The head of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas, has cited World Bank reports suggesting that Palestine’s economy annually loses billions of dollars as a result of the occupation, which prevents full access to the Palestinian territories and its natural resources.
During his speech before the Third Arab-African Summit, which officially launched on Tuesday, Abbas said that the most significant risk to the chances of achieving peace in Palestine and the wider region is the threat that the city of Jerusalem and the Islamic and Christian sanctities are facing: the systematic changing of Jerusalem’s parameters as well as the seizure, demolition and destruction of its religious, spiritual and physical history and heritage.
He pointed out that forced evictions and the displacement of Jerusalem’s Arab Palestinian population is another risk related to the settlement process, which is considered a breach and a flagrant violation of international law.
Abbas also explained that: “We are looking forward to seeing Palestine being an active member of the Arab-African partnership, stressing the importance of fighting against the tendency towards division, fragmentation and disassembly that is so common in the Arab and African countries.”
He pointed out that in order for the summit to result in practical decisions that can be implemented, it is necessary to develop a road map that puts everyone on the same interactive path that fosters positive cooperation while maintaining common strategic interests.
He added that, “the most common security threats right now are the growth of terrorism and piracy, especially in the east of the continent, as well as the threat posed to the security balance in the Red Sea.”
He praised the role of the African Union in supporting the vote at the United Nations in favour of granting Palestine a non-member observer state status.