RAMALLAH, June 5, 2013 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that the Palestinian people will never give up their right to Jerusalem as the capital of their state in spite of all the Israeli measures intended to alter the character of the occupied city.
Abbas was speaking at the fourth annual conference on Jerusalem, which is held in Ramallah on the occasion of the Muslim holiday, al-Isra wa al-Miraj, the miraculous trip of Prophet Muhammad who travelled on his horse, al-Buraq, from Mecca to Jerusalem, and from there he ascended to heaven and back.
“This time 46 years ago, Jerusalem came under Israeli occupation,” said Abbas. “Israel started a process to change the geographic and demographic character of the holy city through the demolition of homes of Jerusalem residents, their systematic removal from their city and preventing them from building homes or their economy while building settlements and falsifying facts, names and characters.”
He said that Israel’s goal was to isolate the city from its Palestinian surroundings and empty it or reduce its Palestinian residents to create an Israeli majority in the city, describing this policy as “a blatant violation of international law and denial of Palestinian rights.”
He said that this Israeli policy is a reflection of an approach that is against peace and supports settlements, occupation and expansion.
Abbas said that in spite of all these years of occupation and Israeli policies, they did not affect the Palestinian people’s determination to keep Jerusalem as their eternal capital nor affected their will to fight or remain steadfast.
“There will be no peace without Jerusalem, no state without Jerusalem and no stability without Jerusalem,” he said, stressing that protecting and defending Jerusalem is not a Palestinian responsibility only, but also an Arab and Islamic one.
Abbas said that even though 65 years have passed since the “nakba” and 46 years since the Israeli occupation of the remainder of Palestine, “the Palestinian people have risen from under the ruins of the nakba and the remains of the defeat to redraw their political and historical map.”
He said that after becoming a non-member state in the United Nations and full member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), efforts will now be exerted on joining all UN organizations.
“These steps will be followed by others until we achieve our legitimate right to become full members in all the international organizations and establish our sovereign Palestinian state on all the occupied territory with Jerusalem as its capital so that we will put an end to the historical injustice against our people,” he said.
He also rejected a one-sided peace with Israel, which he described as surrender.
“One-sided peace is not real peace. It is surrender, which we will not accept or want,” he said.
Abbas saluted the prisoners whom he promised there will not be peace without their release from Israeli jails and called on Hamas to move forward on reconciliation through agreeing to elections.