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Commitment to 2-state, just solution for Palestinians renewed at Arab summit

By Mohammad Ghazal - Apr 01,2019 - Last updated at Apr 01,2019

TUNIS — Arab leaders, the UN and the EU on Sunday renewed their commitment to the two-state solution as the sole answer to ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, rejecting any attempts that seek to obstruct the Palestinians' rights to statehood and self-determination.

At the 30th Arab summit, held in Tunis on Sunday, Arab heads of states and representatives of the UN and the EU stressed that creating an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital was the key to stability in the Middle East. 

They voiced their rejection of forcing solutions and any blueprint that would not abide by the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and the international resolutions in this regard.

The Arab leaders were referring to the yet-to-be-announced Middle East peace plan proposed by the US team in charge of the so-called deal of the century and US President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. 

No official information of the American peace deal has been officially declared and the announcement of the blueprint has been repeatedly delayed with no exact date known for its official declaration.

Arab countries have already expressed their rejection of any deal that fails to address Jerusalem's status or refugees' right of return and other final status issues, which they said should be left for negotiations. Following Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017, Palestinians have announced their withdrawal from participating in any US-brokered peace deal. 

Addressing the summit, Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz said the Palestinian issue will continue to be the top of priorities of Saudi Arabia until the Palestinians attain all their legitimate rights, including their right to establish an independent Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967, lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on international legitimacy resolutions and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

In his speech at the summit, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi stressed that the Palestinian cause is a central one, and it is necessary to place it under the spotlight.

"This requires sending a clear message to the international community that stability and security in the Middle East and the world is through finding a just and fair settlement to the Palestinian issue that leads to creating an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital in line with the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative," the Tunisian president, whose country is presiding over the summit, said on Sunday.

"We need to intensify our efforts and actions to put an end to practices that seek to affect the main references of the Palestinian issue and to all attempts that seek to affect the Palestinians’ right to statehood and to self-determination and the historic status of Jerusalem," Essebsi added.

For his part, Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah said the Palestinian cause is the Arabs’ top issue.

"Stability and security in the world will continue to suffer as long as there is no fair solution to the Palestinian issue, a solution that ends the occupation and leads to the creation of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," Sheikh Sabah said.

"We need to stress that any arrangements for peace in the Middle East that are not based on these references will be far away from reality and will not achieve the realisation of stability and security in the Middle East," the Kuwaiti emir added.

In an address at the summit, UN Secretary General António Guterres stressed that the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine is the only one that would end the conflict.

"Jerusalem is capital of both states… There is no solution without the two-state solution,’ Guterres said.

Meanwhile, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini said a solution that is imposed by force is never a sustainable solution.

"Dividing Syria is not a solution… leaving Palestinians without a state is not a solution… the EU will continue to not recognise the Israeli sovereignty over territories occupied in 1967," Mogherini stated at the summit.

"We need to continue to work together as we share the same sense of priority and urgency and the same concerns and objectives to get back to meaningful negotiations towards the two-state solution that is the only viable solution," Mogherini added.

Also on Sunday, the Arab leaders voiced their rejection of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, saying it was in violation of international resolutions.

Heads of Arab states stressed that the US decision does not change the fact that the Golan is a Syrian territory that was occupied by Israel in 1967, and that the move does not have any legal grounds or impact.

They added that the decision was in violation of international resolutions.

The US decision violates the United Nations Security Council Resolution 497, which asserts that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect, stating that Israel, the occupying power, should rescind forthwith its decision. 

It also violates the UN resolution in 1967, which called for the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict and the termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force.

In this regard, Saudi King Salman said: "We reject any measures that seek to affect the Syrian sovereignty of the Golan Heights and we stress on the need for a political solution that guarantees the security and unity of Syria and prevention of external interferences.”

The Tunisian president also voiced his rejection of the US decision on the Golan Heights, saying: "We renew that this is an occupied Arab territory and the international community recognises that… there is a need for unified efforts to end the occupation."

Addressing the Arab summit, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit also reiterated that the Golan is occupied Syrian territory.

Aboul Gheit added that legalising the occupation is dangerous and a violation of the laws and principles of justice.

Arab leaders voiced their support for political solutions in Yemen and Syria, voicing their rejection of any interference in the internal affairs of Arab states.

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