During its weekly meeting held in Ramallah today, the Palestinian Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Dr. Rami Al- Hamdallah, condemned the latest Israeli escalation against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and considered it part of the plans of Israel, the Occupying Power to Judaize Jerusalem, alter its historical features, and obliterate its Arab and Palestinian identity. This escalation coincides with the latest settlement and forced displacement plans against Khan Al- Ahmar and other areas of the West Bank, the repeated threats of aggression against the Gaza Strip, and the adoption of the racist Jewish Nation-State Law.
In this regard, the Cabinet called upon the international community, Arab and Islamic states to intervene to stop the Israeli escalation against the Palestinian citizens, to provide international protection for the Palestinian people and their holy sites, and to end the Israeli occupation and its measures that violate all international laws, treaties, and conventions.
The Cabinet also denounced the recent Israeli announcement by the Minister of Occupation Army, Avigdor Lieberman, which approves establishing new 400 settlement units, aiming at expanding “Geva Binyamin, Adam” settlement, southeast Ramallah, in a step backed up by the American Trump Administration. In addition to that, the Cabinet criticized the decision of the Israeli Government to approve the construction of 270 settlement units in the so-called “Neve Daniel” settlement, near Bethlehem.
The Cabinet considered such plans a blatant challenge to the international community and a clear attack against the Palestinian land and rights in a manner that prevents the possibility of establishing an independent, sovereign State of Palestine on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. This requires a firm stance by the international community to compel Israel to cease its illegal settlement activities in the Palestinian territory, foremost of which is the occupied city of Jerusalem.
Moreover, the Cabinet deplored the recent Israeli incitement campaign, led by Israeli right- wing and settler organizations, against Palestinian civil society institutions, which affected the image of Palestinian NGOs before the international community through linking such national institutions with terrorism.
The Cabinet stressed the importance of the role played by such institutions and its integration with the efforts of different ministries and government bodies. Of this, the Cabinet noted that civil society institutions work in accordance with the Palestinian Basic Law and all relevant international laws and are a major advantage and a big support for the Government to meet the needs of its citizens, especially in the so-called “Area C”.
The Cabinet called upon world countries to stand with Palestinian civil institutions against Israeli right wing and settler organizations that call for seizing more Palestinian land, destroying homes and facilities and attacking citizens’ capabilities, which violate all international and humanitarian laws.
In another context, the Cabinet hailed the United Nations Economic and Social Council for adopting a law regarding “the social and economic consequences of the Israeli occupation” in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. This law condemns the devastating effects the Israeli occupation leaves on both the Palestinian economy and society and the arbitrary Israeli policies aimed at destroying the Palestinian economy.
Thus, the Cabinet expressed its gratitude to the Group of 77 and China that met their legal and moral obligations and stood by right and justice through voting in favor of the resolution.
Further, the Cabinet commended the UN Human Rights Council for appointing three experts to the Commission of Inquiry into Israeli violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, upon the Council’s decision, at its special session held last May, to establish an independent international commission investigating Israeli violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Above all, the Cabinet expressed its deep concerns over the financial crisis and severe budget deficit facing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The cut-offs in the $100 million US contributions to the UN emergency program, may lead to catastrophic consequences on more than one million Palestinian refugees receiving food, education and health assistance from the UNRWA.
Therefore, the Cabinet appealed to the international community and donor countries to provide financial support to the UNRWA to ensure that it continues to provide services to Palestinian refugees until achieving a just solution for their cause.
Furthermore, the Cabinet showed its gratitude to the World Bank for providing a $90 million grant to the Palestinian people, aimed at empowering the private sector, as well as financing infrastructure projects. Similarly, the Cabinet highly praised the Canadian financial support of $37 million to increase economic opportunities and prosperity for Palestinians, especially women and young people, through supporting economic empowerment programs, entrepreneurship and employment opportunities.
Also, the Cabinet congratulated Ahed Tamimi and her mother, on their release from Israeli prisons and held the Israeli Government fully responsible for the safety and life of Palestinian prisoners and for the racist violations, it commits against them. Consequently, the Cabinet renewed its calls upon the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to protect Palestinian prisoners in defense of international resolutions and UN conventions, to save their lives, maintain their basic rights, and meet their demands.
The Cabinet, thereupon, stressed the importance of the efforts exerted by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, along with the Palestinian Government to stop the inhumane measures practiced against Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli prisons. These efforts also attempt to compel Israel to respect all international and humanitarian laws in treating Palestinian prisoners, until they are released unconditionally from Israeli prisons and detention centers.
Finally, the Cabinet approved the recommendations of the Minister of Local Government to hold elections for nineteen local communities that lost their legal status as a result of the resignation of the majority of their members on Saturday, 22/09/2018.