We mark 28 years since the Palestine National Council, representing Palestinians all over the world, declared the State of Palestine on the 1967 border, endorsing all principles of international law and UN resolutions. This historic moment also marked the painful concession of recognizing Israel over 78% of historic Palestine.
Israel met our historic compromise with more oppression and dispossession. The number of settlers today exceeds 650,000 as opposed to 180,000 28 years ago. Our heroic people though, both in exile and in the homeland, has remained steadfast in the path towards freedom and independence.
The international community has failed in its responsibility for correcting this historical and continuing injustice, and has attempted to equalize the responsibilities of occupier and occupied. These failings have only fueled the Israeli culture of impunity and hatred, including its daily aggressions against our people.
Our vision of peace is based in the Arab Peace Initiative: Two sovereign states on the 1967 border, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and a just solution to the refugee issue based on UNGA Resolution 194, in exchange for full normalization of relations between the rest of our region and the State of Israel.
In contrast, Israel has only offer plans for settlement expansion, regional tensions and further discrimination, racism and hatred. The occupation of our country has brought an enormous cost to our nation, including the ongoing theft of our natural resources and systematic violations of our human and national rights. Once again we call upon the international community to end all relations with Israel’s settlement enterprise, including by banning all settlement products, divesting from companies profiting directly or indirectly from the Israeli occupation, and sanction the denial of our inalienable right to self-determination.
East Jerusalem has been occupied and illegally annexed for almost 50 years. There will be no independent State of Palestine without East Jerusalem being its capital. Despite Israeli attempts to change its historic identity, including its ongoing separation from the rest of Palestine, threats to the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound, restrictions to access the Holy Sepulcher and most recently a law to restrict mosques from announcing their calls for prayers, Athan, Palestine will continue to defend the rights of our people and heritage in Jerusalem, a city holy to the three monotheistic religions, including at UNESCO.
Over the past 28 years the State of Palestine has been recognized by 138 states and has gained full membership in several international organizations, including the International Criminal Court. We have also been recognized as a state at the United Nations. This successful process of internationalization is both a sovereign right and a message of hope for our people. We therefore call upon those states who haven’t recognized Palestine to do so in order to reaffirm our national rights and to prevent the two-state solution from its total collapse.
A few days ago, November 11th, marked 12 years since our late leader, Yasser Arafat, left this world. On our declaration of independence read on November 15th 1988 President Arafat said: “We call upon our great people to rally to the flag of Palestine, to cherish and defend it, so that it may forever be the symbol of our freedom and dignity in that homeland, which is a homeland for the free, now and always.”
We continue our path towards the independence of our state by raising our proud flag. This includes our work in international organizations, as we are working to introduce a resolution before the UN Security Council in the coming weeks. We call upon all members, particularly the United States, to allow the Security Council to exercise its responsibility for peace and security in Palestine.