Abbas: We Have a Century-Old Civilization and Municipalities, and Yet we are Still Under Occupation

RAMALLAH, November 21, 2014 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas Friday addressed the worldwide delegates who came to participate in the ‘International Conference of Local Authorities in Solidarity with the Palestinian People’, stressing that “municipalities were established in Palestine since the second half of the nineteenth century, and yet we are still languishing under the Israeli occupation.”

Abbas stressed that despite all obstacles placed by the Israeli occupation in the way of growth, development and prosperity of local authorities, municipalities and local government, ‘we will work with all our might to preserve our distinctive identity and maintain our historical and religious heritage.’

“Our local authorities have come a long way in their work and development, particularly administrative and human resource development, and the use of modern technology and computerized management; stressing that “civilization and civility can be found at its finest throughout Palestine.”

He added, “We lack one thing; to get rid of the Israeli occupation in order to be able to build airports and seaports that can allow us to communicate and implement free trade agreements with the world countries, including the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements between Palestine and the European Union, which could not be implemented due to the continued obstacles placed by the Israeli occupation.

Abbas condemned the Israeli obstruction of international delegates’ entry to attend the conference, stressing that the Israeli occupation obstructs everything and not just the entry of the supportive delegates; “the Israeli occupation obstructs movement, humans, trade among others in order to impede our development and progress.”

He stressed that this conference comes at a time tension is at its worst across the Palestinian territory, warning of the repercussions of turning the current conflict into a religious one.

He said addressing the Israeli side, “we have reiterated our warning a thousand times; the conflict between us is political rather than religious; so let us keep it that way and not drag the region into a non-ending religious war.

Abbas also condemned all violence and killings committed against civilians on both sides, and stressed citing the Quarn that, “killing of an innocent soul may be equal to the killing of the entire human race.”

He stressed that Israel must stop the imposition of fate accompli policies on the ground, stop its settlement construction, and its assault on holy sites, particularly al-Aqsa mosque, “settlement construction is illegal and we will never accept it,” calling on Israel to accept the two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.

He said, “We want to restore our rights and to live in security, peace and stability,”…“after seven decades of displacement, suffering and pain; five generations have passed since then, when will this end?”

“It is time to remove the separation wall and build bridges of love and cooperation,” said Abbas.

He added, “It is time for the longest occupation in modern history to leave our land and stop controlling our lives and destinies so we can prove to the world our ability to become free of our dependence on international aid and that we can rely on ourselves instead of on aid.”

He called on members of the European Union countries who have not recognized the state of Palestine yet to follow the lead of the rest of its member countries who have officially recognized it.”

A total of 135 countries have officially recognized the state of Palestine.

“We what we need is to plant our land and sleep in our homes in security and peace without the daily terrorism of settlers, and without the decades-long nightmare of occupation,” Abbas concluded.