Doha Conference – Abbas backs Emir’s proposal to go to UN for action against Israel

HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and (right) Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Omar at the opening of the International Conference on Jerusalem in Doha yesterday


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed his support to the proposal, presented yesterday by HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, to approach the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution for the formation of an international investigation committee to look into all the actions taken by Israel since the 1967 occupation of Arab Jerusalem with the aim of obliterating the Islamic and Arab landmarks.

Addressing the opening session of the Doha International Conference for the Defence of Al-Quds, here yesterday, President Mahmoud Abbas explained that the conference is being held at a very delicate stage, Al-Quds is facing challenges and dangers which cannot be ignored anymore.

Providing adequate answers to such challenges facing Al-Quds is a big responsibility which calls for adopting policies to ensure the preservation of its Arab and Christian-Muslim character, Abbas said.

Abbas also noted that the Israeli occupation authorities have accelerated their efforts to  obliterate the Arab and Christian-Muslim character of Jerusalem, in order to Judaise it.

The Palestinian president explained that the Israeli occupation authority’s attempts to achieve the ultimate goal of these plans in Jerusalem have three axes.

Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi arrives at the opening of the International Conference on Jerusalem in Doha yesterday

The first is that they are working to change the character and structure of Jerusalem, believing that they can remove the name of Al-Quds from the memory of the world.
In this context, Abbas said that Al-Quds is witnessing an unprecedented acceleration in construction of settlements, with a view to changing its architectural characteristics and its cultural roots.
Since the occupation authorities removed the Mughrabi neighbourhood after the 1967 war in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel is still demolishing Palestinian homes that carry historical symbolic such ‘Karm al Mufti’ and others, and building settlements in more than one site on lands confiscated from the citizens of the holy city, Abbas underlined.
He said Israel had put up  the “Apartheid Wall” and the settlements in order to isolate the city from its surroundings in the West Bank, and to prevent as well the communication between north and south of the West Bank.
The Palestinian president said the second axis of the plan of the Israeli occupation in the city of Jerusalem is completing the ethnic cleansing. Israel began implementing this scheme when the occupation began in 1967, forcing merchants, owners of business and the Palestinian citizens to leave their city through imposing high taxes associated with punitive measures.

Delegates of the Neturei Karta, Orthodox Jews opposed to Zionism visit a photo exhibition held on sidelines of the opening session of the International Conference for the Defence of Jerusalem in Doha yesterday

He emphasised that what is implemented by the Israeli occupation authorities is an ethnic cleansing against Palestinian citizens, to make them a minority in their city with resident status only.
The Palestinian President explained that the third axis is the Israel’s endeavour to impoverish the holy city, destroy its infrastructure and undermine its economic resources. He said Jerusalem has always been, through all ages in history, a centre of prosperity with thriving economic, medical, educational and tourism activity as well as embracing cultural, intellectual and artistic work in Palestine.
To achieve that end Israel closed the headquarters of many of the Palestinian institutions, like the East House, the headquarters of professional and workers’ trade unions, the Chamber of Commerce, which was founded in the 1930s before the Palestine ‘Nakba’ (exodus) and the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, Abbas said.
He said Israel also refused to grant licences to construct hospitals, universities, schools, hotels, apartments and shopping centres. The Jewish state has passed laws and taken measures to control the movement of foreign tourists to keep them away from the city’s hotels owned by Palestinians.
He pointed out that the most serious measure, apart from surrounding Jerusalem with a series of settlements in order to separate it from the rest of the West Bank, is the occupation authorities’ setting up permanent barriers since the 1990s, which prevent Palestinian citizens from entering Jerusalem whether for prayers, work, medical treatment, study, shopping or for visiting their relatives and  families without permits which are almost impossible to obtain.
The Palestinian president went on to say that these measures have led to what he called “the stopping of the flow of blood from arteries to the heart” because Jerusalem throughout its history had been receiving on  daily basis  tens of thousands of other Palestinian cities’ citizens, who used to flock to the holy places, markets, schools, hospitals and workshops.
He said the Israel’s aim is to rob Jerusalem of its historical and religious character. It wanted to wipe out its character as an avant-garde civilization and global centre. Its design aimed to reduce Jerusalem to an old and decrepit neighbourhood, deserted mosques and churches, empty markets and streets.
President Abbas underlined the need to support the steadfastness of Jerusalemites, the defenders of the holy city, stressing that they would challenge the grave circumstances facing them and would live in their city to protect Al-Aqsa mosque and the city’s churches.
The Palestinian president stressed the need to implement all plans and projects which aim to help save Jerusalem.
“To this end, we agreed with the Organization of Islamic Co-operation (OIC), which adopted the plans on Jerusalem, that we work together so that able Arab and Islamic countries could adopt one of the sectors needed to enhance the steadfastness of our people in Jerusalem such as health, education, housing, infrastructure, trade, economy, culture and religious sites”, Abbas said.
He said he had met the Secretary General of the OIC Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. “We have an agreement on the plan and mechanisms to implement this. Dr. Ihsanoglu will personally follow up the implementation of this plan which we hope would serve to strengthen the steadfastness of our people in Jerusalem,” he added.
Abbas lauded the document on Jerusalem announced by Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar days before the conclusion of the Cairo Jerusalem Conference for the clear vision it contained and for the plans and activities it proposed.
He said , “Any work we do is based on the centrality of Jerusalem for the Palestinian cause. Out of this comes our adherence to our principal position of not to resume negotiations as long as the occupation authorities do not fulfill their commitments to halt all settlement activity, particularly in Jerusalem”.
Abbas underscored the need to work on several axes, the first of which being that Jerusalem must be the core issue in the political and economic relations between the Arab and Muslim and rest of the world.
He also called for developing a unified plan of action with the different Christian churches which are concerned with preserving churches as places of worship rather than being tourist attractions “as there are tens of thousands of faithful Christian who perform pilgrimage to the Holy Land every year”
The other contentious issue was the so-called annexation of Jerusalem by Israel through a law enacted by them on June 27, 1976. “This law is null and void because Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine,” he said.
The second topic of discussions centered on strengthening the infrastructure of the community in Jerusalem by adopting projects to support institutions and other projects in the Holy City. “Towards this objective we can expand the scope of participation of entities by including NGOs as well as Arab and Islamic governments,” Abbas said.
“There are broad areas to build twinning relationships and partnership among similar institutions in various sectors like educational, economic, cultural and social. There are areas to make a qualitative difference through a series of small projects involving the maximum number of Arab citizens – Muslims and Christians”.
He said the third topic dealt with creating constant contact with the people of Jerusalem to break the siege imposed on them and on the holy city, pointing out to the leading role played by brethren in the areas of 48 who continuously organise mass visits to Jerusalem, praying in its mosques, shopping in its markets and helping its people feel that they are not alone.
“This area underscores the need to encourage all who can, especially brethren from Arab and Islamic countries as well as our fellow Arabs and Muslims and Christians in Europe and America to go to visit Jerusalem”, he said, adding that this move will have political, moral, economic and humanitarian repercussions on the city of Jerusalem and its people.
Later President Mahmoud Abbas and his accompanying delegation left Doha yesterday wrapping up a one-day visit to Qatar. He was seen off at Doha International Airport by HE the Minister of State Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Attiyah and Palestinian ambassador to Qatar Muneer Abdullah Ghannam.

Emir holds talks
with Mahmoud Abbas

HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his accompanying delegation at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, on the sidelines of the International Conference for the Defence of Jerusalem. Talks dealt with topics tabled on the conference’s agenda and the latest Palestinian developments.
The Emir also attended a luncheon banquet held in honour of heads of delegations participating in the International Conference for the Defence of Jerusalem.


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