The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, has called on the United Nations (UN) to set a time-frame to end Israel’s occupation of Gaza Strip.
The President made the call as part of activities marking the International Day of Solidarity for the Palestinian people in Abuja.
The International Day of Solidarity provides an opportunity for the international community to focus attention on the fact that the Palestinian people are yet to attain their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly.
President Abbas said it was high time the international community worked towards bringing an end to the lingering conflict between Israel and Palestine, which had deprived Palestinians their rights.
There had been efforts by the Security Council of the UN to bring an end to the conflict.
The conflict has been on territorial lines that existed before Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in 1967.
Abbas, who was represented by the Palestinian Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Saleh Fhied, further called on the international community to uphold its responsibilities by adopting Security Council resolutions to end settlement activities within the region.
“The Palestinian National Council declared its abidance by the rule of the rule of international law and the United Nations.
“We reiterate our commitment to agreements concluded with Israel since 1993 but this commitment must be reciprocal from the Israeli side.
“And Israel shouldrecognise the state of Palestine and work towards solving the final status issues and see to its settlement activities.
“As well as put an end to attacks on our cities, refugee camps and its policies of collective punishment and arrestand detention of thousands of Palestinians as prisoners in its soil.
“Israel is pursuing its occupation of East Jerusalem and its action to alter the identity and character of the city.
“ It is persisting in its attempts aimed at distorting the reality in order to mislead and intimidate the international community through its actions against the United Nations and its organs.
“Including UNESCO which is dedicated to protecting and preserving the cultural heritage in Jerusalem and the rest of the world. The essence of the conflict is purely political not religious,’’ he said.
The president pointed out that besides ensuring independence for the Palestinian people, finding a lasting solution to the conflict in the region would help to tackle challenges posed by extremist groups in the region.
“ Bringing about a solution to this conflict will help remove tactics used by extremists and terrorist groups, that is, contributing to spreading peace and security in the region for the sake of all its people.
“From our side, we continue to extend our hand in peace and call on the international community to provide international protection for our people.
“We also call on the states which have not done soto recognise the State of Palestine as an expression of their support for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.
“We hope that our efforts to achieve full membership of the State of Palestine in the United Nation will also receive your support.
“Our sincere gratitude to all the states that have recognised the State of Palestine and to all those who support the just Palestinian course through their votes in the United Nations and other international fora and many important resolutions in relation to question of Palestine.
“We also highly value their support for the efforts to achieve justice in our region and the world.
“We appreciate their solidarity and support to the Inalienable right of the Palestinian people and their legitimate national aspirations including achieving their freedom and independence and a lasting peace.
“The Security Council must uphold its obligations and ensure that Israel complies with united Nation’s resolutions.
“Israel has a long record of non-compliance and violation of all United Nations resolutions starting with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 which underscores the achievements of the two-state-solution,’’ he said.
President Abbas reiterated the determination of his government to protect the unity of the people as well as fight against any form of inhuman and unjust treatment of its people.
He expressed optimism that the year 2017, which marked the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the land of Palestine, would also be an international year to end Israeli occupation of the land.
He further expressed optimism that relevant stakeholders would intensify effort at ensuring that Palestinian people achieved independence and peace.
The president commended Nigeria for its support for the Palestinian people’s rights in their quest to achieve liberation and statehood.
He assured that the Palestinian Government would continue to work to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
In his remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, assured the Palestinian Government of the Federal Government’s continued support for the rights of its people to self-determination.
The Minister, who was represented by Amb. Mahmoud Suleiman said the country was in support of the United Nations’ resolution on the conflict.
“The Federal Republic of Nigeria, wishes to express its profound support for the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and establishment of a sovereign state.
“The commitment to stand solidly behind the peaceful resolution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine stems from the deep faith in the sanctity of man’s natural life of freedom and dignity.
`As a promoter of peace, Nigeria has always favoured peaceful end to the conflict in the MiddleEast.
“Consistent with this policy Nigeria supports the rights of the Palestinian people to an independent sovereign state.
“Within the framework of the United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 while also recognising the right of Israel to exist.
“The framework of the resolution is set out in UN resolution on the peaceful settlement on the question of Palestine which calls for a two state solution.
“Israel and Palestine existing side-by- side within secured borders.
“Nigeria believes that the conflict in the Middle East can be resolved. To this end Nigeria has supported various resolutions and declarations sponsored collectively as United Nations and its specialised agencies.
“In acknowledging the tremendous efforts of the agendas under the United Nations and the many countries that have extensively assisted in rendering humanitarian service to the Palestinian people, The Federal Republic of Nigeria takes this opportunity to call on the Palestinian authority and the Israeli Government.
“To dedicate themselves to finding a just and durable settlement to this conflict which has defied solution for too long,’’ he said.