I know there are many people who mendaciously and maliciously or maybe ignorantly portray us as bellicose and anti-peace and prone to violence.

As the Palestinian people continue their long and painful journey for freedom and independence, we look to the future with hope and optimism. Indeed, it is this hope, this strong faith in the justice of our cause, that kept us going all these years and made us withstand the suffering and brutality meted out to us by an evil and dehumanising Israeli military occupation.

From time immemorial, Palestine was the peaceful homeland of native Muslims, Christians and Jews who lived together in peace and harmony, sharing a common history and heritage. In fact, it was only after Palestine was placed under the British mandate following World War I, and when the British colonialist authorities subsequently decided to illegally give Palestine, our ancestral homeland, to Zionism, that inter-communal and inter- religious harmony was disturbed.

As result of that wanton injustice, we find ourselves today as prisoners in our own homeland, enslaved and tormented by an illegal and immoral occupier who is treating our people as children of a lesser God, or even as if we were animals.

In fact, the criminal nature of this occupation transcends reality. The ugly scenes of murder, home demolitions, and humiliation to which our people are subjected to on a daily basis and which people outside Palestine watch on their TV screens, are but a small part of what is really happening on the ground.

Needless to say, the Israeli occupiers wouldn’t be perpetrating their crimes against a helpless people whose only "crime" is its enduring yearning for freedom and justice were it not for the disgraceful apathy of the international community towards my people’s plight.

Hence, I call on the international community to pressure the Israeli state to stop its systematic oppression and institutionalised persecution of my people.

Not withstanding the overwhelming pain and suffering, we are certain that this brutal occupation of my people and my country will end one day and the peoples of this land will live in peace and harmony once again.

In fact, I dare say that peace in Palestine shall reverberate throughout the world, heralding a new era of peace.

I know there are many people who mendaciously and maliciously or maybe ignorantly portray us as bellicose and anti-peace and prone to violence. But this is untrue. We long for peace as much as anybody else, or even more than anybody else, since we are the premier victims of violence and war. Peace is a sublime value without which the entire human experience becomes lacking in substance.

However, for peace to be real, durable and meaningful, it has to be based on justice.

We, the Palestinian people, are earnestly looking for a genuine peace that comes from the hearts, and we urge the international community to help us realise that peace so that all children in this part of the world, Arab children and Jewish children, could lead normal lives.

For years, the bitter strife in this tortured land ravaged the lives of individuals, destroyed untold property and killed economic opportunities. Wars breed hatred and ill will, but peace breed cooperation and good will. Nonetheless, let us have no illusions. Violence will continue as long as one group of people, intoxicated by their political and military power, feel that they have the right to impose their will on another group of people, by way of bullying and coercion. A "peace" like this is an act of rape.

Needless to say, for a just peace to materialise in Palestine, the world community must adopt an honest approach to this conflict. We say so because we are tired of the international community’s hypocrisy and double standards in dealing with both parties to the conflict.

Indeed, we would like to know why the UN has allowed Israel to repeatedly fly in the face of more than 100 UN resolutions aimed at ending the illegal occupation of my country? Are there two sets of international law, one for the weak and another for the strong?

Is Israel above international law? Is Israel entitled to a special treatment by the international community whereby it can kill our children with impunity, steal our land with impunity, and expel us to the four corners of the world with impunity?

It is time that all men and women of conscience and rectitude to speak up in support for justice for the Palestinians. We have suffered too much, and it is time that we are allowed to reclaim our usurped freedom and dignity.

We are not demanding the impossible. We only challenge the world community to be faithful to the UN Charter and international conventions that prohibit the acquisition of land by force.

In short, the occupation must end, and it must end now.

-The author is the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority