Arabs seek recognition for Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital

A handout photo released by the Jordanian Royal Palace on January 6, 2018, shows Jordan's King Abdullah II meeting with (from L to R) UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in the capital Amman. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2018
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Arabs seek recognition for Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital

JEDDAH: Arab foreign ministers on Saturday stressed that peace in the Middle East is impossible without addressing the Palestinian cause on the basis of a two-state resolution with East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.
“The Arab League will seek international recognition of the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital after Washington recognized the holy city as Israel’s capital,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi announced at a joint news conference with Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit following talks in Amman on Jerusalem’s status, also attended by the foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority, as well as the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs.
“There is a political decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and we will strive to reach an international political decision to recognize a Palestinian state with (East) Jerusalem as its capital,” Safadi said.
He added that the Arab states would work collectively with the international community to secure international recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, adding that the meeting was also used to agree on steps to ensure no other country recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“We reiterated that no peace or security can be achieved in the Middle East without the establishment of a viable Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and in accordance with all relevant international references,” Safadi said, stressing that peace is the only way to resolve the Palestinian cause, being the only strategic option to meet the legitimate and rightful demands of the Palestinian people.
US President Donald Trump reversed decades of American policy and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Dec. 6, threatening Middle East peace efforts and angering the Arab world and the US’ Western allies alike. Trump’s controversial decision sparked protests in several countries and was rejected in a non-binding UN General Assembly resolution.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told reporters following a meeting with his Jordanian counterpart that Saudi Arabia stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their bid for a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, reiterating the Kingdom’s rejection of the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia has always been a strong supporter of legitimate Palestinian demands, stressing that addressing the Palestinian and the Arab Israeli struggle on the basis of a two-state solution is key to regional peace in the Middle East.
“Arab efforts have succeeded in isolating the US decision, citing the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly votes, adding that these efforts will continue to deter any effort aiming at undermining the status of Jerusalem,” Abul Gheit said.
He added that the Arab League’s foreign ministers will reconvene at the end of this month when Palestine briefs the group on what has been achieved so far with regard to their efforts to counter the US decision and the illegal Israeli measures to change the status of Jerusalem.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967 and later annexed East Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community.
Earlier on Saturday, Jordan’s King Abdullah met the ministers and said: “the question of Jerusalem must be resolved within the framework of a just and lasting peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis.”


Jumblatt expresses concern over torture of Syrian refugees

Syrian children are pictured at a refugee camp in the village of Mhammara in the northern Lebanese Akkar region on March 9, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 18 March 2019
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Jumblatt expresses concern over torture of Syrian refugees

  • Walid Jumblatt has expressed concern about Syrian refugees returning to their country from Lebanon
  • Jan Kubis: “The UN and the humanitarian community will continue to facilitate these returns as much as possible

BEIRUT: Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt has expressed concern about reports that Syrian refugees returning to their country from Lebanon face torture and murder.

This coincides with a debate in Lebanon about whether Syrian refugees should return without waiting for a political solution to the conflict in their country. 

UN Special Coordinator Jan Kubis stressed after meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday the “urgent need to ensure the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Syrian refugees home, according to international humanitarian norms.” 

Kubis added: “The UN and the humanitarian community will continue to facilitate these returns as much as possible. Another very important message was also to support the host communities here in Lebanon.”

Mireille Girard, representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), on Monday said: “The reconstruction process in Syria may not be enough to attract refugees to return. We are working to identify the reasons that will help them to return.”

She added: “The arrival of aid to the refugees is an element of trust that helps them to return. Their dignity and peaceful living must be ensured.”

Social Affairs Minister Richard Kouyoumdjian said the Lebanese General Security “issued lists containing the names of refugees wishing to return to their homes, but the Syrian regime accepted only about 20 percent of them.”

He added: “The solution is to call on the international community to put pressure on Russia, so that Moscow can exert pressure on (Syrian President) Bashar Assad’s regime to show goodwill and invite Syrian refugees to return to their land without conditions, procedures, obstacles and laws that steal property and land from them.”

Lebanese Education Minister Akram Chehayeb said: “The problem is not reconstruction and infrastructure, nor the economic and social situation. The main obstacle is the climate of fear and injustice in Syria.”

He added: “There are 215,000 Syrian students enrolled in public education in Lebanon, 60,000 in private education, and there are informal education programs for those who have not yet attended school to accommodate all children under the age of 18.” 

Chehayeb said: “As long as the displacement crisis continues, and as long as the (Assad) regime’s decision to prevent the (refugees’) return stands … work must continue to absorb the children of displaced Syrians who are outside education to protect Lebanon today and Syria in the future.”