A delegation from “The Elders” visited Ramallah Monday and met Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, and several senior officials, and discussed latest developments and obstacles obstructing peace in the region.The Elders were represented by former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, Gro Harlem Bruntland, the first Norwegian woman to become a Prime Minister, and Mary Robinson, the first woman to become the President of Ireland and former member of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Palestinian reconciliation efforts.
President Abbas informed the visiting delegation on the latest in the Palestinian effort to obtain a non-member state status at the United Nations. Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, attended the meeting.
The visiting Elders also held a meeting with member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Member of the Fateh Central Committee, Mohammad Eshteyya, and discussed the latest developments in Palestine, topped by the ongoing Israeli violations, the Palestine News & Info Agency (WAFA) reported.
They also held talks on the Palestinian local elections, held a few days ago, in the occupied West Bank, and stressed on the importance of holding legislative and presidential elections.
WAFA added that the officials also held talks on the impact of the Arab Spring in Palestine, and also discussed the Israeli threat to wage war on Iran, considering the move to be an attempt to divert the international attention from what Tel Aviv is doing against the Palestinians and their lands.
Dr. Ashrawi told the visiting delegation that Israel continues its violations of international law, adding that “it is imperative that the United States plays a more constructive role and supports our peaceful diplomatic efforts to remain on the land, resist the illegal occupation and to achieve a viable, independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital”, WAFA reported.
The official also stated that the Palestinians hope that the International Community will be able to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing violations against the internationally-guaranteed rights of the Palestinian people, “before it is too late and the chances of a two-state solution are wiped out due to these violations”.
The Elders said that the Palestinian bid at the United Nations, seeking an upgrade to state-status, is an important move that deserves international support.
Prior to heading to Ramallah, former U.S. President Carter, said while visiting Jerusalem, Monday, that Israel’s ongoing settlement construction and expansion activities in the occupied Palestinian territories is forcing the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements.
Carter stated that the Israeli violations are isolating occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied West Bank, adding that the current situation in the occupied territories is catastrophic and that the option of establishing an independent Palestinian state is becoming nonviable.
He also said that the two-state solution is “the only realistic path that would lead to peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians”.
The Associated Press reported that the visiting Elders did not hold a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, as in previous visits to the regions they have not been granted such meetings.
The Elders will be heading to Egypt, Tuesday, for a meeting with the newly elected Egyptian President, Mohammad Morsi.
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The Elders: “Chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Elders is an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights. They were brought together in 2007 by Nelson Mandela, who is not an active member of the group but remains an Honorary Elder.
The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was also an Honorary Elder, until her election to the Burmese parliament in April 2012.
Statement By “The Elders”