PLO Executive Committee

Department of Culture and Information

July 9, 2014

In the past three days, 32 Palestinians have been killed and more than 200 Palestinian civilian injured

“We call on all members of the international community, particularly the United Nations, European Union and the United States, to act immediately to put an end to Israel’s deliberate targeting of the besieged Gaza Strip and its civilian population under occupation.”

“In the past three days, 32 Palestinians have been killed and more than 200 Palestinian civilian injuries have been reported.  These war crimes, particularly the extrajudicial executions and grave acts of collective punishment, being perpetuated by Israel in its most recent military campaign are undeniably condemnable, and Israel must be held to account for its deliberate violations of international law and international humanitarian law before it is too late. Israel has to stop cultivating a culture of hate and dehumanization of the Palestinian people and the devaluation of their lives and rights.”

 

 

Press Release – the 2nd of July 2014

The Minister of Foreign Affairs condemns in the strongest terms the monstrous kidnapping, torture, and set on fire the body of 16 year-old Mohamad Abu Khudeir at the hands of a terrorist militia of Israeli settlers this Wednesday in occupied Jerusalem. The Palestinian government holds the Israeli government responsible for this atrocious crime and the impunity with which Israeli terrorists assault Palestinian civilians and property.

The heinous crime against Mohamad Abu Khader is an extension of the escalating and unpunished crimes by terrorist Israeli militias, who have bullied and assaulted defenseless Palestinian civilians across the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem, in plain sight and under the protection of the Israeli occupation army. Less than twenty-four hours before Mohamed’s murder, Israeli terrorists kidnapped and assaulted 8 year-old Musa Zaloum in Jerusalem, who was thankfully saved by Palestinian civilians in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, 9 year-old Sanabel Al-Tous remains in critical condition after an Israeli settler ran her over and threw the little girl in a pit next to the side of the road to die.

The Israeli government illegally funds and subsidizes the transfer of its own population to occupied Palestinian territory including, groups and leaders who publicly advocate racism and violence against Palestinians. This government, which has dedicated its efforts and financial resources to investing in the illegal settlement enterprise and the hateful groups they host, must answer to this barbarity and be compelled to stop its sponsoring of this racist terrorism.

Throughout the past years of escalating settler terrorism, the Israeli government has consistently demonstrated its tacit approval of these crimes by failing to hold any of the perpetrators accountable. Furthermore, the illegal acts of Israeli occupation soldiers, including the cold-blooded murder of children, including, 17 year-old Nadim Nwarah and 16 year-old Mohammad Odeh, and most recently 15-year-old Mohammad Dudeen and 16-year-old Yousef Abu Zagha, provide settler terrorists with encouragement to commit crimes and murder with the full assurance of escaping accountability.

The Minister calls on all related international bodies, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate all crimes committed against our people and in particular our children, and publish their findings.

The international community, including the United Nations, now faces a clear and unequivocal test to its credibility and commitment to universal human rights. It must demonstrate, without embellishments, its outrage at these heinous crimes and its condemnation of those who fund, protect, and encourage these murderous gangs. They must demand for the perpetrators to be held accountable, including those inciting to violence. Additionally, the international community must list these groups on the list of terrorist organizations. Dr. Malki further asks the international community to provide protection to the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation, which has proved by deeds that it treats Palestinian lives as being of lesser worth. The world cannot and must not encourage it or follow its lead.

 

Dr. Saeb Erekat on new Israeli settlement construction: “Israel has been rewarded for its crimes, leaving Tel Aviv with no incentive to move for peace.”

Palestine Liberation Organization, Negotiations Affairs Department, June 27, 2013

Chief Palestinian negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat called upon the international community to hold Israel accountable for its systematic violations of international law. His call was made after Israel announced the construction of 69 new units at the illegal settlement of Jabal Abu Ghnem (Har Homa) in the Bethlehem district, a few days before Secretary Kerry’s visit to the region.

“Israel has a selected repertoire awaiting US officials, like what happened to Mr. Biden, which includes settlements, settlements and more settlements. It has played the same symphony since the signature of the Oslo Agreement in 1993 by almost tripling the number of settlers in 20 years, taking Palestinian land, lives and livelihoods in the process” said Dr. Erekat.

“Over the same 20 year period of accelerated settlement activity, forced displacement, ID revocations and home demolitions, Israel has signed several Free Trade Agreements, including an Association Agreement with the EU. In other words, Israel has been rewarded for its crimes, leaving Tel Aviv with no incentive to move for peace.”

Dr. Erekat continued “settlement construction in Jabal Abu Ghnem (Har Homa settlement) is aimed at completely sealing Occupied East Jerusalem from Bethlehem, with its countless political, cultural and economic consequences. Settlement activity in and around Occupied East Jerusalem is one of the main reasons why the two-state solution is disappearing, as without East Jerusalem there will be no Palestinian State.”

Dr. Erekat concluded: “The international community should understand that in order to create the right environment for negotiations it should not grant impunity to Israel over its repeated crimes and violations. On the contrary, accountability is the best incentive to realign negotiations with international law. This is the only path towards a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.”

 

WHAT IS NEEDED FOR THE RESUMPTION OF CREDIBLE NEGOTIATIONS?

Palestine Liberation Organization, Negotiations Affairs Department, June 26, 2013

In the coming days, President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman to talk about the stalled peace process. The Palestinian leadership has supported Secretary Kerry’s initiative and expressed, on several occasions, their confidence that Secretary Kerry’s intentions are genuine. Unfortunately,  the Israeli government continues with policies on the ground that contradict and prejudice the very outcome of negotiations, while Israeli officials and members of the ruling coalition have made a number of clear statements reaffirming that the Israeli government are not serious about the two-state solution, or a just and lasting peace.

The Palestinian position has been always consistent with the United States and the rest of the international community towards ending the conflict. Palestinians have fulfilled their obligations from prior agreements and thus have shown their commitment to credible negotiations.

Moreover, the PLO has done everything it can to further political process- beginning with the painful acceptance of a state over a mere 22% of historical Palestine and ending with the recent reaffirmation of the Arab Peace Initiative.

It is highly important to distinguish between negotiations as a process leading towards a defined end-goal and the negotiations process as an end goal in itself. Mr. Netanyahu’s  calls for the resumption of the negotiation process “without preconditions”, as he puts it, is an illogical statement- the “preconditions” to which he refers are actually necessary parameters in order to ensure the credibility of the negotiations process. Otherwise the process acts only as a smokescreen behind which Israel can continue its project of colonization within the occupied State of Palestine, in gross violation of international law and previous agreements.

“Look at the government: there was never a government discussion, resolution or vote about the two-state solution… if you bring it to a vote, you will see the majority of Likud ministers, along with the Jewish Home [party], will be against it.” Israel Deputy Defense Minister (Danny Danon) 

“The idea of a Palestinian state reached a dead end. There has never been so much time invested in something so pointless…We should build, build, build.” Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor and Minister of Religious Services (Naftali Bennett)  

Such declarations have been ratified by PM Netanyahu, both by repeatedly failing to take action against the statements issued by members of his government denouncing the two-state solution, and also by encouraging settlers to live illegally and continue living illegally in the Occupied State of Palestine. A few days before Secretary Kerry’s visit to the region, the Israeli PM visited a school in the settlement of Barkan, located in the Salfit district, several kilometers into the Occupied West Bank.

Meanwhile, Israeli Occupation Forces shut down the Palestinian National Theater, Al Hakawati, in Occupied East Jerusalem, preventing a children’s festival from taking place.

These provocative and oppressive actions form an integral part of the Israeli government’s agenda, an agenda which undermines Secretary Kerry’s efforts at every level and takes us further and further from a just and lasting solution to this conflict.

The formula for the resumption of meaningful negotiations 

  ·       The PLO is well aware that any eventual solution must be reached through a negotiated settlement and is committed to finding a just and lasting solution to this conflict. However it is vital, that this negotiated settlement be based on clear parameters, which includes the 1967 border as a starting point and the fulfillment of prior obligations

  ·        Resumption of negotiation requires a cessation of all settlement activities in the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem, as stated in the “Road map”. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that settlements constitute a war crime, it is simply illogical to expect negotiations to take place while Israel continues to destroy the prospect of the very solution that those negotiations are supposed to reach.

To resume negotiations, Israel must be committed to the same end-goal as Palestine and the rest of the world, the two-state solution on the 1967 border. Returning to negotiations without this basic premise would be an injustice to our people and to all those in the international community who have invested in resolving this conflict.

For further more information please refer to our recent factsheet titled:  Six Questions for Resuming Negotiations.

 

World Refugee Day

Palestine Liberation Organisation, Department of Culture and Information, June 19, 2013

On World Refugee Day, the United Nations is asking the world to honor and to support the millions of men, women and children who were forced to flee and had their lives torn apart by war.  As a people with one of the largest refugee populations, we, the Palestinians, welcome this annual moment of recognition and solidarity.

Sixty-five years ago, the Palestinian people suffered a grave historical injustice with the creation of the state of Israel on their land and the forcible dispossession and expulsion of 750,000 indigenous Palestinians; this is known as “al-Nakba,” the catastrophe.

This process of victimization, exclusion and oppression continues until this day— Israel persists in its violations of international law and human rights, acting with impunity and enjoying full immunity.  The military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza that began in 1967 is an added form of oppression manifesting itself in the cruel captivity of the people and their land and resources.

It stands to reason that any attempt at achieving peace and a resolution to the Palestinian refugee crisis must be based on a historical redemption of this basic injustice, and it must adopt a comprehensive approach in resolving the root causes as well as the ongoing inequities that have allowed for the perpetuation of Palestinian victimization and Israeli exceptionalism.

The refugee question must be resolved in a multi-tiered approach.  First, the Palestinian narrative of dispossession, expulsion and exile, with all the suffering entailed must be recognized and acknowledged.  Israel is called upon to admit its culpability, and hence its responsibility for the rectification of such an injustice at the human, moral, political, and legal levels.

Second, the rights of the Palestinian refugees as enshrined in international law and particularly in UN Resolution 194 and in the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees must be recognized and safeguarded.  Israel’s preconditioning of any solution on the negation of this right is not only unjust and illegal, but it constitutes a way of aborting any solution.  Israel must not be given an exemption from adhering to universally-recognized legal and moral standards, and the Palestinians must not be exempt from the protection of such standards.

Third, Palestinian refugees’ right to choose must be safeguarded in addressing the refugee issue.  All options and permutations must be clearly made available once the aforementioned steps are fulfilled.

It must be stressed that any solution must be comprehensive, integrated and implemented within a binding timeline and with international supervision and guarantees.  If the power asymmetry continues to be incorporated into the political process, then inevitably the solution will lack legitimacy and permanence.  Ultimately, addressing and redressing this imbalance by guaranteeing the Palestinians parity and equality of rights before international law and by guaranteeing their freedom, dignity and right to self-determination would be the essential requisites for a just solution.  The Palestine case is not a question of a disputed narrative, rights or territory; it remains an issue of indisputable justice and humanity.

We call on all members of the international community to challenge Israel and to hold it accountable for its portrayal of our people’s loss as anything other than a violent mass expulsion and for the creation and continuation of the tragic refugee situation. As stipulated in international and humanitarian law, the Palestinian people, whether under occupation or in exile, are entitled to nothing less than their independence, dignity, self-determination, and a just resolution of their tragic plight.

 

Dr. Saeb Erekat: “The Israeli government has officially declared the death of the two-state solution”

Palestine Liberation Organization, Negotiations Affairs Department, June 17, 2013

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat called upon the international community to “face reality” and understand the “real plans of the Israeli government to destroy the two-state solution.”

“Within the past few days, several high-ranking Israeli officials, from the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Religious Affairs, have made clear statements regarding their position to actively work against the internationally endorsed two-state solution on the 1967 border. These are not isolated events but a reaffirmation of political platforms and radical beliefs. Israel has officially declared the death of the two-state solution.”

“Such statements are matched by policies that PM Netanyahu is pushing on the ground, including aggressive settlement activity, home demolitions, evictions and ID revocations. This is part of Israel’s plan to destroy any possibility for a Palestinian State, by annexing and changing the status quo of Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and other vast areas of the Occupied State of Palestine.”

Dr. Erekat continued: “The Israeli government is determined to make Kerry efforts fail. PM Netanyahu’s empty calls for negotiations are exposed on the ground by Israel’s destructive policies. The Israeli government is prepared to wage a Public Relations campaign, but it is not serious about peace. For the Israeli government plans to consolidate its occupation and negate Palestinian rights, Kerry’s efforts are an obstacle rather than an opportunity.”

Dr. Erekat concluded by impressing upon the international community that: “Israeli statements and actions are consistent and clear: Israel is declaring the end of the two-state solution. The international community’s reaction should not be a call to ‘resume negotiations’; it should be clear action in order to push Israel to implement previous agreements and adhere to international law. There is a new urgency to face reality and finally hold Israel accountable for destroying the prospects of justice and peace.”

During the first quarter of 2013, the Israeli government increased settlement construction by 335% compared to the last quarter of 2012.

 

Dr. Ashrawi on recent Israeli officials’ remarks

Palestine Liberation Organization, Department of Culture and Information, June 16, 2013

PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi strongly denounced recent statements by Israeli officials in which Deputy Minister of Defense Danny Danon made ludicrous claims that there would never be a Palestinian state, whether U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited or not and that Palestinians will be governed by Jordan, and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon rejected the Arab Peace Initiative and called it a spin:

“Such statements from Israeli officials, in addition to Israel’s actions on the ground, are the essence of the nature of this government and a clear negative response to Kerry’s initiatives.  It is time for the international community, particularly the U.S., to cease its policy of ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ when it comes to Israel and to deal with reality when it comes to the deceptive mirage created by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s manipulative spin.”

Dr. Ashrawi added, “Neither the state of Palestine or its people are the property of Israel.  Israel has no right to turn Palestinians into settlers on their own land or hand them over to Jordan, as it has no right to violate Jordanian sovereignty and national identity.”

“Given this overwhelming evidence of Israel’s verbal and actual rejection of the two-state solution and hence of peace, it is imperative that the U.S. and the international community as a whole start dealing with reality rather than fiction,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.

 

Dr. Ashrawi Meets with the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation

PLO Executive Committee, Department of Culture and Information, June 11, 2013

Today PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi met with the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson and Consul General Axel Wernhoff, as well as representatives from the Ministry and the Swedish General Consulate in a political briefing.  They discussed the latest political developments in Palestine as well as issues of mutual concern with Sweden.

In the meeting, Dr. Ashrawi stressed, “This extreme, hardline, racist Israeli government is persistently in breach of international and humanitarian law with its system of direct control and apartheid that violates Palestinian human rights and confiscates our land and resources.  Yet, there have been no serious American or international efforts to curb Israel’s policies of occupation and enslavement.”

“Undoubtedly, we are witnessing the end of the two-state solution and Palestinian institution and nation-building.  Thus, it is of the utmost urgency for Europe and members of the international community to undertake bold initiatives and concrete measures to counter Israel’s impunity and hold Israel accountable,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.

Fadwa and Qassam Barghouti, the wife and son of imprisoned Palestinian political leader Marwan Barghouti, also joined the meeting and presented an account on Israeli measures pertaining to the Palestinian prisoners’ situation, the abduction and arrest of Palestinian MPs and women’s issues.  They stressed the need to release all Palestinian political prisoners and emphasized that it is more urgent than ever to hold Israel liable for its violations of international and humanitarian law.

Dr. Ashrawi answered questions on Palestinian reconciliation and efforts to approach multinational agencies and organizations. The meeting also stressed popular nonviolent resistance and continued Palestinian-European coordination and cooperation.  She thanked the delegation for Sweden’s long-standing support of Palestinian human rights and the upgrading of the Palestinian representative office in Sweden to the status of embassy.  Moreover, Dr. Ashrawi expressed her hope that Sweden will recognize the State of Palestine in the near future.

 

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi Serves on TAKREEM Jury Board

TAKREEM Jury Board Reunion, Paris, June 7, 2013

Following a thorough examination of the finalists’ files, TAKREEM Jury Board convened in Paris to agree on the laureates in the following fields: Humanitarian and Civic Services, Environmental Development and Sustainability, Scientific and Technological Achievement, Innovation in Education, Cultural Excellence, Arab Woman of the Year Award, Young Entrepreneurship, Outstanding Corporate Leadership and Exceptional International Contribution to Arab Society.

The announcement of the laureates will take place during TAKREEM Awards Ceremony to be held in November 2013.

The Jury Board this year included HE Sheikha Mai Al Khalifa, HE Shaikha Paula Al Sabah, HE Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, Dr. Nouha AlHegelan, HE Mr. André Azoulay, HE Dr. Lakhdar Brahimi, Prof. Alain Carpentier, HE Dr. Mohamed Mansour, Mr. Carlos Ghosn, Mr. Marc Levy, HE Dr. Leila Sharaf, and Mr. Raja Sidawi.

This meeting was chaired by the former U.S. Ambassador in Lebanon, HE Dr. Vincent Battle.

The Jury Board Reunion was then followed by a dinner at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand, Salon Opera.

TAKREEM initiative was granted the active and valuable support of the following supporting partners: o Consolidated Contracting Company (CCC) o Renault-Nissan Alliance o Salam International Investment Ltd. o Alsumaria o TOTAL SA o Chopard o Projacs

Founded by renowned media figure, Ricardo Karam, TAKREEM is an initiative committed to shaping a clear perception of Arabs broadly and to inspiring both present and future generations to contribute actively to advancement in all fields.

 

Dr. Ashrawi on the 46th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of twenty-two percent of historical Palestine

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Department of Culture and Information, June 4, 2013

PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, strongly condemned the Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to allow an Israeli construction company to move forward with the construction of 700 new housing units in the illegal settlement of Alei Zahav:

“With the continuation of its military occupation of Palestine and policies of colonialization and apartheid, Israel is sending a direct message to the world that it is in clear defiance of the will of the international community.  Rather than complying with international law and conventions and supporting efforts to salvage the political process, Israel is building more settlements, ethnically cleansing Palestinians areas, particularly in and around Jerusalem, and demolishing Palestinian homes.”

On the occasion of the 46th anniversary after the Israeli occupation of twenty-two percent of historical Palestine, Dr. Ashrawi said:

“Forty-six years later, the Israeli occupation of twenty-two percent of historical Palestine still constitutes a humanitarian and political disaster that dominates and controls the lives of the Palestinian people in Palestine and in exile.  However, it must be stressed that the Palestinian people will never accept another Nakba; our struggle will continue until we acquire our legitimate right to self-determination and witness the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

“The time has come to end the historical injustice of the Palestinian people.  The world must shoulder its political, legal and ethical responsibilities and hold Israel accountable for its violations of international and humanitarian law.  Granting Palestinians their right to statehood and ending the occupation are conditions for achieving peace in the region and beyond.  A need for justice and historical redemption in Palestine is more urgent now than ever,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.

 

Dr. Ashrawi on the 23rd Human Rights Council Opening Address

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Department of Culture and Information, May 28, 2013

In response to yesterday’s opening statement at the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said:

“We welcome High Commissioner Pillay’s opening statement at the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council, her concern for ‘the widespread detention of Palestinians – nearly 5,000 of whom are currently detained by Israel, many without charges,’ and the condemnation of Israel’s continued illegal settlement campaign which is “a blatant violation of international law.’”

Dr. Ashrawi stressed, “In light of Israel’s most recent escalation of settlement activities and the rise of settler violence, particularly in and around Jerusalem, and the increase in home demolitions and the displacement of Palestinians, we call on the United Nations, European Union, the United States, and other members of the international community to bring Israel to compliance with international law and agreements and to curb Israeli violations, as well as to hold Israel accountable for its deliberate breach of international and humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

“Now is the time for the international community to stand up to Israel and salvage the chances for peace and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital before it is too late,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.

 

Dr. Ashrawi Receives Letter from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Department of Culture and Information, May 20, 2013

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee member, received a letter from Navanethem Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on May 13.  The letter was in response to correspondences that Dr. Ashrawi had sent to the High Commissioner in March and April that discussed the tragic deaths of Arafat Jaradat and Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh while in Israeli prisons, and Israel’s deliberate neglect of the medical conditions of Palestinian prisoners.  They also stressed that Israel and the international community comply with the Geneva Conventions and establish an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the circumstances surrounding Arafat and Abu Hamdiyeh’s deaths, respectively, and other cases of Palestinian political prisoners who have died in Israeli prisons.

In the letter, the High Commissioner discussed several issues in reference to the points Dr. Ashrawi had raised, and she stressed the United Nations’ principled positions regarding matters of relevance and concern, including the dire situation of Palestinian detainees and the need for a prompt and impartial investigation of Jaradat’s death, among other issues.

In response, Dr. Ashrawi welcomed the letter and “called on the United Nations and members of the international community tobring Israel to end its ill-treatment of Palestinians in Israeli custody and to take urgent action and adopt the necessary and punitive measures required to hold the State of Israel accountable for its willful violations of international and humanitarian law that includes the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Dr. Ashrawi Issues Clarification Regarding Press Release Dated May 19, 2013

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Department of Culture and Information, May 19, 2013

Yesterday, PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi made press statements pertaining to U.S. pressure on the European Union to delay a decision to label products from illegal settlements until the end of June.

It has come to our attention that the information on which these comments were based is not true.  Therefore, Dr. Ashrawi wishes to clear up any misunderstanding related to these comments and is happy to set the record straight that there has been no change in EU positions and no American attempts to seek a delay in the labeling of illegal settlement products.

Dr. Ashrawi on the EU’s decision to delay the labeling of illegal settlement products

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Department of Culture and Information, May 19, 2013

PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi strongly condemned the European Union’s decision to delay the labeling of products from illegal settlements until the end of June as a result of pressure from American Secretary of State, John Kerry:

“This once again brings into question the American role in negotiations as a credible mediator.  Rather than providing Israel with immunity, the Obama administration should act responsibly and promote prospects for a just peace and Palestinian self-determination and freedom.”

“We call on the European Union to reassess its reported postponement of plans.  In fact, the EU should go beyond labeling settler products and impose a serious ban on them and enforce the human rights compliance provisions of the EU-Israel Association agreement.  The U.S. has used the so-called peace process as an instrument of Israeli impunity; it is about time to end such a policy,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.

 

Dr. Ashrawi on Israeli Plans to Legalize Illegal Settler ‘Outposts’

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Negotiations Affairs Department, May 16, 2013

In response to Israel’s most recent unilateral violations of international law, including plans to legalize settler ‘outposts,’ and the increase in settler violence against the Palestinian people and their resources, PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said:

“Such an announcement to legalize four settler outposts in the territory of the State of Palestine (that were supposed to be demolished in 2003) shows the truth of an ongoing Israeli policy to create facts on the ground.  It preempts the Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to the region next week, and makes a mockery at any attempt to launch viable negotiations. These actions send a clear message to both the Obama administration and to the Palestinian people that Israel is committed more to land theft than to peacemaking.”

Dr. Ashrawi added: “The PLO also strongly denounces the repeated intrusions and attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque by extremist groups under the protection of the Israeli Army and Police.  This constitutes a deliberate provocation to Muslims everywhere and threatens to unleash a religious conflict of dangerous proportions.  Furthermore, the danger inherent in the settler violence is becoming increasingly visible in the reign of terror by settlers attacking innocent Palestinians, particularly in remote villages and rural areas, and their deliberate destruction of property and the uprooting of trees.  It is evident that such patterns of behavior threaten to plunge the entire region into instability and violence and undermine global security.”

“Such violations make it more imperative that Palestine accedes to international agreements and conventions to protect our rights and to join international agencies and organizations to ensure multilateral protection for Palestine and judicial accountability for Israel. We call on the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and members of the international community to undertake their responsibility in curbing Israeli deliberate violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.  Israel must be held accountable with bold measures and initiatives before any and all chances for peace and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state are destroyed,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.

 

Adnan Husseini:  “While gangs of settlers terrorize Palestinian families all over the city, Occupation forces arrest Mufti of Jerusalem”

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Negotiations Affairs Department, May 8, 2013

Referring to Israel’s arrest of the highest Muslim religious authority in Palestine this morning, Jerusalem’s Governor Adnan-Ghaleb Husseini stated: “The Palestinian leadership denounces Israel’s illegal detention of the Mufti of Jerusalem and PalestineMohammad Hussein, and calls for his immediate release.”

“We hold Israel fully accountable for this new act of aggression. This provocative arrest takes place at a time when Israeli occupation forces are protecting gangs of extremist settlers, who are terrorizing Palestinian families all over Occupied East Jerusalem while celebrating their illegal occupation.” Today, Israeli settlers, backed by the government, celebrate their so-called “Jerusalem Day,” marking Israel’s occupation of Palestine’s capital.

Mr. Husseini continued: “Just a few days after Israeli occupation forces repressed and physically assaulted Palestinian Christians, including priests, preventing them from celebrating the important occasion of Holy Fire Saturday, Israeli occupation forces arrest the highest Muslim authority in the city. These actions form part of a wider plan to turn our occupied capital into an exclusively Jewish city.”

The Governor called upon the international community to “take concrete action”.  “Words are simply not enough,” he said. “The impunity granted to Israel allows it to act without consequence. The Israeli government’s belligerent actions are fueling extremism and systematically destroying the social fabric of the Palestinian people, principally in Occupied East Jerusalem. ”

Dr. Erekat: “What we need are actions and not words. We monitor Israeli activities on the ground on a daily basis.”

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Negotiations Affairs Department, May 7, 2013

Referring to news reports talking about an Israeli “settlement moratorium,” Chief Palestinian negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat said:

“Israel has a clear obligation under international law to immediately cease all settlement activity. We have not been notified of any changes to Israel’s colonial plans, including ongoing construction in dozens of Israeli settlements in the Occupied State of Palestine, including in and around our occupied capital East Jerusalem.”.

Dr. Saeb Erekat: “The Arab delegation presented the official Palestinian position”

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Negotiations Affairs Department, April 30, 2013

Commenting on the statement delivered by the Arab League delegation to Washington regarding possible swaps of territory between the State of Palestine and the State of Israel, Chief Palestinian Negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat said: “This is not something new. The Arab delegation presented the official Palestinian position: Upon Israel’s unequivocal acceptance of the two-state solution on the 1967 border, the State of Palestine as a sovereign country might consider minor agreed border modifications equal in size and quality, in the same geographic area, and that do not harm Palestinian interests.”

Dr. Erekat added: “The Arab League delegation ratified the Arab Peace Initiative, which has been endorsed by 57 Arab and Muslim countries. It provides of a comprehensive regional solution based on Israeli implementation of international law in exchange for full normalization with the rest of the region. Israeli rejection of this initiative shows once again that the Israeli government lacks of a peace plan. Rather, it is fully engaged in further colonization and attacks against Palestinian rights and regional stability.”

Hanna Amireh: Even praying has become an act of resistance

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Negotiations Affairs Department, April 30, 2013

Member of the PLO Executive Committee and Head of the Presidential Committee on Church Affairs Hanna Amireh strongly condemned Israeli repression against Palestinians and diplomats during the celebration of Holy Fire Saturday in Occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.

“It is not only that Israel has isolated our occupied capital from the rest of our country – forcing our people to apply for special military permits to access their families and holy places for religious occasions – but even Palestinians from Jerusalem were beaten when trying to reach the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.”

A tour through of the Old City organized by Palestinian Christian organizations with foreign diplomats and Jerusalem’s governor Mr. Adnan Husseini was interrupted by Israeli Occupation Forces that prevented the group from entering Jerusalem’s Old City. “The Israeli forces turned a religious occasion in to a battle camp scenario.” Mr. Amireh said “This is part of Israel’s plan to turn Jerusalem into an exclusive Jewish city. Palestinian Christians and Muslims face countless difficulties in order to reach their holy sites and conduct their celebrations, while Jews from anywhere are allowed to freely pray at their holy places. Even praying has become an act of resistance for Palestinians.”

Mr. Amireh concluded: “It is time for the international community to take real action. What was witnessed in Jerusalem was an attempt to cancel a tradition of 700 years. The Israeli government is doing everything possible in order to achieve its goal of changing Jerusalem’s landscape,  by building more settlements, demolishing more Palestinian homes, revoking more IDs and by attempting to prevent the normal celebration of Christian and Muslim religious events.”

Dr. Saeb Erekat: “The Israeli government has approved a racist law attempting to distort the Palestinian social fabric”

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Negotiations Affairs Department, April 14, 2013

Chief Palestinian Negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat strongly criticized today an Israeli government decision to extend a provision under its Citizenship law, banning mainly Palestinians from reunifying their families in Occupied East Jerusalem and within the State of Israel.

“What the Israeli government has approved is a racist law attempting to distort the Palestinian social fabric and force the displacement of Palestinian families. Thousands of Palestinian children have been separated from their parents as a result of this law. Israel not only wants to control Palestinian freedom of movement and steal land and natural resources through its colonial settlement enterprise, but seeks to control the very right of our people to choose and establish a family.”

Dr. Erekat called upon the international community to “seriously examine the pattern of Israeli policies contributing to a situation of apartheid and to look into the wider effects and implications of the Israeli government’s precondition of being recognized as a Jewish State.”

Dr Erakat condemns the recent raid on the Al-Aqsa compound by Israeli settlers

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Negotiations Affairs Department, March 28, 2013

Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr Saeb Erekat, condemned Israeli official incitement and attacks against Occupied East Jerusalem, and particularly the latest Israeli raids of settlers and occupation forces on the Al-Aqsa compound.

“We’ve witnessed this before, and we know what the consequences are. The entering of Al-Aqsa compound by a settler official and Knesset Member like Mr. Feiglin, in coordination with Israeli Occupation Forces, is a violation of the sanctity of the place as well as a direct provocation against Palestine, the Arab- and Muslim world.”

“At a time when the international community is calling on Israel to respect the sanctity of the holy places, Israel is deliberately attacking Palestinian Christians and Muslims in Occupied East Jerusalem. Israel provides security in the form of the army, police and mercenaries to escort settlers who systematically attack Christian and Muslim shrines in the occupied Palestinian capital.” Dr Erekat said.

Dr Erekat added: “The invasion of Al-Aqsa compound occurs at the same time as thousands of Palestinian Christians are being barred from accessing their holy sites in East Jerusalem. This is a vivid example of Israel’s disrespect for freedom of worship and the Palestinian presence in Occupied East Jerusalem.

Dr. Erekat concluded: “Those who have been attacked while praying at Al-Aqsa or when trying to reach the Church of the Holy Sepulcher continue to ask whether the international community will end Israel’s impunity or not. We have continuously highlighted the dangerous consequences of Israel’s official and systematic incitement of attacks against Palestinians. It is time for the international community to take effective action on the ground in order to end decades of injustice, occupation and suppression of Palestinian rights.”

 

Dr. Ashrawi on the adoption by the UNHRC of four resolutions regarding the situation in the Occupied State of Palestine

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Department of Culture and Information, March 26, 2013

On 19 March 2013, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), in its 22nd session, voted nearly unanimously to adopt four texts regarding the situation in the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem.

In relevant part, the texts warned that ongoing Israeli violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, particularly as regards the illegal settlement enterprise, constituted ‘a major obstacle to the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace and to the creation of an independent, viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State’. They demanded that Israel respect international human rights and humanitarian law and comply with its legal obligations thereunder. They condemned ‘all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction’; and called upon Israel to implement serious measures to prevent and punish acts of violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians and properties in the Occupied State, including East Jerusalem. They demanded that ‘Israel, the occupying power, cease all practices and actions that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people, including the killing and injury of civilians, the arbitrary detention and imprisonment of civilians and the destruction and confiscation of civilian property’. They demanded that all parties concerned implement and ensure the implementation of the all of the recommendations found in the Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission to Investigate the Implications of Israeli settlements on the Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and urged their assistance in the early realization of ‘the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity, and to establish their sovereign, independent, democratic and viable contiguous State’.

Only the United States voted against any of the four texts, and it voted against them all.

In response, PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said:

“On behalf of the Palestinian people and leadership, I would like to express great appreciation and gratitude to the Council Members who stood up for human rights, peace, and justice in the Occupied State of Palestine. We appreciate your support and value your courage to stand behind your convictions.”

Dr. Ashrawi stressed, “In this context, the United States once again demonstrated a total disregard for Palestinian rights and the requirements of peace. In this 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, it willfully voted against the fundamental human rights of people and against the very core values upon which the United States claims to be founded.”

“The United States, ostensibly a champion of ‘liberty and justice for all’, voted against freedom and democracy, and for racism, oppression and apartheid.  It voted against justice, and for impunity, in the face of the most egregious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.  It voted against peace. There can be no justification for this double standard.”

“Rather than respecting human rights and the rule of law, the United States has chosen to politicize them, and to continue to isolate itself with its unwavering support for the illegal policies and practices of the Israeli occupation.”

“It is therefore incumbent upon the international community to stand strong and united in upholding the rule of law and the established principles and values that govern the international system and individual states,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.

 

Dr. Ashrawi on access to Occupied East Jerusalem during Holy Week 

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Department of Culture and Information, March 24, 2013

On the holy occasion of Palm Sunday and beginning of the Holy Week in Jerusalem, PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, spoke of her outrage at the increasing denial of entry to Jerusalem for Palestinian Christians.

Early reports indicate that Palestinian Christian communities from the northern West Bank had to cancel their celebrations in Jerusalem due to a lack of Israeli-issued permits. Several scout groups are also unable to participate in the celebrations for the same reason. Parishes from the Bethlehem and Ramallah areas received between 30% and 40% of the permits they requested from the occupation authorities.  Since occupying East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has forcibly denied millions of Palestinians and Arabs the right to access East Jerusalem, issuing limited numbers of permits for some holy events.

Dr. Ashrawi expressed deep frustration at the worsening of the situation this year: “This is a religious and national occasion, a time for collective worship and celebration. The fact that so many Palestinian Christian communities are denied their simple human right to worship freely in their own capital city is unacceptable.”

“There should not even be a question of needing permits to visit one’s own city,” she continued. “East Jerusalem is the occupied capital of the Palestinian people and freedom of worship is a basic human right for all of our Christian and Muslim citizens; a right which is being systematically and increasingly denied by a foreign occupying force.”

Dr. Ashrawi concluded by calling upon those who are able to be in Jerusalem for Palm Sunday, especially “dearly welcomed pilgrims and tourists from outside of Palestine” to “represent their Christian brothers and sisters who live only a few kilometers away, and who are cruelly denied the opportunity to partake in this important occasion.”

 

Dr. Ashrawi Receives Letter from European High Representative for Foreign Affairs  and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Department of Culture and Information, March 12, 2013

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee member, received a letter from  Catherine Ashton, European High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security  Policy on March 6.  The letter was in response to a correspondence that Dr. Ashrawi  sent the High Representative in December which discussed Israel’s latest violations  of international law which constitute a continuation of a preexisting Israeli policy to  intensify and escalate settlement activity and land theft.

In the letter, the High Representative discussed several initiatives in reference to the  points Dr. Ashrawi raised and stressed that she will “follow up on the effective  implementation of all commitments and decisions taken by the EUand its Member  States.”  She also stated that“the Union is now actively engaged in the process of  ensuring that – in line with international law –all agreements between the State of  Israel and the European Union must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their  inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, namely the Golan  Heights, the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The European  Union and its Member States have also reiterated their commitment to ensure the  continued, full and effective implementation of existing European Union legislation  and bilateral agreements applicable to settlement products.”

In response, Dr. Ashrawi welcomed the letter and “called on the EU and its member  states to force Israel to end its illegal occupation of Palestine and to employ tangible measures and concrete steps to guarantee accountability in order to prevent Israel  from plunging the whole region into volatility and violence.”

 

Norwegian Human Rights Activist Venke Aarethun Awarded with Honorary Palestinian Citizenship

Palestinian Liberation Organization, Department of Culture and Information, March 3, 2013

Today, Norwegian human rights activist, Venke Aarethun, was awarded with Honorary Palestinian Citizenship at the Palestinian Presidential Compound in Ramallah.  This award, which was granted by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, honors Ms. Aarethun who has dedicated her life to the Palestinian cause and people.

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee member, who was present at the ceremony said, “Venke Aarethun has bravely advocated on behalf of the Palestinian people since the 1980s when she volunteered in Sabra and Shatila and other Palestinian refugee camps situated in South Lebanon.  As a tireless ambassador of Palestine for almost thirty years, Ms. Aarethun travels frequently to Palestine and Lebanon to work on human rights projects, cultural and artistic exchanges and medical relief initiatives, respectively, in coordination with various organizations.”

“I have rarely met a person with her drive, dedication, and total devotion to Palestine, and who has had such an impact.  We the Palestinian people recognize those brave individuals like Venke Aarethun who have dedicated their lives to make real the promise of a free Palestine and a more just and peaceful world,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.

 

Dr. Ashrawi on the European Union’s Nonbiding Heads of Mission Report

PLO Executive Committee, Department of Culture and Information, February 27, 2013

In response to the European Union’s nonbinding Heads of Mission report for 2012, PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said:

“We welcome the European Union’s Heads of Mission report for 2012 that recommends imposing sanctions on bodies and organizations involved in the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territory.”

“With Israel’s most recent escalation of settlement activities in and around Jerusalem, the rise of settler violence and Israeli violations of international law and Palestinian rights, it is of utmost urgency for European countries to follow this courageous assessment with concrete and tangible steps and with punitive measures,” stressed Dr. Ashrawi.

“Therefore, we call on the European Union, whether as individual countries or collectively, to stand up to Israel and implement bold initiatives that demand European divestment from settlements and settlement products.  Israel’s settlement campaign is the single most significant threat to the two-state solution, and now is the time to exercise the political will that is required to hold Israel accountable before any and all chances for peace are destroyed,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.

 

Palestine Cabinet Meeting Statement (43) Held occupation authorities responsible for the death of detainee Arafat Jaradat Cabinet warns of the serious consequences due to the escalated attacks by the occupation army and settlers  

Office of the Prime Minister, February 26, 2013

During its weekly meeting in Ramallah, headed by Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad, the Cabinet held Israel responsible for the death of the detainee Arafat Jaradat during his detention and interrogation at Al-Jalama prison inside Israel. The Cabinet asserted that in all circumstances, the occupation government can’t be exempt from the responsibility over his death, especially since the circumstances of his martyrdom cannot be separated from the fact that they occurred during his detention and interrogation in occupation prison inside Israel, which is in itself a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In the same context, the Cabinet affirmed that the report submitted by the Director of the Palestinian Forensic Institute, Dr. Saber Al-Aloul, who participated in the autopsy of the martyr points to the invalidity of the account presented by occupation authorities about the circumstances of the death of the martyr Jaradat. In this regard, the Cabinet called on relevant international organizations to launch an investigation into the circumstances that led to Jaradat’s martyrdom.

The Cabinet considered that this tragic incident must compel the international community and all human right organizations to assume their political, legal and moral responsibilities and oblige Israel to the rules of international law in this regard, including the need to subject Israeli prisons to the supervision of international human rights organizations so that they are able to monitor what is happening inside these prisons, especially in the interrogation cells, as well as the type of health care provided to ill prisoners. The Cabinet also asserted the need to compel Israel to immediately resolve the issue of prisoners, especially those on hunger strike and patients, in addition to addressing the need to release all prisoners, especially the children, administrative detainees, veteran prisoners and members of the Legislative Council. Additionally, the Cabinet reaffirmed the need to implement the resolution adopted by the World Health Organization a year ago on forming a fact-finding committee to investigate the health conditions of prisoners, especially in the light of the policy of medical negligence prisoners suffer from.

In the same context, the Cabinet commended the popular events organized in solidarity with the prisoners and their demands, particularly their right to freedom and the need for the release of the prisoners on hunger strike, prisoners suffering from illness, children, women prisoners, veteran prisoners and members of the Legislative Council. The Cabinet also affirmed that the growing international awareness of the issue of prisoners will lead to the success of on-going government efforts to take significant steps towards the internationalization of the issue and guaranteeing that Israel is made to comply with international law and relevant conventions as well as release all prisoners.

The Cabinet also condemned the escalation of Israeli violations against Palestinian citizens and their properties in the West Bank, particularly in East Jerusalem, including most recently allowing settlers to raid the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound, holding the Israeli government responsible for the deterioration instigated by these provocative actions. The Cabinet also equally condemned the use of live fire by occupation forces against protestors, which has caused several grave injuries in Nablus, Ramallah, and Bethlehem, in addition to dozens of injuries by rubber-coated steel bullets and teargas inhalation. Furthermore, the Cabinet denounced the demolition of a home by occupation forces northwest of Jerusalem, the destruction of a power grid in Qisra south of Nablus as well as handing out 4 demolition orders east of Nablus, in addition to cutting down olive trees, burning cars and building an outpost in Nablus by settlers. The Cabinet considered that these violations clearly reflect the occupation government’s persistence in targeting the basic elements of life for our people in light of the continued absence of international accountability for Israel over these attacks and clear violations of international law.

On a different topic, the Cabinet renewed its assertion of its respect for the right to carry out union work freely, including the right to strike in accordance with the law and policies that regulate this right. The Cabinet also called for respecting the interests of citizens and their need to receive basic services, especially in education and health sectors, and reminded of these services’ crucial importance to the protection of the social fabric and society’s ability to remain steadfast in the face of Israeli policy, reasserting the need to take all measures to protect the institutions of the state from paralysis and chaos and in a way that ensures that the government’s ability to meet its obligations towards citizens is not harmed. The Cabinet also pointed out the grave damage these strikes cause  to the rights of our children and the entire educational process, as well as the health conditions of citizens.

In this regard, and given the government’s commitment to improve working conditions for teachers and the education profession, the Cabinet reaffirmed that the demands of the teachers and other sectors of public service will be taken into consideration in the context of the ongoing efforts to reform the public service law and bylaws, which is set to conclude in three months. The Cabinet also reaffirmed its standing commitment to continue constructive dialogue on all levels, as it has always been maintained at all times and in all circumstances, reminding of the two collective bargaining agreements that were reached in 2010 and 2011 in the health and education sectors. The Cabinet also expressed its conviction that the government has acquired through its implementation of said agreements, must provide for a basis of trust in the government’s commitment to begin implementation of the outcome of the amended civil service law starting 1 September 2013 and in line with the maximum that available financial resources allow.

 

 

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi on President Obama’s visit to Palestine: “For any American initiative to succeed, it should lead to urgent, substantive and serious action that will end the Israeli occupation”  

PLO Executive Committee, Department of Culture and Information, February 6, 2013

Speaking after the announcement of President Obama’s visit to Palestine and Israel in March, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, member of the PLO Executive Committee, said: “We welcome President Obama’s visit, if it signals an American promise to become an honest and impartial peace broker.  The U.S. can play this positive role by engaging in an effective and constructive manner rather than by repeating the same policy of negotiations for their own sake.”

Dr. Ashrawi added: “Such an engagement requires decisive curbs on Israeli violations and unilateral measures, particularly settlement activity and the annexation of Jerusalem, as well as its siege and fragmentation policies. It also requires the implementation of all prior agreements and a clear commitment to international law, human rights and multilateral participation. Any initiative must have defined objectives and a binding timeframe. This must happen before Israel succeeds in finally destroying the two-state solution and hence the chances of peace.”

“Maintaining Israel’s impunity and sense of exceptionalism, while denying the Palestinian people’s rights to sovereignty, freedom and dignity, has been lethal to any meaningful pursuit of a viable and just peace. We therefore expect that this visit will rectify the failures of the past, demonstrate a newfound political will, and lead to urgent, substantive and serious action that will bring the Israeli occupation of the State of Palestine to an end,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.

 

Dr. Ashrawi on the arrests of Palestinian lawmakers

PLO Executive Committee, Department of Culture and Information, February 4, 2013

Today, PLO Executive Committee member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi strongly condemned the recent arrests of Palestinian lawmakers:

“Israel is deliberately breaching international law and conventions relating to the immunity of democratically elected Palestinian officials.  It is apparent the Israeli government is implementing a policy of intimidation and power politics to meddle in Palestinian domestic affairs and to undermine reconciliation efforts.”

“With such arbitrary arrests, Israel has violated international law and the most basic norms of human rights.  Israel is not above the law. Therefore, we call on all parliaments – Arab, European and international – to hold Israel accountable and to ensure the release of Palestinian lawmakers.  It is high time the international community put an end to Israel’s impunity and its illegal occupation of Palestine and the Palestinian people,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.

 

Dr. Ashrawi on Israel’s refusal to attend UN Human Rights Council meeting

PLO Executive Committee, Department of Culture and Information, January 30, 2013

Today, PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi called on the international community to hold Israel accountable for refusing to attend its Universal Periodic Review conducted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), which was scheduled to take place yesterday, January 29:

“Israel’s refusal to attend the HRC review is reprehensible and constitutes an egregious violation of international and humanitarian law, as well as a deliberate insult to this international body.”

“In postponing the review until October, the HRC is setting a dangerous precedent by allowing Israel to flout the will of the international community and get away with its illegal policies and measures that violate the basic human rights of the Palestinian people.”

“We call on the HRC to shoulder its responsibility to promote and protect the ‘universal ideals of human dignity’ and hold Israel accountable for its blatant disregard for international law.  Israel is not above the law and it should not be rewarded for repeatedly slighting members of the international community.”

 

Dr. Ashrawi on establishment of new Palestinian village of “Bab Al Shams”: “This initiative is a highly creative and legitimate non-violent tool to protect our land from Israeli colonial plans”

PLO Executive Committee, Department of Culture and Information, January 11, 2013

PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi welcomed the initiative to establish a new Palestinian village in the area where Israel plans to expand the Ma’ale Adumin settlement. “Bab al Shams” (Gate of the Sun) was established today by hundreds of Palestinians and international supporters, including the rightful owners of the land, popular committees, youth groups and other civil society organizations.

“This initiative is a highly creative and legitimate non-violent tool to protect our land from Israeli colonial plans. We have the right to live anywhere in our State, and we call upon the international community, to support such initiatives, as well as to protect those who are being threatened by Israeli occupation forces for exercising their right to peaceful resistance against the illegal Israeli occupation.”

Dr. Ashrawi congratulated the organizers: “This is collective effort initiated by civil society, including youth, social, and political organizations, who came together to support the right of the owners of the land to make use of it as they see fit. We fully support and encourage non-violent popular resistance against the Israeli occupation throughout the State of Palestine.”

To conclude, Dr. Ashrawi highlighted the fact that “what this great initiative demonstrates, are the serious hardships that Palestinians face, just to live on their own land. Those who have challenged the occupation forces are being threatened simply for trying to peacefully make use of the land belonging to the occupied State of Palestine. What is happening at Bab Al Shams is reminder of the apartheid regime that Israel has imposed for the exclusive use of land for Jewish Israeli settlers all over Palestine.”

 

Dr. Ashrawi: “The European role is essential in bringing an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine and Israel’s stepped-up illegal settlement campaign before it is too late”

PLO Executive Committee, Department of Culture and Information, January 8, 2013

PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, yesterday met with the European Union Representative to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and UNRWA, John Gatt-Rutter at the PLO headquarters in Ramallah.  During the meeting they discussed the latest political developments in Palestine as well as issues of mutual concern.

Dr. Ashrawi stressed the importance of the European role in supporting the two-state solution and in bringing about an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine and Israel’s stepped-up illegal settlement campaign before it is too late.  They discussed ideas to that effect and steps relevant to Palestine in its accession to UN charters and conventions and Palestine joining UN agencies and organizations.

In addition, Dr. Ashrawi met with a Canadian delegation representing the National Democratic Party: “Despite Canada’s official position in support of Israel and a negative vote in the UN, we will not give up on Canada.  We believe what is required is an even-handed approach in support of a just peace consistent with international and humanitarian law.”

Dr. Ashrawi also addressed a delegation from Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia) on Sunday, and she answered questions on Palestine achieving non-member state status in the United Nations, the US role and the need of urgent action to prevent further deterioration and instability, as well as internal Palestinian issues and regional developments.

 

Dr. Erekat on Israeli Eviction Order and Confiscation of Land in Occupied East Jerusalem

Palestine Liberation Organization, Negotiations Affairs Department, December 30, 2012

PLO Executive Committee Member and Chief Palestinian Negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat strongly called upon the international community to prevent Israel from evicting a new Palestinian family from Occupied East Jerusalem.

“Tonight, another Palestinian family from Sheikh Jarrah in Occupied East Jerusalem will be expecting to be evicted from the home they have inhabited for decades. The Shamasneh family – made up of10 members including two elderly and three children, are victims of the cruel behaviour of the Israeli occupation aimed at ethnically cleansing the city of its Palestinian inhabitants.”

Dr. Erekat continued “similar to settlement construction, home demolitions and ID revocations, the Israeli policy of home evictions is a tool being used to push Palestinian Christians and Muslims outside their capital. Such policies against an occupied population are nothing short of War Crimes under international law, and so the international community must recognize and acknowledge this.”

Dr. Erekat concluded that “the Israeli government have demonstrated no commitment or inclination to achieving peace, but only to continuous violations of international law and displacement of Palestinians. We hold Israel accountable for any consequences to their illegal actions and we call upon the international community to end the culture of impunity for Israel and treating Israel as a state above international law.”

Hundreds of Palestinian families are being threatened with evictions from their homes by extremist Israeli groups, fully supported by the Israeli government. In the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah alone, four homes have been evicted of their Palestinian inhabitants, being replaced by extremist settlers implanted in the middle of a Palestinian neighborhood. Israeli eviction policies in Sheikh Jarrah affect around 2500 Palestinians.

Dr. Erekat also referred to the latest developments in Beit Iksa, also within the Jerusalem Governorate, where last Friday Israeli Occupation Forces issued confiscation orders for 456 dunums of agricultural land for the construction of the Illegal Israeli Wall. “Israel is trying to suffocate our people to force them to leave. This is a new violation of the International Court of Justice opinion on the illegality of the Israeli Wall and the call made upon to Israel to dismantle it and compensate Palestinians,” said Dr. Erekat. “For peace to prevail, Israel’s impunity must end” Dr. Erekat concluded.

 

Presidential Christmas Message to the Christian World from Palestine

Office of the President, December 19, 2012

“In Bethlehem, we resist oppression with love, we defy oppression with pride; we build the institutions of our state and develop our infrastructure despite the occupation’s machinery of destruction”

If you take a look around Bethlehem, one is bound to be shocked by the choking reality this city has been forced to endure. Surrounded by 22 Israeli settlements and extremist settlers, its land shrunk to a mere 13% of its original size because of the encroaching reality of Israeli unilateralism; For first time in 2000 years of Christianity in our homeland, the Holy Cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem have been completely separated by Israeli settlements and racist walls and checkpoints.

Bethlehem’s landscape, heritage and social fabric are besieged and under threat. Yet, Bethlehem shall remain, as it has remainedfor over 2000 years, a city that emanates hope and peace to humanity. Because Bethlehem’s identity as the birthplace of Christ is not just a matter of history and faith; it is an identity and heritage Palestine is proud to have.

We celebrate Bethlehem, a city where world heritage sites abound and where the will to live in pride and dignity has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Our daily reality under a brutal occupation tests our faith in humanity every day. But we overcome, always. That is why Bethlehem is a success story of whichPalestine is deeply proud. For despite the apartheid regime of the colonial wall, illegal settlements, and oppression, the citizens of Bethlehem continue to persevere.

In Bethlehem, we resist oppression with love, we defy oppression with pride; we build the institutions of our state and develop our infrastructure despite the occupation’s machinery of destruction. With hope and unshakable faith in our rights to national freedom and prosperity, we unmask the ugliness of racism and humiliation through life, prayers, and art.

Perhaps there is no brighter example of the power of hope and faith than that of the non-violent mobilization of BeitJala residents, who continue to resist Israel’s campaign of land confiscation and wall construction in their town, which now threatens the Cremisan area. Every Friday afternoon they conduct prayers amidst the same olive trees that Israel plans to confiscate to build the illegal Wall; trees that have been harvested for centuries by 58 Palestinian Christian families. And every Friday, the number of people from across Palestine and beyond attending this prayer grows, their message of hope and strength resonating beyond the confines of Israel’s wall regime. I call upon all of you, to listen to their prayers and help stop yet another impending injustice.

This year will be remembered as the year that Palestine was recognized as a State with overwhelming support. We are presenting the world with a moment of truth: our continuing bid for freedom and for full UN membership is an opportunity for the international community to do right by Palestine and grant it its long overdue right to a future of freedom and prosperity. The world has long pledged support for the two-state solution. We went to the world, represented by the UN, to translate this pledge into a reality.

With hope, we have preserved our homeland and rights from crushing defeat by the might of a military occupation that denies us our most basic rights. With your support, we can save the two-state solution and build for a better future, where hope can finally bloom into prosperity – not just preserve a nation’s identity. Here, I would like to thank the 133 countries that took the courageous step of recognizing the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders. To them I say, you have stood on the right side of history, by taking a step that vindicates justice and protects peace. We call upon the rest of the world to follow suit and bring peace close to realization.

Ladies and gentlemen, Christians from all over the world and distinguished pilgrims visiting our country. When you enter Bethlehem you enter either through the Wall or Israeli military checkpoint.

Those who have lived the Bethlehem experience have been welcomed, as always, by the hospitality of our people. Many of you have supported this community through your invaluable assistance and cooperation. And because we value your investment in Bethlehem’s future, we call on you all to invest in peace and take the necessary courageous political action; with your help, we can ensure that next Christmas, we can be free from the bitterness of a life shackled by injustice and oppression. For next Christmas, Palestine wishes to experience the timeless message of Love, Justice, and Peace that the Prince of Peace brought to Palestine and humanity more than 2000 years ago, not just hope for its realization.

 

Dr. Ashrawi Urges the European Union to Hold Israel Accountable

PLO Executive Committee, Department of Culture and Information, July 24, 2012

On the occasion of today’s EU-Israel Association Council’s meeting in Brussels, PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, said, “We call on the EU to reconsider its relations with Israel as an occupying power, and to revoke any preferential treatment Israel receives in view of that country’s willful and persistent violations of its agreements and obligations. Israel must be brought into compliance with Article 2 of the Euro-Mediterranean agreement, which conditions Israel’s membership on respect for human rights and democratic principles, and Article 83, which precludes applicability to all the occupied territories and therefore excludes settlement products. This meeting is also the proper time to uphold the conclusions of the EU Foreign Affairs Council’s May 14th report, which reaffirms the commitment of EU member states to adhere to existing legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to Israel’s illegal settlements and economic activities beyond the June 4 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem.”

Dr. Ashrawi explained, “While, ostensibly, the EU is not upgrading its political relationship with Israel, it is significantly expanding cooperation between government agencies and within business sectors that are part of the existing Action Plan in order to maximize Israel’s benefit. Doing so essentially separates issues of international law and principles from issues of trade and economy, allowing the EU to ignore Israel’s ongoing violations and unilateral measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Dr. Ashrawi added, “in addition to the other forty-nine sectors, the EU’s decision to allow Israel to expand co-operation in the Agreement on Conformity, Assessment, and Acceptance of industrial products (ACAA) pertaining to generic drugs, offers Israel a tremendous economic advantage and further complicates monitoring of certain settlement products.”

“The EU-Israel Association Council meeting is an opportunity for the EU to ensure that it renders any type of economic relationship with Israel contingent on that country’s compliance with its international obligations. Rather than rewarding Israel by giving it preferential treatment, the EU should use its economic influence to end Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. As the market for 60% of Israel’s exports, the EU has the ability to prevent Israel from destroying the chances for peace. All it needs is the political will,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.

 

Dr. Erekat: “The international community must pay its historic debt to the Palestinian people”

By The Palestinian Liberation Organisation, May 15

Marking Al-Nakba, Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat called upon the international community to “pay its historic debt to the Palestinian people.”

May 15 marks over six decades of the Palestinian catastrophe (Nakba), which saw the forced expulsion of almost 70% of the Palestinian people and the destruction of over 400 Palestinian villages.

“Sixty-four years ago, a nation’s thriving society and rich culture was forced into exile and mass expulsion. A country was wiped out off the map. Today, the international community has the moral responsibility to repair what has been done by putting an end to Israel’s impunity and realizing the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to self-determination, independence, and return, in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions,” said Erekat.

Dr. Erekat added, “Al-Nakba is a somber occasion that the international community must use to right the historical injustice that befell the Palestinian people. During the past sixty-four years, Israel has violated dozens of United Nations resolutions that recognize and support the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and return. This continued violation has made a mockery of the international system and threatened international peace.”

Dr. Erekat also called upon Israel to recognize Al Nakba and Palestinian rights: “Today, Eleven million Palestinians around the world remember the loss and injustice of that dark era while reaffirming their commitment to ending their exile and oppression. We honor our rich history on the land while persevering in our march towards freedom. If Israel is truly interested in peace and a two-state solution, it should recognize the rights and the suffering of our people.”

The chief negotiator concluded by welcoming the European Union’s statement on the Middle East peace process, noting,

“It is a step in the right direction that clearly shows what we all see on the ground: That Israel has been doing everything possible to destroy the prospects for a two-state solution and to render attempts at reaching a just and agreed settlement to the conflict meaningless. We call on the EU to protect its investment in peace and its vision for a two-state solution by exerting every effort within its power to end the Israeli occupation.

 

Special Statistical Bulletin on the 64th Anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba

By Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics

The Nakba: Ethnic cleansing and displacement of the population Nakba in literary terms means a natural catastrophe such as an earthquake, volcano, or hurricane. However, the Nakba in Palestine describes a process of ethnic cleansing in which an unarmed nation has been destroyed and its population displaced to be replaced systematically by another nation. Unlike a natural catastrophe, the Palestinian Nakba was the result of a man-made military plan with the agreement of other states, leading to a major tragedy for the Palestinian people. The subsequent occupation of the remaining land of Palestine in 1967 resulted in additional tragedy.   In 1948, 1.4 million Palestinians lived in 1,300 Palestinian towns and villages. More than 800,000 of the population were driven out of their homeland to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, neighboring Arab countries, and other countries of the world. Thousands of Palestinians were displaced from their homes but stayed within the Israeli-controlled 1948 territory. According to documentary evidence, the Israelis controlled 774 towns and villages and destroyed 531 Palestinian towns and villages during the Nakba. The atrocities of Israeli forces also included more than 70 massacres in which 15,000 Palestinians were killed.

The Demographic Reality: Palestinian population has increased 8-fold since the Nakba The Palestinian population was 1.37 million in 1948 but by the end of 2011, the estimated world population of Palestinians totaled 11.2 million. This indicates that the number of Palestinians worldwide has multiplied eight-fold in the 64 years since the Nakba. According to statistics, the total number of Palestinians living in historic Palestine (between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean) by the end of 2011 was 5.6 million and this number is expected to rise to 7.2 million by the end of 2020 based on current growth rates.

Statistical data also show that refugees constitute 44.1% of the total Palestinian population in the Palestinian Territory. UNRWA records at the end of 2011 showed that there were 5.1 million Palestinian refugees registered, constituting 45.6% of the total Palestinian population worldwide. These were distributed as 59.1% living in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, 17.1% in the West Bank, and 23.8% in Gaza Strip. About 29% of Palestinian registered refugees live in 58 refugee camps, of which 10 are in Jordan, nine in Syria, 12 in Lebanon, 19 in the West Bank, and eight in Gaza Strip.

These estimates represent the minimum number of Palestinian refugees, given the presence of non- registered refugees. These estimates also do not include Palestinians who were displaced between 1949 and the 1967 war, according to the UNRWA definition, and do not include the non-refugees who left or were forced to leave as a result of the war in 1967. The number of Palestinians who remained in their homeland in the 1948 territory after the Nakba was estimated at 154 thousand persons, now estimated as 1.37 million on the 64rd anniversary of the Nakba.  In the 1948 territories, the sex ratio                       is 102.2 males per 100 females, while 37.5% of the population are below 15 years of age and 3.9% are aged 65 years and over, based on available statistics relating to Palestinians living in Israel in 2010. This illustrates that the composition of Palestinians in the 1948 territory is young, as it is in Palestinian society as a whole.

The number of the Palestinians in the Palestinian Territory was estimated at 4.2 million at the end of 2011: 2.6 million in the West Bank and 1.6 million in Gaza Strip. The number of Palestinians in the Jerusalem governorate at end of 2011 was around 393 thousand, of whom 62.1% live in the areas of Jerusalem annexed by force by Israel in 1967 (J1).  The fertility rate in the Palestinian Territory is high compared to other countries. The total fertility rate in 2010 was 4.1 births (3.8 births in the West Bank and 4.9 births in Gaza Strip).

Population Density: Gaza Strip the most crowded place in the world The population density in the Palestinian Territory at the end of 2011 was 703 individuals per square kilometer (km2): 462 individuals/km2 in the West Bank and 4,429 individuals/km2 in Gaza Strip. In Israel, the population density of Arabs and Jews in 2011 was 362 individuals per km2.

Settlements: Most settlers in Jerusalem as part of Israeli Judaization campaign There were 474 Israeli settlements and military bases in the West Bank at the end of 2011 and the number Jewish settlers totaled 518,974 at the end of 2010. Most settlements are located in the Jerusalem governorate. According to data, 262,493 (50.6%) of settlers live in the Jerusalem governorate, of whom 196,178 live in Jerusalem (J1). The ratio of Palestinians to settlers in the West Bank is 20 settlers per 100 Palestinians compared to 68 settlers per 100 Palestinians in the Jerusalem governorate.   The Expansion and Annexation wall swallows about 13% of West Bank area Large areas of West Bank land were confiscated by the Israeli occupation authorities to construct the Expansion and Annexation wall.  The Wall is 757 kilometers in length, of which 92% are inside the West Bank. According to this route, 733 km2 of Palestinian land were isolated between the Wall and the Green Line in 2010, comprising approximately 13.0% of the West Bank: around 348 km2 were agricultural land, 110 km2 were confiscated for Israeli settlements and military bases, 250 km2 were forest and open areas, and 25 km2 were on Palestinian built-up land. The Wall isolated 53 localities and affected over three hundred thousand people, particularly communities in Jerusalem where 27 localities affected are home to a quarter of a million people. Moreover, the Wall besieges 165 localities with a population of more than half a million inhabitants, as witnessed around the city of Qalqilya. The Jordan Valley makes up 29% of the West Bank; Israel controls approximately 90% of the Jordan Valley. Fewer than 65 thousand Palestinians remain there today while there are 9,500 Israeli settlers.

Historical Palestine: Israel controls more than 85% of its land At the end of 2011, there were 11.7 million people living in the historical land of Palestine with a land area of 27,000 km2. Jews constitute around 52% of the total population and utilize more than 85% of the total area of land. Arabs comprise 48% of the total population and utilize less than 15% of the land. A Palestinian therefore has less than a quarter of the area of land available to an Israeli.

Water: Realities and challenges The amount of Purchased water from Israeli water company (mekarot) 51 MCM in 2010  for Domestic use, which  constitutes 15% from a yearly available amount of water, due to the over control of Israel on available water resources and  resale it to the Palestinian with higher prices.

Martyrs: Continuous efforts to build a state The number of martyrs killed in the al Aqsa Intifada between September 29th, 2000 and December 31st, 2011 was 7,460, up from 7,235 at the end of 2009. Of these, 2,183 were from the West Bank (2,059 males and 124 females) and 5,015 were from Gaza Strip (4,601 males and 414 females).  The remaining martyrs were from the 1948 territories and outside the Palestinian Territory. The bloodiest year was 2009 with 1,219 Palestinian martyrs, followed by 2002 with 1,192 martyrs. In addition, 107 martyrs, including nine from a Turkish humanitarian fleet, were killed during 2010.

Detainees According to data from the Ministry of Detainees, around 800 thousand people have been in Israeli detention since 1967.  Of these, around 12 thousand were women, plus many children, some of whom were detained several times. At present, around 4,610 detainees are under arrest in Israeli prisons, including five women and 203 children, who represent 4.4% of all detainees. There are 50 detainees who have spent more than 20 years in Israeli jails and 23 detainees who have spent more than 25 years. During the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Israel detained more than 70 thousand detainees, of whom 8 thousand were children, 850 were women (four of them were pregnant and gave birth in prison), and there were many detainees from among members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and former ministers.

Health Statistics for 2010 showed that the number of physicians per 1,000 population registered in the Physicians’ Union in the West Bank was 1.3 compared to 2.3 in Gaza Strip.  In addition, there were 1.8 nurses per 1,000 population in the West Bank compared to 3.8 nurses per 1000 population in Gaza Strip. There were 76 hospitals in the Palestinian Territory in 2010: 51 hospitals in the West Bank and 25 in Gaza Strip.  These were distributed as 25 governmental hospitals, 28 non-governmental, 20 private, two hospitals run by military institutions, and one run by UNRWA. There were 5,108 hospital beds: 1.3 beds per 1,000 population and allocated as 3,063 beds in the West Bank and 2,045 in Gaza Strip. There were 572 primary health care centers in the West Bank in 2010 and 134 centers in Gaza Strip.

Agriculture  The total land area of the Palestinian Territory was 6,020 square kilometers in 2010, of which 957.2 square kilometers were cultivated land. This comprised 15.9% of the Palestinian Territory during the agricultural year 2009/2010, based on the main results of the Agriculture Census 2010.

The main results covered all agricultural holdings enumerated in the Palestinian Territory in the agricultural year 2009/2010.  There were 111,310 agricultural holdings in the Palestinian Territory.  These were made up of 79,176 plant holdings, comprising 71.1% of all holdings in the Palestinian Territory: and 17,893 mixed holdings comprising 16.1% of holdings, plus 14,241 animal holdings comprising 12.8% of all holdings.  There were 33,925 cattle, 567,833 breeding sheep, and 219,364 goats counted in the Palestinian Territory on 01 October 2010.

Housing: Israeli house demolitions continue  The Israeli occupation forces destroyed 145 Palestinian houses in the Palestinian Territory during 2010 according to a study by the PLO Department for National and International Relations. Meanwhile, the Israeli authorities granted building permits for 16,497 housing units for Israelis mostly in and around Jerusalem (J1) and 1,300 housing units are currently under construction.

The average number of persons per room in housing units in refugee camps was 1.7 in 2010, while 13.1% of households in refugee camps in the Palestinian Territory live with a housing density of three or more persons per room: 14.4% in West Bank camps and 12.2% in Gaza Strip. About 60.5% of households in camps in the Palestinian Territory live in housing units measuring less than 120 m2: 67.6% in West Bank camps and 55.2% in Gaza Strip

Labor Market 2010 The labor force participation rate in the Palestinian Territory in 2011 was 43.0%: (40.7% among refugees and 44.3% among non-refugees). The participation rate in the West Bank was 45.5% (44.4% among refugees and 45.9% among non-refugees) compared to 38.4% in Gaza Strip (38.2% among refugees and 38.7% among non-refugees). The unemployment rate in the Palestinian Territory was 20.9% (26.1% among refugees and 18.0% among non-refugees). The unemployment rate in the West Bank was 17.3% (21.6% among refugees and 15.9% among non-refugees) compared to 28.7% in Gaza Strip (29.8% among refugees and 26.8% among non-refugees). The services sector is considered as the largest employer of refugees in the West Bank with 35.8% (compared to 60.3% in Gaza Strip), followed by the trade sector with 21.7% in the West Bank (compared to 15.9% in Gaza Strip).

Education According to the primary results of the Education Survey for the 2011/2012 scholastic year, there were 2,704 schools in the Palestinian Territory: 2,016 in the West Bank and 688 in Gaza Strip. These were distributed by supervising authority as follows: 2,004 governmental schools, 341 UNRWA schools, and 359 private schools.  The total number of students in these schools was 1,136,164, of whom 567,270 were male and 568,894 female. There were 769,694 students enrolled in governmental schools, 270,406 enrolled in UNRWA schools, and 96,064 enrolled in private schools.

The illiteracy rate among Palestinians aged 15 years and above was 4.7% in 2011, distributed as 2.1% of males and 7.4% of females.  In the field of higher education, there are 14 universities and 15 university colleges offering programs leading to a bachelor degree: five universities and five university colleges in Gaza Strip and nine universities and 10 university colleges in the West Bank. There are 20 intermediate community colleges: 15 in the West Bank and five in Gaza Strip.

Macroeconomics: Prices during 2011 Average prices in the Palestinian Territory increased by 2.88% in 2011 compared with 2010: by 4.13% in Jerusalem (J1), 3.54% in the West Bank and 0.57% in Gaza Strip. In comparison with the base year of 2004, average prices in the Palestinian Territory had increased by 32.71%: by 31.16% in the West Bank, 32.55% in Gaza Strip and 34.08% in Jerusalem (J1).

Trade: Limited Palestinian exports Both imports and exports of goods increased in 2010 compared to 2009. In 2010, the value of imported goods totaled US $3,958.5 million, an increase of 9.9% compared to 2009. The total value of exports was US $575.5 million, an increase of 11.0% compared to 2009. As a result, the net trade balance on goods recorded a deficit of US $3,383 million in 2010, an increase of 9.8% compared to 2009.   The results indicate that only 15.2% of total exports were exported abroad, while 84.8% of exports were exported to Israel. The limited number of exports abroad was due to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian exports, especially from the Gaza Strip.

Information Society The percentage of households with a computer in the Palestinian Territory is 50.9%: 53.2% in the West Bank and 46.5% in Gaza Strip.  An Internet connection was available in 30.4% of households in the Palestinian Territory in 2011: 30.6% in the West Bank and 30.0% in Gaza Strip. The percentage of households with a satellite dish in 2011 was 93.9%: 95.9% in the West Bank and 90.1% in Gaza Strip.  The results also indicated that 44.0% of households in the Palestinian Territory have a fixed telephone line: 45.3% in the West Bank and 41.6% in Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, 95.0% of households have a mobile phone: 95.1% in the West Bank and 94.7% in Gaza Strip.    Tourism Tourism in the Palestinian Territory is the sector most affected by the Israeli occupation since Israeli companies and tourist offices exert a blanket monopoly on groups and Christian pilgrims to the Church of the Nativity and other historical and religious sites.

According to data from the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism, the number of Christian pilgrims in 2011 to the Church of the Nativity alone totaled 1.1 million visitors. Data from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism show that there were around 3.4 million visitors to Israel in 2011, worth more than 16 billion Israeli shekels to the Israeli economy, while the economic impact of these tourist groups on the occupied Palestinian Territory is limited.

Environment The average quantity of water consumed by economic establishments in the Palestinian Territory in 2011 was 4.3 million cubic meters per month in all economic activities.  The average quantity of water consumed by economic establishments in the West Bank was 3.2 million cubic meters per month and 1.1 million cubic meters per month in Gaza Strip.  In 2011, 62.2% of economic establishments in the Palestinian Territory used the wastewater network to dispose of their wastewater, compared with 15.5% using porous cesspits.

During 2011, economic establishments in the Palestinian Territory produced 17,026.6 tons of solid waste per month, mostly from the industrial activities sector         (10,945.3 tons per month): 14,738.8 tons were produced in the West Bank and 2,287.8 tons in Gaza Strip.

Data for 2011 reveal that 47.2% of households in the Palestinian Territory considered the water quality to be good: 70.9% in the West Bank compared to 5.3% in Gaza Strip.  In 1999, the percentage was 6.8% in Gaza Strip.

Learn more about Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics

 

The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) 26th of April 2012

Saeb Erekat: World Must Condemn Israel’s Official Israeli incitement to Violence Against Palestinians

Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, condemned Israel’s publication of a book that considers the occupied West Bank part of Israel and incites to violence against Palestinians by instructing Israelis to carry weapons inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Dr. Erekat said, “The Israeli Ministry of Defense is telling its citizens to carry weapons when trailing in the occupied West Bank near Palestinian villages”, adding, “This is an outrageous case of incitement to violence against Palestinians that reflects Israel’s official policy and mindset. It should be of grave concern to the international community”, said Dr. Erekat.

“By issuing a book on trails in Israel that includes at least 50 sites in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Israeli Defense Ministry exposes the true agenda of this government; nothing but abject disregard to international law, and the international consensus on the two-state solution”, the Chief Negotiator added. The book also falsifies the names of Palestinian villages and areas by giving them Israeli names. “The government of Israel, which issued this book, willfully falsified the identity of Palestinian sites. This is both objectionable and unacceptable”, said Dr. Erekat, adding, “Israel is intent on taking over the entire Palestinian Territory rather than reaching a comprehensive and just agreement to the conflict based on the two-state solution. Actions are much louder than rhetoric and Israel has shown the international community, through action, just how hostile its policies are to the prospects of peace”.

According to reports, the book in question recommends several dozen sites in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including one near the illegal settlement of Migron, as trail sites in Israel. In the book the Israeli Ministry recommends, “It is suggested to bring a weapon, as the trail is located near [a Palestinian village] …. or near a Bedouin encampment”. The Israeli Ministry of Defense issued this book as a ‘gift’ to the families of 23,000 Israeli soldiers, killed since 1948.

 

Palestinian National Authority Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ramallah 22th of april 2012

A Political Statement Issued by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Palestine

The Israeli Government continues its illegal behavior and the judization of the Palestinian Land as well as the Palestinian people’s property, neglecting the international legitimacy and its resolutions, the signed agreements and the foundations of the Peace Process. The Israeli Government proceeded to legitimize three random outposts, even defined as illegal by the Israeli Government as a starter for further construction of three new settlements. Israel has plans to establish 397 new housing units in Jabal Al Mokabber (a neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem). Furthermore, the Israeli Government has settled Israelis in an unprecedented way in neighborhood of Beit Hanina, also in East Jerusalem – which is occupied by Israel since 1967. As the Ministry of Foreign affairs strongly condemns and denounces this dangerous colonial escalation, it praises the position of the EU mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah for their explicit condemnation of the Israeli aggression. It also confirms the following:

First: It calls upon the International Quartet and the United Nations along with its specialized organizations to condemn this aggression through practical measures in order to stop the construction of settlements and the theft of Palestinian lands. Also calls to provide our people protection required in accordance with international law and the principle of the two-state solution.

Second: It call upon the International Community to stand next to the Palestinian rights and to support the orientations of the Palestinian leadership towards the United Nations, to guarantee the legitimate national rights for our people, particularly our people’s right of freedom, return, independence and establishing its independent state on 1967 borders and its capital East Jerusalem.

Third: It calls upon the Arab and Islamic countries and all the friends in the world for a rapid action to rescue Palestine and protect it from Israeli settlement projects which threatens the land and the population and destroys peace opportunities in the region.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ramallah 22th of April 2012

 

Dr. Saeb Erekat: “This Land Day is a Celebration of Palestine’s Right to Freedom”

March, 29. 2012

Chief Palestinian Negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, called on the international community “to take a firm stand against the continued Israeli theft of Palestinian land and exploitation of our natural resources”. He made his comments ahead of the commemoration of the Land Day.

“The struggle to protect our land from the Israeli colonial enterprise and settler terrorism is a daily reality in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Today, we celebrate Palestine’s right to freedom and the Palestinian people’s dignified struggle to independence”, said Dr. Erekat. He added, “Israel’s policy of displacing Palestinians and denying them access to their land and resources is the cornerstone of the Israeli settlement enterprise and at the heart of the conflict. For forty-four years, this policy of colonialism, which has prolonged the occupation, has been the main source of violence in the region and the single-most menacing threat to the two-state solution”.

According to the most recent report by Peace Now, Israel has doubled settlement construction in the past two years. Parallel to the settlement expansion has been an alarming increase in settler attacks against Palestinian civilians. According to recent reports prepared by the United Nations, Israeli settlers carried out at least 400 in 2011, including the killing of three Palestinians. In recent days, Israeli authorities issued an order for the confiscation of approximately 21 dunams of land from Bani Hassan village in Salfit, in the northern West Bank, adjacent to three Israeli settlements. Dr. Erekat also referred to events planned worldwide by civil society groups to commemorate Land Day.

“The Palestinian people have been deprived of their basic rights, including their rights to freedom, property, and self-determination. Our people have the right to demonstrate peacefully against Israel’s settlement expansion and to demand the fulfilment of their national and legal rights”. Dr. Erekat concluded,

“The freedom defenders who will partake in the peaceful demonstrations and rallies around the world are marching for dignity towards Jerusalem. Together with them, Palestinians will continue their certain path towards national independence”, adding, On 30 March 1976, Israel killed six protestors who demonstrated peacefully against the confiscation of their lands. Three decades later, Palestinians continue to commemorate all those who sacrificed their lives to defend their land.

For more information please see the following special Report: “Land Day 2012 – Special Focus: Jerusalem”