The Algerian Foreign Minister has challenged the international community to stop Israel's "scorched earth" policy against the Palestinians. Mourad Medelci was speaking out on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, established by the UN General Assembly in 1977: "Israel's announcement about building new settlements in the [occupied] West Bank and East Jerusalem, and withholding the Palestinian Authority's tax revenue, should be strongly condemned," he insisted.
He noted that today's priorities have to calming tension in the region and responding to the Palestinian people's aspirations to live in dignity and peace in a sovereign and viable state. In this context, added Medelci, the Palestinian people demand that international law should protect them from Israel's unbearable political, social, economic and military assaults.
He stressed that it is important to help President Mahmoud Abbas to achieve peace based on negotiations, as the PA chief told the General Assembly last week. The Foreign Minister sees this as a "real opportunity" to revive the peace route and called on all parties in Palestine to work towards national reconciliation with "sincere commitment from all partners, without exception".
Medelci expressed his country's joy at the result of the UN vote which granted observer member status for Palestine, 24 years after the establishment of this state was announced by the Palestine National Council, in Algeria, in 1988. He reiterated Algeria's "unconditional" support for the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people.
The UN decision, said Medelci, opens the way for a more mature route towards full membership for Palestine. "Isn't it time for a reminder of the historic peace initiative announced in the 2002 Arab Summit in Beirut and reiterated in the 2005 Algeria Summit, entailing Israel's withdrawal from all 1967-occupied Palestinian land in return for recognising the state of Israel?" That, he claimed, would bring about an end to the Arab-Israel conflict.