Syrian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Bashar al-Jaafari says the Damascus government supports the right of Palestinian people to self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.
Speaking at a ceremony on the occasion of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Jaafari underscored that Syria also backs Palestinian refugees' right to return to the homes from which they were displaced, as set forth in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 adopted on December 11, 1948.
He noted that Syria has always considered the Palestinian cause a matter of domestic issue, and spared no effort to resolve the Palestinian issue.
“The international community has so far failed to put an end to the Israeli occupation of Arab territories, and the Tel Aviv regime’s authorities have not been held to account for such a crime,” the senior Syrian diplomat pointed out.
For his part, Palestinian Ambassador to Syria Samir al-Rifai stressed the importance of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, and said the occasion points to the gross injustice and suffering that Palestinians have endured ever since the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which set out Britain’s aim to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.
The Balfour Declaration came in the form of a letter from Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community. It was published on November 2, 1917.
The declaration was made during World War I (1914-1918), and was included in the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.
It is widely seen as the precursor to the 1948 Palestinian Nakba, when Zionist armed paramilitary groups, who were trained and created to fight side by side with the British in World War II, forcibly expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.
Israel, which captured the territory in 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community, calls al-Quds its indivisible capital.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.