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Arab League calls for formation of independent Palestine state

The photo shows the Arab League summit in the Jordanian Dead Sea resort of Sweimeh on March 29, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The Arab League (AL) has called for the formation of a sovereign Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital, emphasizing the need for the resumption of stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks to that effect.

In a final declaration issued Wednesday at the end of their annual summit in Jordan, Arab League leaders called for Israel’s withdrawal from occupied territories and the formation of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders as the only way to achieve peace.

The Arab leaders denounced all Israeli efforts aimed at changing the legal and historical situation of holy Islamic and Christian sites in East Jerusalem al-Quds and called on the world countries not to relocate their embassies to al-Quds or recognize the city as the capital of Israel.

They were apparently referring to US President Donald Trump’s controversial plans to relocate Washington’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who attended the summit through video conference, voiced support for a so-called two-state solution as the “only path to ensure that Palestinians and Israelis” can live in peace.

Addressing the summit, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lashed out at Israel for undermining a two-state solution by “increasing settlement building and confiscation.” 

“Israel continues its schemes to take control of East Jerusalem, to change its identity and character and not to respect the historical status of the holy sites of Islam and Christianity. Israel uses excuses to justify the continuation of its occupation, such as the demand to recognize it as a Jewish state. How long will this occupation and desecration of our holy places continue?” Abbas said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas attends the Arab League summit in the Jordanian Dead Sea resort of Sweimeh on March 29, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Other Arab leaders speaking at the summit also called for concerted efforts to put an end to violation of Palestinians’ rights by the Israeli regime.

“We are required to jointly and seriously act to put pressure on the international community and the [UN] Security Council to reject the inception of an apartheid system in the 21st century,” Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said at the conference.

He underlined the need “to deal firmly with Israel to force it to stop building settlements, implement international legitimacy resolutions, end the continuous violations against the Palestinian people, and lift the unjust siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.”

The AL summit concluded as the Trump administration is reportedly considering hosting a conference that would bring together Persian Gulf Arab leaders and Israelis for the first time.

The proposed conference, which would convene most probably this summer, would bring together the Saudi leadership at the crown prince level, other Persian Gulf Arab leaders and their Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas.

Meanwhile, reports say that Arab world leaders were slated to meet in Washington in April and May to lay the groundwork for the conference.

The last round of the so-called peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians collapsed in April 2014. Tel Aviv’s settlement activities were among major reasons behind the failure of the talks.

Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law as they are built on the occupied territories.     

In February, Trump spoke of a “much bigger deal,” suggesting that he was ready to abandon decades of American policy in favor of a “two-state solution.”

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