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Arab Foreign Ministers back Palestinian Security Council bid

November 30, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Saturday backed a Palestinian bid to resort to the United Nations Security Council to determine a timetable for ending Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

The Arab top diplomats, who were meeting at the Arab League headquarters, also backed a bid by the Palestinians to establish their own state within the June 1967 borders.

Arab countries will submit a draft resolution to the Security Council to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and establish a Palestinian state within the aforementioned borders, according to the final communiqué of the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting, which was attended by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The ministers also recommended continued coordination with Security Council member states and regional and international groups on that matter.

The communiqué did not, however, mention the date when the proposed resolution would be submitted at the Security Council.

The Arab League, meanwhile, expressed its support for a Palestinian plan to join international organizations and sign international agreements and treaties, including the founding charter of the International Criminal Court.

It said it “ultimately” rejected to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, opposing what it described as pressures put on the Palestinian Authority in this regard.

The Arab League also rejected Israeli violations in East Jerusalem and its attempts to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

In September 2000, a visit to Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon triggered what later became known as the “Second Intifada,” a popular uprising against Israel’s decades-long occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.

Palestinians fear that identifying Israel as a Jewish state will cancel the right of return of Palestinian refugees or the right of compensation to those affected by the creation of Israel in 1948.

Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators collapsed in April of this year over Israel’s refusal to release a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so.

The talks aimed to find a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the roots of which date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous “Balfour Declaration,” called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

Jewish immigration rose considerably under the British administration of Palestine, which was consolidated by a League of Nations “mandate” in 1922.

In 1948, with the end of the mandate, a new state – Israel – was declared inside historical Palestine.

As a result, some 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes, or were forcibly expelled, while hundreds of Palestinian villages and cities were razed to the ground by invading Jewish forces.

The Palestinian diaspora has since become one of the largest in the world. Palestinian refugees are currently spread across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and other countries, while many have settled in refugee camps in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel went on to occupy East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.

Palestinians want the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

For many Palestinians, the right to return to their homes in historical Palestine – as enshrined in UN General Assembly Resolution 194 – remains a key demand.