Khalifa pledges solidarity with Palestinians

President Sheikh Khalifa has restated his support for Palestinians as the UN marks the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

ABU DHABI // The President, Sheikh Khalifa, has restated his support for Palestinians in “their just and legitimate struggle to end Israeli occupation of their homeland” in a letter to the United Nations.

The letter, which came as the UN marked its annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, was sent to Ambassador Abdou Salam Diallo, chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

In it, Sheikh Khalifa said: “Today, we in the United Arab Emirates renew our solidarity with and support for the Palestinian people and their just and legitimate struggle to end Israeli occupation of their homeland and to realise fully their inalienable national rights congruent with other nations of the world.”

The President praised the United States for trying to facilitate Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. He also praised the work of the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, his team and the work of the Middle East Quartet – the UN, the US, the European Union and Russia.

“We look forward to a more enhanced role for the Quartet, including the United Nations, in effectively supporting the efforts of the resumed Palestinian-Israeli negotiations to guarantee a comprehensive, just and timely resolution of final status issues, most importantly the issues of borders, Jerusalem and refugees.”

Sheikh Khalifa condemned the “negative and aggravating” actions of Israel, including the expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian land and the continued “unjust” imprisonment of Palestinians.

Earlier this month, during talks with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas, the French president Francois Hollande demanded a “complete halt” to Israeli settlement construction on land the Palestinians want for a future state.

Sheikh Khalifa called for continued international pressure on Israel to halt its settlement building.

“These activities are in grave and blatant violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and in turn threaten the political discourse as a whole, and impede peace efforts in the region,” he said.

Sheikh Khalifa said that he hoped a peaceful two-state resolution could be reached, in line with international law and the principals of the Arab Peace Initiative.

“We therefore demand the continued application of international pressure on Israel to halt its settlement activities, dismantle existing settlements, and to lift its illegal restrictions on the Palestinians, including ending the siege of the Gaza Strip, to avoid the collapse of the peace negotiations once again. We reaffirm our view that Israeli occupation of Palestinian land cannot continue. It is harmful to Palestinians and Israelis alike, and a threat to peace and security in the entire region.”

The letter concluded with a message of hope.

“We look forward to the declaration of an independent and viable Palestinian state in the near future with Al Quds Al Sharif – East Jerusalem – as its capital as the main condition to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict and achieving just, durable and peaceful resolution to the Middle East problem.

“We hope that donor countries and the international community in general will increase their support to the Palestinian Authority, its entities and its latest economic initiative, which aims to achieve economic growth and improve the welfare of the Palestinian people, and also support a successful outcome to the current political process.”