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Political, civil society, religious leaders sign resolution supporting Palestine stand against Trump


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 29 December 2017 00:00


The Sri Lanka-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Association (SLPPFA) last week held a rally in support of the State of Palestine and opposing moves by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Titled ‘Respect World Opinion – Accept East Jerusalem as Capital of Palestine’, the event was organised by the Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine, Sri Lanka Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Association and the Sri Lanka Journalists for Global Justice. Participants included religious and civil society leaders, ministers and MPs from the UNP, SLFP, JVP, SLPF, TNA, SLMA, JHU, ACMC, CPSL, LSSP and representatives of FUTA, lawyers, artists and diplomats. 

A host of political and civil society leaders participated pledging their support. 

Those who addressed the rally included Imthiaz Bakeer Markar – Co-Chairman of SLCSP, Zuhair Hamdallah Dar Zaid – Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Sri Lanka, Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Tot, Apostolic Nuncio of the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See  (Vatican) to Sri Lanka, Mahinda Hattaka – Sri Lankan Journalists for Global Justice, Moulavi Nuhuman from ACJU, Swami Dhrashanan Kurukkal – Hindu Religious Leader, veteran Journalist Ameen Izzadeen, Una McCauley – United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, President of SLJGJ  Jayatilleke de Silva, Rajitha Senaratne MP, Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine and President of Sri Lanka-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Association, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna – Bimal Ratnayaka MP and Secretary of Sri Lanka-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Association, United National Party Mujeebur Rahman MP, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem MP, Minister of City Planning and Water Supply, Communist Party of Sri Lanka – General Secretary D.E.W. Gunasekera, Joint Opposition Vasudeva Nanayakkara MP, Bar Association of Sri Lanka BASL – President U.R. de Silva PC, Federation of University Teachers Association FUTA – Dr. Athulasiri Samarakoon, Lecturer, International Relations – OUSL, Venerable Dambara Amila Thero, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, All Ceylon Makkal Congress Leader Rishad Bathiudeen MP, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rashid Shafea Al Marri – Ambassador of State of Qatar the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Sri Lanka by Hesham Abu Thaha and Nanda Kalutantri – General Secretary, SLCSP.

Pledging Sri Lanka’s support to Palestine, SLPPFA President Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the country would always stand by the State, as it had in the past. “We are with Palestine through all difficulties,” he told the gathering.

The Minister also spoke of atrocities faced by the people of Palestine which he experienced first-hand during a visit earlier this year. “We saw the tragedy and devastation that had occurred in the county. We saw how Jewish settlements were encroaching on Palestinian land, and how Israeli soldiers were roaming the streets of Palestine. We observed how resources of the State were being plundered by Israel in partnership with multinational corporations,” he said.

The Minister further said that 25 members of the Palestine Parliament are in Israeli custody, making it difficult for the country to hold Parliamentary sessions. The people of Palestine are fighting the Israeli encroachment with weapons made domestically as all channels to import have been blocked by the Israeli Government, he said.

The SLPPFA also initiated the signing of a statement in support of Palestine and condemning the action of the US President.(See box story)

State of Palestine Ambassador to Sri Lanka Dr. Anwar H. Al Agha speaking at the event thanked Sri Lanka and other nations for standing by the country in their hour of need to vote against the US move. “We will never surrender,” he said defiantly.

Calling President Donald Trump “arrogant, rude and crude,” he said that he has been condemned by the entire world. Dr. Agha also said that the world has isolated the USA by voting against their decision.

Archbishop Pierre Nguyen Van Tot, Apostolic Nuncio of the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See (Vatican) to Sri Lanka read the Vatican statement which stated: “The Holy See is following closely the developments of the situation in the Middle East, with special reference to Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims all over the world. In expressing sorrow at the clashes that have claimed victims in recent days, the Holy Father renews his appeal to the wisdom and prudence of all and raises fervent prayers that the leaders of the nations, in this moment of particular gravity, undertake to avert a new spiral of violence, responding with words and deeds, to the yearning for peace, justice and security of the populations of that tormented land. Concerns about the prospects for peace in the region have been the subject of various initiatives in recent days, including urgent meetings convened by the Arab League and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation. The Holy See is sensitive to these concerns and, recalling the heartfelt words of Pope Francis, reiterates its well-known position regarding the singular character of the Holy City and the indispensability of respect for the status quo, in accordance with the deliberations of the international community and the repeated requests of the hierarchies of the Churches and of the Christian communities of the Holy Land. At the same time it reiterates its conviction that only a negotiated solution between Israelis and Palestinians can lead to a stable and lasting peace and ensure the peaceful coexistence of the two states within internationally recognised borders.”

Una McCauley – United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka read the UN Secretary General António Guterres’s message which stated: “From day one as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardise the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides. I understand the deep attachment that Jerusalem holds in the hearts of so many people.  It has been so for centuries and it will always be. In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: there is no alternative to the two-State solution.  There is no Plan B. It is only by realising the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine, and all final status issues resolved permanently through negotiations, that the legitimate aspirations of both peoples will be achieved. For my part as the United Nations Secretary-General, I will do everything in my power to support the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to return to meaningful negotiations and to realise this vision of a lasting peace for both people.”

Pix by Lasantha Kumara 

Resolution on East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine 

Representatives of the Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine (SLCSP), Sri Lanka-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Association (SL-PFA) and Sri Lankan Journalists for Global Justice (SLJGJ) and the peace-loving people of Sri Lanka are anxiously following the recent alarming developments regarding Jerusalem with a sense of urgency. In view of the violations and provocations against Jerusalem’s, legal, political and historic status and the rights and lawful national aspirations of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

The extremely regrettable declaration by the United States President Donald Trump, of America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and the US decision to move its embassy to the city, is in direct contravention of international human rights and humanitarian laws, a host of UN Security Council resolutions and longstanding international consensus on Jerusalem and a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution. The move will heighten tensions and there is a real risk of destabilisation of peace with far reaching consequences across the Middle Eastern region.

Standing within the ranks of other world leaders who have firmly condemned this move, we are emphatic in our rejection of this provocative decision by the US President. 

The global consensus on Jerusalem is clear and unambiguous. International law and the relevant Security Council resolutions including inter alia resolution 478 (1980) which rejected Israel’s attempts to forcibly annex East Jerusalem or take any action seeking to alter the character and status of Jerusalem as a violation of International Law and UNSCR 2334 (2016), must be upheld and respected. 

This change in policy is in direct violation of the US letter of assurances to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (1993) in which the US committed to not recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

As President Mahmoud Abbas noted, Donald Trump’s decision effectively disqualifies the United States from its role as mediator in the conflict and puts it squarely in the position of bias towards Israel and hostile against Palestinian rights and in direct contravention of international law. 

In light of these developments, we resolve to;

1) Call upon the President of the USA and his administration to declare that the status of Jerusalem cannot be unilaterally altered or determined by any one state and this decision by US must be rescinded.  

2) Call upon the United Nations, its Security Council and other agencies to take quick and effective measures to implement all resolutions regarding Palestine which call for two state solutions; and to take steps to ensure the safety and physical security of the Palestinian people; and to ensure their right to self-determination.

3) Call upon the Sri Lankan Government to disassociate itself unequivocally with the latest position of the United States on the status of Jerusalem and use its good offices to promote a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian issue to facilitate guarantees of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people while securing peace and security in the West Asia region. Since Sri Lanka has already recognised the State of Palestine, we also call on the government to recognise East Jerusalem as the Capital of Palestine.

4) Call upon the public, political parties and civic organisations in Sri Lanka to redouble their efforts in solidarity with the Palestinian people’s legitimate struggle for a homeland until their final victory. Recognise the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as the capital calling for peace, stability and prosperity.

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamour of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people,” Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

 


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