It is time to respect the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people!

The past year witnessed a criminal attempt to erase the Palestinian question, while acts of war and attacks on the rights, property and life of Palestinians intensified. The year that begins now must be a turning point in which governments comply with the will of their peoples and realise the respect for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

From the “deal of the century” to the annexation of the West Bank

The year 2020 began with Trump's proclamation of his “deal of the century”. Far from being a “deal” – no representative of the Palestinian people participated in its drafting – it was an attempt to liquidate the Palestinian question, tearing up the numerous international resolutions and agreements that promise the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State in the territories occupied since 1967 and failing to recognize the existence of millions of Palestinian refugees.

Confirming this objective, the Prime Minister of Israel, Netanyahu, announced a few weeks later his intention to annex around 30% of the West Bank territory, internationally recognized as Palestinian territory and where the creation of the State of Palestine is promised.

Israel's “normalization” campaign

The attempt to erase the Palestinian question continues with the successive public announcements of the establishment of official relations between Israel and Arab States (United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and – already after the US elections – Morocco), in what can only be considered a historic betrayal of the Palestinian people and of the “Arab Peace Initiative” itself, reiterated in successive summits of the Arab League since 2002.

There are increasing reports that such recognitions of Israel were achieved in exchange for financing, massive arms sales and the scandalous recognition by the US of the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, thus consummating a double betrayal of two peoples – the Palestinian and the Sahrawi – subjected to a colonial occupation that is illegal under international law.

US support and the escalation of war

These shameful deals are inseparable from the manoeuvres of the Netanyahu-Trump-Pompeo trio, aimed at creating the conditions for an aggression against Iran. This intention was evident in the veritable acts of war that were the murders of General Qasem Suleimani, early in the year, and of the prominent Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in late 2020.

The year just ended was yet another year of permanent war actions by Israel and the US not only against Iran but also against Palestine (including the bombing of the Gaza Strip), Syria and other countries in the region. In the major media, such crimes are no longer even newsworthy.

It would be desirable that this climate of permanent warmongering and brutal confrontation with International Law and the rights of peoples were a page in history about to end, with the defeat of Trump in the US presidential elections. But the prospects do not point in that direction.

The unfailing US support for Israel did not start with Trump. The most important US military funding to any other country was signed by Obama and favoured Israel. The very strong pro-Israel lobby in the US continues to have, among the names announced for the new Biden administration, prominent representatives in positions of great relevance in determining US foreign policy.

Signs are increasing that the next US administration will not even seek to return to the —already unacceptable — situation that existed before the Trump presidency but will instead build on his legacy. Still during the electoral campaign, Biden stated that he would not return the US embassy in Israel to Tel Aviv.

The hypocrisy of the European Union

It is unacceptable that the European Union and European governments maintain a hypocritical position in support of a negotiated solution leading to the existence of two states in historic Palestine while abstaining from a resolute position of condemning Israel's crimes which, in practice, make the solution they claim to defend unfeasible.

While renouncing a consistent policy in favour of asserting the rights of the Palestinian people, the European Union and many European governments continue, at the same time, to finance, directly or indirectly, Israel's military industry, both through “civilian” research projects the dual use of which has been denounced, and through contracts with Israeli companies deeply involved in violations of the human rights of the Palestinians.

A nation besieged and violated

The situation demands the international solidarity of the peoples to break the siege that is being imposed on the martyred Palestine and to denounce the discriminatory practices of Israel towards the Palestinian population, both in the West Bank, in East Jerusalem and in the occupied Gaza Strip, and in the State of Israel itself.

In this year of the Covid 19 pandemic, not only was the siege of Gaza not lifted, but the year ended with an Israeli bombing that hit the Children's Hospital in the Gaza Strip, on December 26, and the incursion by Israeli soldiers, the following day, into the medical complex in Ramallah, where Covid 19 patients are also treated. And Israel's much-vaunted vaccination campaign ignores the population of the occupied Palestinian territories, even though international law obliges the occupying power to ensure that the necessary measures are taken to combat the spread of epidemics among the occupied population.

Nor was the pandemic an obstacle to the establishment of new Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank or to the expansion of existing ones; to the intensification of attacks by settlers on the property and physical integrity of Palestinian inhabitants of neighbouring villages; to the demolition of Palestinian housing, particularly in East Jerusalem, displacing Palestinian inhabitants to make way for Jewish settlers; to the brutal repression by the Israeli army of peaceful demonstrations by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank; to the wave of arbitrary arrests of Palestinians without respect for the most elementary rights of detainees.

Respect for law and for international bodies

It is not acceptable to tolerate the shady dealings and illegalities of the trio Netanyahu-Trump-Pompeo, nor to return to the impasse, occupation, and systematic violation of the rights of the Palestinian people that existed before Trump and that were a reflection of the permanent and unpunished violation by Israel, not just of the agreements and UN resolutions but of the most basic principles of international law.

At the end of 2020, the UN General Assembly again passed, by overwhelming majority, motions in support of the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to an independent and sovereign state, within the 1967 borders. It renewed the mandate of the agency for the Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, as well as other UN agencies and structures supporting the Palestinian cause.

It is unacceptable that the will repeatedly expressed by the overwhelming majority of countries on the planet to see the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people recognized should be stopped by the warlords of Washington and Tel Aviv.

It is not acceptable that the US policy of coercion on international organizations should continue, as is the case with the cut in funding for UNRWA, to try to erase the painful reality of the Palestinian refugees, or the dropping out of UNESCO because it does not agree with the Zionist project to rewrite history by destroying or falsifying archaeological finds, or with the pressure on members of the International Criminal Court to prevent it from accepting the case against Israel for the commission of war crimes.

Responsibility of the Portuguese government

The Portuguese government has special responsibilities as it enters its six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The Portuguese government must abandon its ambiguous and contradictory positions and must recognize the State of Palestine, as recommended by the Assembly of the Republic [Parliament] and recently requested by the Palestinian Authority, through its Minister of Foreign Affairs, in an official meeting with his Portuguese counterpart.

The Portuguese government cannot repeat acts such as the hosting – rejected by other countries – the meeting in Lisbon between Pompeo and Netanyahu at the end of 2019, or the abstention in some of the recent votes at the UN GA.

The Portuguese government must firmly reject the insolent statements made by the Israeli ambassador to Portugal, who, in an article in the newspaper Público on December 19th, 2020, used unspeakable terms that are unacceptable for a foreign diplomat, terms that, in the mouth of any other ambassador, would be ready reason for official protest.

The Portuguese government is obliged to abide by the Constitution of the Republic and to take an active and consistent position of solidarity with the cause of the long-suffering Palestinian people, a position that corresponds to the sentiment of the majority of the Portuguese.

An imperative of solidarity with the Palestinian people

At the beginning of yet another difficult year, MPPM reiterates its solidarity with the heroic Palestinian people and its struggle for the right to an independent homeland, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and for the right of return of the refugees.

MPPM expresses its confidence that by strengthening its unity and putting into practice the resolutions passed by its representative body, the PLO, the Palestinian people will find the way to defeat the manoeuvres of their enemies and fulfil their legitimate aspirations.

MPPM urges all friends of the Palestinian cause to redouble efforts and mobilization to break the curtains of silence and collusion with the Israeli occupation, prevent the criminalization of solidarity and ensure that the new year that has just begun is a year of affirmation of the rights of the Palestinian people.

January 9th, 2021

The National Directorate of MPPM

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