Former EU Parliamentarian Stresses Role of Local Authorities Worldwide in Supporting Palestinians

RAMALLAH, November 18, 2014 (WAFA) – Former Vice-President of the European Union Parliament Luisa Morgantini, stressed that the local authorities worldwide can play a very important role in supporting the Palestinian people’s call for freedom, calling on the EU to suspend any association agreements with Israel.

Ahead of the ‘International Conference of Local Authorities in Solidarity with the Palestinian people’, slated to be held on Friday, Morgantini stressed that, “The local authorities are the heart of the Palestinian state like in every democratic country; so this conference is extremely important since it discusses the issue of a unified Palestine,” she added.

She stressed that the importance of this conference stems from the need to make local authorities all around the world ask their governments to recognize the state of Palestine.

“We know that this conference is very symbolic, but it is very important because the Israeli government is very much opposing that the European Union recognizes the state of Palestine,” she added.

The conference, run under the auspices of the United Nations International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, will take place in Ramallah on Friday with the attendance of president Mahmoud Abbas, who is scheduled to deliver a speech to the visiting delegations.

The UN General Assembly declared 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on the 26th of November 2013.

The conference will host over 250 Arab and international political figures, members of parliament, mayors and local authorities’ representatives, as well as experts in all different aspects, from across the world continents. It will also be attended by Palestinian key figures.

“The ending of the Israeli occupation of Palestine cannot be done by revenge or rage, however, it is done by a precise political project,” added pro-Palestinian activists, Morgantini.

Morgantini said, “I feel that it is my duty as a European to be here with the Palestinians who are under occupation; in West Bank, Gaza, and in East Jerusalem.”

She further highlighted the local authorities’ role in supporting Palestine, citing the strong role of the Italian local authorities’ campaign to free Palestinian prisoner Marwan al-Barghothi and all prisoners detained in Israeli jails.

Head of the national committee for the commemoration of the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Mazen Ghnaim, explained that the purpose and main goal of this conference is to gain a statement by the international community that recognizes the rights of the Palestinian people in accordance with the international legitimacy.

He further stressed that the importance of this conference lies in the fact that those international local authorities and figures can deliver to their people, who had chosen them as their representatives; a clearer picture of what actually happens on the ground; which he said, “would contribute to mobilizing wider support for the Palestinian people.”

“The Conference aims to gain the domestic support of countries worldwide, alongside the international position in solidarity with the Palestinian people,” said Ghnaim.

He expressed hope that this conference would also help promote twin relations, cooperation, and experience exchange between Palestinian local authorities and the other local authorities worldwide.

“Learning from the experiences of other nations can help us overcome hardships we have been facing,” he stressed.

The conference will also discuss different issues, including challenges faced by the Palestinian local authorities in playing its role in the establishment of the state of Palestine, the status quo of the occupied Palestinian territory; regarding the fragmentation of land and the lack of geographical contiguity.

“Israel seeks to impose de facto situation on the ground, particularly since it has been witnessing an international isolation due to its measures and practices against the Palestinian people,” said Ghnaim.

When asked by WAFA correspondent whether the latest killing incidents taking place in Jerusalem would affect the number of delegations attending the conference, Ghnaim stressed that such incidents only prove the importance of holding this conference and the need for an international stance to reach a complete end to this conflict and achieve the establishment of a Palestinian state.

He said that, “If Israel commits to obeying all United Nations’ resolutions, the reasons for the conflict would end,” hoping that this conference would contribute to rejecting Israel’s measures and affirming the legitimate rights of the Palestinians.

He expressed hope that this conference would help mobilize the necessary support that would help end this occupation; the last occupation in the world, expressing the need to continue with such solidarity actions until the last Israeli soldier and settler leave our land.

Ghnaim said that the Palestinian and international preoccupation with the latest 51-day aggression on the Gaza Strip caused a delay in the holding the conference as preparations for it has been under way for the past three months, adding that Arab and Islamic delegations, in addition to a number of African delegations who have no direct or diplomatic relations with Israel, experienced difficulties in obtaining entry permits from the Israeli side.

Field visits to across the West Bank districts and Jerusalem will be organized on Sunday, which Ghnaim stressed, would allow the delegations to experience at firsthand the ugliness of the Israeli measures taken against the Palestinian people, including the confiscation of land for the construction of the apartheid wall and for the benefit of illegal settlement constructions, which he affirmed is one of the main obstacles standing in the way of the peace process.