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23 Nov, 2014

Int’l Conference Endorses Formation of Global Solidarity Network with Palestinians

RAMALLAH, November 21, 2014 (WAFA) – At the closing session of the ‘International Conference of Local Authorities in Solidarity with the Palestinian People’, international participants endorsed the formation of an international network of solidarity with the Palestinian people, under the title, ‘The International Network in Solidarity with the Palestinian Local Authorities.”

The aim of this network is to recruit and mobilize political, economic, social and cultural support for the Palestinian local authorities, to strengthen and develop the prospects of joint cooperation with all international municipalities across the world, as well as to promote solidarity and cooperation between various grassroots organizations.

The membership of this network will open to all local and international bodies, municipalities and their unions’ representatives.

The International participants recommended the formation of a permanent committee in Palestine to unite and coordinate all international solidarity movements with the Palestinian people in order to improve and increase its effectiveness in all areas

They also decided to continue to hold periodic solidarity conferences of international local authorities.

They emphasized the importance and the necessity of building an independent Palestinian state and to support the Palestinian institutions to enable and enhance the steadfastness of the Palestinian people on their land as well as to enable them to exercise their right to sovereignty over their land and its resources, emphasizing the importance of putting an end to the Israeli occupation theft of Palestinian national resources in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

They agreed on working to enable the Palestinian authorities to control and exploit its resources in order to contribute to the building of a democratic Palestinian society and enable the Palestinians to manage their lives freely.

The international participants emphasized the need for the international community’s various bodies and organizations to uphold their responsibilities and activate and strengthen solidarity with the Palestinian people in order to increase international pressure on Israel and compel it to implement the resolutions of the international legitimacy.

They urged the international community to hold Israel responsible for disrupting the peace process and all international efforts exerted toward achieving the two-state solution.

The international delegations expressed their full solidarity with the Palestinian people, stressing that they are not alone and that it is the duty of all nations to stand by them in their struggle for freedom and independence.

They agreed to enhance and promote the collaboration agreements and coordination between their cities’ local authorities and their Palestinian counterparts.

Regarding the issue of Palestinian prisoners detained in Israeli jails, the international participants stressed that Israel’s policy of dealing with political prisoners is illegal and unacceptable, urging it to release all prisoners through negotiations.

They expressed sorrow over the large of number of civilians killed during the latest Israeli aggression on Gaza, which claimed the lives of more than two thousand Palestinians, including women and children, “we wept when Israel slaughtered more than two thousand Gazans,’ stressing that Gaza must remain a top priority for the local and international bodies and urged Israel to lift its blockade.

Regarding the ongoing Israeli escalation in Jerusalem, the international representatives stressed that actions must be taken to stop the Israeli injustice committed against Palestinians living in Jerusalem, stressing that if the Israeli injustice continues, all the world countries will boycott Israel.

They stressed that the symbolic recognition of the state of Palestine undertaken in Europe and the rest of the world countries plays a significant role in motivating the world countries to find a solution to the Palestinian issue.

The conference was run under the auspices of the United Nations International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, under the title ‘Local Authorities at the Heart of Palestine’ and included discussions, consultations, and the signing of several cooperation agreements between Palestinian local authorities and representatives of international authorities from over 250 countries from across the world Continents.

Int’l Conf of Local Authorities in Solidarity with the Palestinian People Launches in Ramallah, Delegations’ Arrival Disrupted by Israel

By: Tala al-Rimawi

RAMALLAH, November 21, 2014 (WAFA) – The official launching of the International Conference of Local Authorities in Solidarity with the Palestinian People took place on Friday, gathering more than a hundred International, Arab and Islamic key figures who came to show support for the Palestinian struggle for freedom and an end to the Israeli occupation.

Head of the national committee for the commemoration of the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Mazen Ghnaim, thanked the delegations who braved the challenges of traveling to attend the conference despite of Israel’s strict measures, expressing his apologies for the hardships they underwent, either at the Israeli airport, Allenby crossing bridge with Jordan, or even at the Israeli checkpoints spread across the West Bank, stressing that this experience could give them a miniscule fraction of the daily suffering of the Palestinian people.

More than a 100 international figures were trapped at the Israeli airport and Allenby crossing bridge with Jordan and could not attend the meeting.

“Even though Israel has disrupted the entry of many internationals, the number of the ones who were able to attend is very large, which proves the extent of the solidarity given by the world countries to the Palestinian people.”

He said, “Your presence today to show solidarity with the Palestinian people proves the outright rejection of the Israeli occupations, their practices, and systematic embitterment.”

“the UN general assembly had chosen the year 2014 as a the year of solidarity with the Palestinian people, as if it quite knows what would happen in 2014; since the beginning of 2014 an Israeli escalation was witnessed across the Palestinian territory, down to the latest aggression on Gaza, and the recent escalation in Jerusalem, including Israel’s Sacrilege of al-Aqsa mosque,” said Ghaim.

The UN General Assembly declared 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on the 26th of November 2013.

The conference will tackle pressing Issues, including an overview on the everyday lived reality and challenges facing the Palestinian local authorities in light of Israeli occupations attempts to prevent the Palestinian government’s development process, mobilizing the widest international support and how to activate and utilize this support in the Palestinian call for freedom and right to self determination.

It will also discuss enabling the Palestinian local authorities to make use of the experiences of their international counterparts and create new horizons of cooperation with the worldwide local authorities.

The conference will also tackle issues related to the provision of services to the Palestinian people, directly benefiting from the past experiences of the international local authorities, which will have a positive impact on the economic development of Palestine, he said.

The current situation on the ground will also be discussed, including the fragmentation of the Palestinian Territory’s land, lack of Geographical contiguity, to enable local authorities in Palestine, who have through history endured the responsibility of providing services for the Palestinian people while living under the Israeli occupation.

Several other Palestinian and international key figures of local authorities spoke at the conference, emphasizing the importance of this event in supporting the Palestinian people’s struggle under occupation.

German Mayor: “There is no Well Being for the State of Israel without the Well Being of the Palestinian State”

By: Tala al-Rimawi

RAMALLAH, November 21, 2014 (WAFA) – Mayor of the German town of Jena, during the international conference held in Ramallah on Friday to show solidarity with the Palestinian people, said, “There is no well being for the state of Israel without the well being of the Palestinian state” and vise versa.

“We are here in the holy land, while the situation is not very holy, to encourage our Palestinian friends in their struggle for just and peace in their own state,’ said the German Mayor at the official start of the International Conference of Local Authorities in Solidarity with the Palestinian People held in Ramallah on Friday.

He said at the conference, titled “Local Authorities at the Heart of Palestine,” that there are a lot of challenges facing local authorities in Palestine under the Israeli occupation; the seizure of land, settlement expansion, and having no control over resources, including water and electricity, which he stressed are not very good conditions to help building up strong municipalities that can play a better role in the structure of a state.

He stressed that municipalities and local authorities play a very important and historical role as a pillar of establishing a Palestinian state.

He also said that Germany had a very high wall but ‘we’ overcame the wall, referring to Berlin wall, which he said proves that it’s possible to overcome all hardships.

Meanwhile, French official Rony John said addressing the participants at the conference, “you all have a key role to play; we want all ideas, creativity, and visions to support and develop new ways of improving the capacity of local governance in Palestine to better play their role.

He expressed hope that this conference will encourage local authorities worldwide to play a better role on the international scene as advocates for the Palestinian cause.

South African Mayor: ”We Need to Join Global Community in Search for Lasting Solution to Palestinian Question”

By: Tala al-Rimawi

RAMALLAH, November 21, 2014 (WAFA) – Mayor of the South African city of Johannesburg Mpho Parks emphasized his countries solidarity with the Palestinians people stressing that, ‘we have an obligation as a country and as people to work jointly in search of a lasting solution to the Palestinian question.

The Mayor addressed the delegates who gathered from over 250 worldwide countries to attend the International Conference of Local Authorities in Solidarity with the Palestinian People held in Ramallah on Friday, stressing that “We believe that not only do we have an obligation as a country recently liberated to those who continue to suffer from Prejudice, colonialism, and other forms of discrimination, but we also believe that as a country and as a people we need to join the global community in search for justice for all, for a just world, for international peace, for coexistence of people across the world, and most definitely in search for a lasting solution to the Palestinian question.”

“We south African local government has undertaken to insure that the agreements between our member municipalities and their counterparts in Palestine are agreements that must be driven by commitments to insure mutual benefit and lesson exchange between our respective cities,” Said Parks.

He also praised the significant role the local authorities play in Palestine, stressing that “We have no doubt that we also have much to gain in terms of expertise, experiences and lessons from Palestinian local authorities.”

He expressed his pleasure to welcome president Mahmoud Abbas’ visit to South Africa scheduled in the upcoming weeks; stressing that, “we believe that your visit will further enhance the work that various organizations are undergoing to create awareness on the plight of the Palestinian people.

The conference, run under the Auspices of UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, hosted over 250 Arab and international political figures, members of parliament, mayors and local authorities’ representatives, as well as experts in all different aspects, from across the world continents.

To be noted, a number of African delegates, who have no direct or diplomatic relations with Israel, experienced difficulties in obtaining entry permits from the Israeli side.

Year of Solidarity with Palestinians is Close to End and their Aspirations are not Fulfilled Yet, Says Serry

By: Tala al-Rimwai

RAMALLAH, November 21, 2014 (WAFA) – The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, said, “It is 2014 and the year of solidarity [with the Palestinian people] is close to a close; we must face the unfortunate and stark reality that we are marking the anniversary of an unfulfilled aspirations for the Palestinian people, aspirations that have gone unrealized for far too long.”

Speaking at the ‘International Conference of Local Authorities in Solidarity with the Palestinian People’, he said that “The journey has been long and the setbacks have been many but the collective call remains the same today as it did in 1947; the establishment of two states; Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace in security.”

The international year of solidarity with the Palestinian people was proclaimed by the United Nations last year to demonstrate the continued commitment of the international community to realize the legitimate aspiration of the Palestinian people for self determination and statehood.

“The year of solidarity has a number of important goals, including to promote solidarity with the Palestinian people, and to contribute to international awareness of obstacles to the ongoing political process, particularly those requiring urgent actions, such as settlements, Jerusalem, the blockade of Gaza, and the overall humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory,“ stressed Serry.

He added that another critical objective is to mobilize global action toward the achievement of a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the question of Palestine in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.

He quoted Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson in his remarks to the UN General Assembly’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, as saying “The coming year will be crucial to achieving the two-State solution…and I urge all in the international community to work together to translate the solidarity and desire for peace expressed on this occasion into positive action for security and for justice.”

He said that international actions in support of the Palestinian cause have gained renewed momentum; on Tuesday the Spanish parliament approved by a large majority a motion that calls upon their government to recognize the Palestinian state. Last month similar proposals were approached by the French and Irish parliaments, and in a week from now French lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the same issue, while the Swedish government went a step further by officially recognizing the state of Palestine on October 13.

“This proves that many governments are becoming increasingly impatient at the continued lack of real progress in achieving a two-state solution,” stressed Serry.

As I have warned, the repeated failure to establish a peace process has created a political vacuum that is bringing the two-state solution ever close to the door step, stressing that in the absence of negotiations to resolve the conflict it may transform into a religious conflict.

He expressed his deep concerns over the recent escalations in Jerusalem and the West Bank, stressing that the United Nations condemns all violence against civilians; during the five months alone some 500 hundred Palestinians, including women and children, were injured by the Israeli forces.

He also expressed grave concerns over the Israeli government’s punitive demolitions of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, which he stressed undermine efforts to calm the tensions.

“please rest assured that the Palestinians living Gaza, Jerusalem, or the West bank, and whether they are refuges or not the UN stands ready to support you and your government, lead by Abbas, in supporting your needs and to advance your right to live in a state of your own side by side in peace, and security with Israel.,” Kerry concluded.