary General Erekat: “This latest Israeli decision is coherent with its government’s plan to impose an Apartheid regime in occupied Palestine. Israel, the occupying power, continues its colonial project by maintaining its belligerent occupation and by annexing more Palestinian lands throughout the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley.”
On the same day the land grab became public, Israeli officials met with French envoy Vimont to discuss the possibility for new peace talks this summer. Erekat: “This symbolizes Israel’s culture impunity, granted by the international community, which is indeed the main obstacle to end the Israeli occupation and realize the systematically denied inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”
In a recent interview, president Abbas reaffirmed the Palestinian Authority’s standpoint of nonviolence. “I will not enter a violent struggle. I will not ruin my people and my country. I will fight in the political field to reach my goal. I will never permit violent struggle against Israel and I am determined to prevent anyone from using weapons.”
President Abbas stated he is willingly to discuss peace with any Israeli authority. “We are now engaging in a popular uprising that includes massive protests and demonstrations against the occupation. The world has started changing, and this change is manifested in the European opposition to Israeli settlements and in the labeling of Israeli products from the West Bank. Even the US cannot say it supports the settlements.”
“The current international framework formed to resolve the conflict, which is the Quartet, no longer functions since the US has canceled its meeting. Because of this failure, Abbas calls for a new international coalition that includes Arab, Asian and European states to help start new negotiations.
In continuation of the Dutch-Palestinian Bilateral Forum of last October, a new IT seminar with attention for Dutch-Palestinian cooperation will be held the 22nd of March. During this seminar, different speakers will discuss the possibilities of outsourcing IT activities to Palestine.
IT outsourcing is an increasingly popular option for Dutch companies, where there is a great shortage of IT service companies in the Netherlands. In the past, there already have been great cooperation between Dutch and Palestinian companies. For example the Dutch company Fanack.com, which outsourced their IT work to the Exalt company based in Ramallah. “They are professional and cost only half the money asked by a Dutch company. Cultural differences are also smaller in comparison with for example Indian companies.”
IT companies in Palestine offer the Palestinians a new source of jobs and income. Because IT companies deliver their goods online, the new companies are not bothered by Israeli blockades. IT outsourcing is an opportunity for both the Dutch and the Palestinians. The IT seminar will be an opportunity to strengthen the economic relationship between the Netherlands and Palestine.
For more information on the seminar, please visit: http://www.firstlife-net.nl/media/1135/ict-seminar-internationalisering-adam-22-maart-1.pdf
The Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) continues to improve the financial institutions to create stability for the Palestinian economy. By implementing new reforms and using foreign support and knowledge, the PMA strives to become a fully modern central bank for the independent state of Palestine.
The Palestinian economy is starting to recover slowly from the great devastations caused by the 2014 Gaza conflict. The combined profits of Palestinian companies increased with 21.8% in 2015. Unemployment is decreasing slowly. However, the blockade of Gaza and the ongoing illegal settlement building by Israel pose a great threat for the economic recovery. Jobs in agriculture and mining are still decreasing.
New plans by the PMA are focused on attracting Social Impact Investments. These investment target specific social objectives along with the financial return of the investment. This way, the PMA tries to bring new economic activity to Palestine that is also beneficial to the population. By monitoring local developments and opportunities, the PMA continues to increase the capacity building of the Palestinian economy. A good example of this are the new possibilities of digital entrepreneurship. By delivering their products online, Palestinian IT companies are able to increase economic activity without being troubled by Israeli blockades.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Laurent Fabius’ initiative to safeguard the two-state solution and to promote peace in our region through the efforts that France will undertake in the coming few weeks to hold an international peace conference.
Mr. Fabius’ courageous words and his unwavering efforts to reach an end to this long and tragic conflict that has bewildered and plagued our region are held high by the Palestinian people and leadership. Our people have endured a great deal of suffering and watched their rights violated and their territory being encroached on by expanding Israeli settlements. It is time that our people achieve their right to self- determination in their own state that will live in peace and security with its neighbors. Continue reading
After months of disproportional violence by Israeli authorities, extrajudicial killings, violence of settlers met with impunity and a steady continuation of the settlement policy, the Ambassador of the United States in Israel, H.E. Shapiro, has voiced his concerns about the situation.
He stated Israel applies “two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians”, and added that “too much Israeli vigilantism in the West Bank goes on unchecked,” contributing it to “a lack of thorough investigations”. He noted that the American administration is “concerned and perplexed” in wake of the Israeli government’s policy on the settlements, “which raise questions about Israeli intentions.”
His choice of words is remarkable considering the traditionally strong ties between the USA and Israel. Palestinian leaders have called upon the international community to take action against the ongoing violence of the military regime, the ongoing construction of settlements and the impunity towards settler violence, effectively creating a situation of Apartheid.
In his speech in Bethlehem on January 6 President Abbas made clear that the Palestinian Authority will only be replaced by a fully-functioning Palestinian state.
He added, “We continue to extend our hand for peace and negotiations to achieve peace and the two-state solution. We will stay in our land and will not allow Israel to establish an apartheid country or one with two regimes.”
“We want a fully sovereign state and we have rights like the other countries of the world. Anything other than that will not be accepted,” Abbas said. Regarding the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic efforts, he said: “We shall continue to exert efforts at the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations – and this is not a luxury – to provide international protection to our people and to stop settlement activities.”
He stressed that settlements are illegal since 1967 to the present day. “This is our land and all settlers must leave; and they will leave similar to what happened in the Gaza Strip.”