Friday, October 30, 2020

Arab League leaders support Palestinian statehood and denounce US

By J.J. Rhies - April 03, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Golan Heights] [Statehood ] [Mahmoud Abbas]

During Sunday’s annual Arab League Summit, leaders denounced the United States’ declaration that the Golan Heights is Israeli territory and re-emphasised their support for a Palestinian state. 

Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said during the meeting that Saudi Arabia supported a Palestinian state with an East Jerusalem capital. Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi said the same of Tunisia. 

King Abdullah II of Jordan, the custodian of the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, pledged during talks to keep the holy site secure.  

When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the league, he sharply criticized the US for its role in the Israeli occupation. 

“Israel’s continuation of its racist policy, and the act of being a state above the law, would not have been possible without the support of the American administration,” Abbas said. 

But questions remain about whether Arab leaders would take policy measures to end the occupation or establish a Palestinian state.

Mahjoob Zweiri, a professor and Director of the Gulf Studies Centre at Qatar University, told Al Jazeera that the Arab League’s explicit support for Palestinian statehood was meant to distract onlookers from continual inter-Arab division and conflicts, and that the league will not take concrete action on behalf of Palestine. 

“There’s a certain attempt to bring the issue of Palestine back in an attempt to please the Arab public […]. The fact is the Arab League, for years and years, has done nothing to further the Palestinian question,” Zweiri said. 

US abets Israeli land grab 

On March 25, and with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by his side, US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation formally acknowledging Israeli control over the Golan Heights. 

“Israel has never had a better friend than you,” Netanyahu said shortly before Trump signed the declaration. 

“Your recognition [of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan] is a two-fold act of historic justice. Israel won the Golan Heights in a just war of self-defence, and the Jewish people’s roots in the Golan go back thousands of years.” 

After roundly rejecting Trump’s declaration, summit leaders said they would draft a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the US’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, and that they would bring the issue to the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

Israel expropriated the Golan Heights in 1967, at which time it was Syrian territory. The region is still widely recognized as Syria’s land.   

“We, the leaders of the Arab countries gathered in Tunisia […] express our rejection and condemnation of the United States decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan,” Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said at the summit. 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who also addressed the conference, said that any solution to the Syrian civil war must acknowledge the Golan Heights as Syrian territory.


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