At the end of its Saturday meeting in Doha – Qatar, the Arab Follow-up Committee, decided on Saturday to head to the United Nations to ask for recognizing a Palestinian State in the 1967 border, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and to grant Palestine full UN membership. Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, attended the meeting. The official Palestine News and Info Agency (WAFA) reported that the committee discussed the May 19 speech of U.S. President, Barack Obama, and the response of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu to it.
The Palestinian leadership insists on heading to the United Nations this coming September to ask for a full recognition of a Palestinian State. Israel and the United States are opposing the move, and said that such an issue should be discussed in direct peace talks.
Yet, peace talks have been ongoing since the early nineties, and despite the fact that the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) recognized Israel and its right to exist, Tel Aviv never met the recognition with a similar one.
In its final statement, the Follow-up Committee said that Arab countries conducted all arrangements, and contacted leaders of several countries in order to garner support at the Security Council.
The committee held Israel fully responsible for the collapse of peace talks due to its ongoing aggression and violations against the Palestinian people and their lands, and its ongoing settlement construction and expansion policies.
It said that Israel refuses to recognize the two-state solution, and is escalating its settlement activities despite the fact that all settlements are illegal under international law.
It also called on the U.S. Congress to reevaluate its stances and to be more balanced in dealing with the Middle East conflict, adding that these issues will protect the U.S. interests and its role in achieving a just and lasting peace.
Furthermore, the committee said that by accepting basis of the peace process, the two-state solution based on the 1967 border, and stopping settlement activities, Israel will find out that the Arabs and Palestinians are willing to start final-status peace talks.
It welcomed Obama’s speech when he indicated that the borders of the Palestinian State should be with Jordan, Egypt and Israel.
As for the latest speech of Netanyahu at the Congress on May 24, the committee said that Netanyahu blocked all paths of progress of peace talks, and that Netanyahu refused to recognize any international resolution regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict.
It welcomed all countries that recognized the Palestinian state and called on all other countries to do so as soon as possible as the international community must support Palestinian independence and statehood.
The final statement of the Arab Follow-up Committee expressed full support to the Palestinian unity deal signed in Cairo on May 4, 2001, and saluted the Egyptian role in making the deal possible. It also called for speeding the establishment of the new Palestinian government.
It is worth mentioning that the Arab Ministerial Committee held a meeting in Doha headed by Qatar Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani, and listened to a speech by President Mahmoud Abbas who spoke of his latest talks with the White House regarding the resumption of peace talks.
The committee further saluted the European Union for its May 23 statement calling for respecting the International Law, and for recognizing the 1967 border as the base for resolving the conflict.
The EU said that Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal.
The EU stated that security cannot be achieved without reaching a lasting and a just solution to the Middle East conflict based on a full Israeli withdrawal from all Arab and Palestinian territories, and called for finding a fair solution to the issue of the Palestinian refugees, based on all related resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.
It refused transitional or partial agreements regarding these issues, and added that Israel must halt all of settlement activities, as settlements are illegal.
The EU also welcomed that Egyptian decision to open the Rafah Border Terminal that leads to Gaza, and called for the opening of all border terminals in order to end the Israeli siege on the coastal region.