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Envoy: Palestine seeks new strategy in peace talks

XYZ seProf Manuel Hassassian seen at Middle East Monitor's 'Jerusalem: Legalising the Occupation' conference in London, UK on 3 March, 2018 [Jehan Alfarra/Middle East Monitor]en at Middle East Monitor's 'Jerusalem: Legalising the Occupation' conference in London, UK on March 3, 2018 [Jehan Alfarra / Middle East Monitor]
Prof Manuel Hassassian seen at Middle East Monitor's 'Jerusalem: Legalising the Occupation' conference in London, UK on 3 March, 2018 [Jehan Alfarra/Middle East Monitor]

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the cause of all problems in the Middle East region and there can be no peace without solving it, the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic representative to Britain said.

Speaking at MEMO’s conference on Jerusalem in London on Saturday, Manuel Hassassian said the US lost its status as a trustworthy peace broker after President Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“The international community should understand that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the crux of all problems in the Middle East and without solving them there will never be a regional peace and security,” Hassassian said.

He described Trump’s move a “breach” of international law and the status quo.

“America has decided to be on the wrong side of the history by imposing a solution as a third party,” he said.

“America lost its privilege of being an honest peace broker and it has discredited itself as a third party. Therefore the Palestinian Authority made it quite clear that Americans cannot really continue with the peace process while they are totally and unequivocally supporting Israel.”

Jerusalem conference: Has Trump ‘legalised occupation’?

Trump’s decision has triggered global outcry and protests in the Palestinian territories that left dozens of Palestinians dead.

Hassassian said the Palestinians have engaged with a “futile” peace process that brought them nothing but “more settlements and more Judaisation of Jerusalem” in the last 25 years.

He said the Palestinians will now look for a new approach to the entire peace process as the US has “discredited itself” as a third party.

Muslim direction of prayer - Cartoon [Arabi21]

Muslim direction of prayer – Cartoon [Arabi21]

“Our alternative plan is to go back to the international legal system, to the international law, to UN Security Council resolutions concerning Jerusalem and the entire peace process. And that’s why now we are trying to look for a substitute as a gavel holder to the peace process and that substitute to be a conglomerate of international body that is comprised of the five permanent [members of the UN] Security Council plus the representatives from the EU, Arab world, let alone the Islamic world.”

“It is like the style of Iran 5 + 1,” Hassassian said.

Jerusalem is the heart of Palestine and it is the eternal capital of the Palestinians

Hassassian stressed.

A new step to be taken to leave behind the impasse reached in Palestinian-Israeli conflict could be the international recognition of the Palestinian state, according to Kevin Chamberlain, a former legal adviser to British Foreign Office and the Palestinian Authority.

Speaking at the same conference held in the Wellcome Collection in London, Chamberlain said some steps toward the recognition of a Palestinian state have been taken as it has become a full member of UNESCO.

“I am sure if the issue came up before the General Assembly of the UN, there might well be a majority for that. But the problem with that is where do you go from there? Because without any practical way of realising that, statehood would be meaningless,” he said.

The problem is with the Israeli settlements. The viability of the Palestinian state is getting more and more difficult

“Of course, the international community regards the establishment of these settlements as a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and illegal. But Israel has not appeared to take any heed of that.”

Sami Abu Shehadeh, chief executive officer of the Yaffa Youth Movement, said: “There is something that should change.”

Much before [Trump’s] announcement, Gaza has been suffering a decade of blockade. People cannot live normally in Gaza. They can’t have clean water in Gaza. They can’t eat normal food in Gaza. And nobody cares.”

Discussing what the next step should be, Abu Shehadeh said: “What we can do is to build a young leadership for the Palestinian people who believe in the rights of Palestinians.”

Oliver McTernan, Co-Founder of Forward Thinking and panelists, Dr Ahmad Tibi, Daniel Levy, Nadia Hijab and Prof Manuel Hassassian seen at Middle East Monitor's 'Jerusalem: Legalising the Occupation' conference in London, UK on 3 March, 2018 [Jehan Alfarra/Middle East Monitor]

Oliver McTernan (centre), co-founder of Forward Thinking, chairs a session with panelists, Dr Ahmad Tibi (centre left), Nadia Hijab (far left), Daniel Levy (centre right), and Prof Manuel Hassassian (far right) seen at Middle East Monitor’s ‘Jerusalem: Legalising the Occupation’ conference in London, UK on 3 March, 2018 [Jehan Alfarra/Middle East Monitor]

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