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Palestinian foreign minister meets with Arab League members in Jordan

March 28, 2017 2:01 P.M. (Updated: March 29, 2017 11:02 A.M.)
AMMAN (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki met with members of the Arab League in Amman on Monday, where he urged his counterparts to "put into effect and follow up with the implementation" of resolutions taken by the Arab League “seeking to restore stability and security and bring to an end all troubles in Arab countries,” particularly regarding the question of Palestine.

During a meeting for foreign ministers of the Arab League's member states, al-Maliki also addressed Arab League Secretary-General Ahmad Abu al-Gheit, saying that the league should work with all Arab countries "seriously" in order to support the diplomatic efforts led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to try and end the Israeli occupation.

In his remarks, which were later published by the Foreign Ministry in Ramallah, al-Maliki stressed that member states should make joint efforts to exert pressure on Israel to implement the anti-settlement UN Security Council Resolution 2334, to withdraw from all Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, and to “enable the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov warned during a briefing the the UN Security Council on Friday that despite the passage of Resolution 2334 in December, “no steps” had been taken since to halt Israel’s settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, calling a spike in illegal settlement announcements in January “deeply concerning.”

“The large number of advancements, planned infrastructure development, legislative actions and moves to undertake large-scale demolitions against Palestinian communities in Area C, indicate a clear intent to continue expanding the settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territory,” Mladenov said. “Many of the advancements that were made in the past three months will further sever the territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state and accelerate the fragmentation of the West Bank.”

According to al-Maliki, the upcoming Arab summit, which is set to begin on Wednesday, is “pivotal” for two reasons -- the first being that it will take place amidst “ongoing challenges and instabilities in the Arab world and in the region,” that al-Maliki attributed to "terrorism," which he said “has affected our nation's’ properties and capabilities and weakened development, economy, and all aspects of life."

The second issue making this year’s summit pivotal, according to al-Maliki, “is the fact that the question of Palestine has not been solved yet, but rather became more complicated due to the arrogance and extremist practices of the right wing Israeli government which has adopted all the attitudes and ideas of Israeli settlers."

Al-Maliki went on to slam the Israeli government for its continued settlement expansion despite a steady stream of international condemnation, saying that settlement construction “impedes all international efforts and initiatives seeking to make political progress and to achieve the two-state solution establishing an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.”

Abbas is expected to return from his Middle East and Europe tour this week and join al-Maliki and members of the Arab League in Jordan for the summit, where he “will confirm the Palestinian cause as a top priority for Arabs,” according to Abbas’ spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

Throughout his tour, where he has visited with various delegations in Belgium and Germany, Abbas has pushed the idea that along with the Palestinian Authority (PA), which he heads, he ultimately seeks a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict “based on international frameworks and resolutions, as well as the Arab Peace Initiative which emerged from the 2002 Arab League Summit in Beirut.”

Abbas’ tour was announced earlier this month as an effort “to strengthen support for Palestine’s national cause,” at a time when Abbas himself has been facing growing anger at home.

Elected president of the PA in 2005, Abbas indefinitely extended his mandate in 2009.

In the 12 years of Abbas’ rule, the PA has been on the receiving end of mounting criticism over its corruption and seeming inability to advance towards a just solution for Palestinians.

However, it is the PA’s security coordination with Israel -- which has been denounced by critics as a “revolving door policy" of funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons -- which has become the most prominent target for critics of Abbas’ government, as detention raids by Palestinian police have sparked violent clashes, in recent weeks.

The killing of prominent Palestinian activist Basel al-Araj at the hands of Israeli forces earlier this month, months after he was released from Palestinian custody, has also inspired anti-PA protests, which were violently suppressed by Palestinian police.

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