ROME / GAZA: The world must help resolve the Israel-Palestinian issue by backing a two-state solution to avoid the creation of an apartheid state, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad Al-Maliki said on Friday.
“The Palestinians are still waiting for the international community to try to resolve the Palestinian problem that has been created by the international community,” with the foundation of Israel in 1948, Al-Maliki told the MED Dialogues conference in Rome.
“Unfortunately, none of you is taking serious, credible and responsible steps to solve the problem,” Al-Maliki told the assembled European and Middle Eastern leaders.
“I don’t believe any of you will accept another apartheid regime to emerge in the 21st century,” Al-Maliki added.
The Palestinian foreign minister’s call came as health officials say Israeli army fire had wounded 14 Palestinians in one of the calmer weekly protests along the Gaza-Israel perimeter fence.
Most of the few thousand Palestinian protesters kept a safe distance from the fence Friday, without burning tires or attempting to infiltrate the frontier.
But some hurled rocks and firebombs with slingshots, provoking Israeli fire, witnesses said.
Gaza’s Hamas rulers de-escalated border fence protests recently to allow mediators to negotiate a solution to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the strip.
In November, Israel permitted Qatar to deliver $15 million to help Hamas pay its civil servants.
Israeli fire has killed more than 170 Palestinians at the protests since they began in March. A Gaza militant shot dead an Israeli soldier in July.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki also slammed the US administration of President Donald Trump “which has really sided with Israel, taken the wrong side of history, of justice.”
The Palestinians have already vowed to block Trump’s peace plan and severed ties with his administration after his December decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and declare the city Israel’s capital.
They also see the city as the capital of their future state and international consensus has been that Jerusalem’s status must be negotiated between the two sides.
“If the Americans are not willing to do anything, Europe should do that,” Al-Maliki said.
“We should force the change to happen, that’s why we are pushing for a European role,” including backing an international peace conference.
“It’s not our responsibility to protect the two-state solution, it’s your responsibility,” he said, without which Israel would continue to develop separate systems for Israelis and Palestinians, as it already does with road networks and public transport.
Israeli Parliament speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, was also attending the MED gathering and said the two sides should focus on cooperation.
“If the idea of peace process is again some theory of two courageous leaders in a room shaking hands and signing an agreement, that doesn’t work,” said Edelstein.
“The only way to get back to a situation where we can do something positive is cooperation in practical fields (like manufacturing or water management). We don’t need a comprehensive agreement to cooperate,” he said.