By Dr. Saeb Erekat/ PLO Negotiation Affairs/
On November 15th 1988, the Palestine National Council declared the independence of the State of Palestine, endorsing all principles of international law and UN resolutions. For our people this moment of hope was also a moment of a painful historical compromise, by which the PLO recognized Israel over 78% of historic Palestine.This step was taken under the leadership of President Yasser Arafat. On November 11th we marked 11 years of his martyrdom, after he was sieged for almost four years by tanks at the presidential compound in Ramallah. The international community did very little to save President Arafat from his tragic end, just as they have granted impunity to the Israeli government in their colonization and apartheid policies.
28 years after the painful historic compromise made by the PLO, Israel still refuses to recognize the State of Palestine. Moreover it has continued to destroy the prospects of a two-state solution to an extent where very few still believe that this goal could be achieved. In the past three decades Israel’s settler population has more than tripled and Israeli policies, including land grab, theft of natural resources, forcible transfer and collective punishments among others continue to derail Palestinian fundamental human rights. Regrettably, the international community continues to be a partner in the killing of hope in the minds of Palestinians by providing the occupying power with the diplomatic cover it needs to continue with its crimes.
I would like to make use of this occasion to express on behalf of Palestine our solidarity with the Lebanese and French people after the devastating and tragic terror attacks in Beirut and Paris. Both constitute crimes against humanity that must be condemned in the strongest terms. Moreover, countries must cooperate in order to hold those responsible accountable. As a nation that has suffered from decades of state-sponsored terror, we call upon the international community to cooperate in order to ensure that justice is served for all. Our thoughts and prayers are with the peoples and governments of Lebanon and France.