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Palestinians Condemn “New Balfour Declaration”

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Palestinians Condemn “New Balfour Declaration”
10/03/02 at 17:10:08
Palestinians Condemn “New Balfour Declaration”

Thursday, October 03 2002 @ 12:50 PM GMT  

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM - In response to the US legislation ratified by President George W. Bush that lends support to Israel's unilateral claim to occupied Jerusalem as its capital, Palestinian political and religious figures united in refuting the passed bill, saying it was unprecedented and dangerous.

At a press conference held at the Palestine Media Center (PMC) in Ramallah on 03 October, 2002, PLC member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, spokesperson of the Orthodox Church, Dr. Attallah Hanna and Deputy of the High Judge, Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi, voiced their vehement condemnation of the US bill, stressing that it goes against all international resolutions and adds fuel to the fire already burning fiercely in the region.

Dr. Ashrawi said that the passing of the bill was extremely dangerous.

"It sends a very dangerous message to the world. First, the US congress stand is completely illegal, because it is violates international law stipulating that annexing the land of others is prohibited and Jerusalem, as you know, is occupied Palestinian territory." She stressed.

"Second, it contradicts UN Security Council resolutions concerning Jerusalem and its status," she added, "beginning with [UN] resolution 181 and ending with the latest resolution stipulating a two-state solution and defining the territory occupied in 1967, which is Resolution 1397."

The PLC member considered that double-standards were apparent in the American policy, which is urging the Arab world and Iraq to abide by UN resolution and to respect international legitimacy, while supporting Israel, which through its illegal acts and measures against the Palestinian People and Jerusalem specifically, acts as a rogue state.

"This bill hit thrust into the heart of potentials aimed at reviving the peace process. This sends out a signal that double standards do exists since some states are allowed to act against the law." She stressed.

Dr. Ashrawi also pinpointed that the ratification US bill is considered a form of "political extortion resulting from internal [American] demands, [passed] at a time when there are congressional elections and when [US president] Bush is demanding from congress a decision regarding a hit on Iraq .."

She also highlighted that fact that this bill is part of the 2003 Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which means that congress is in fact intruding in US foreign policy via financial and budgetary issues.

"This is dangerous interference .. since there are some congressmen who see in Israel's interests and priorities a process more important than America's constitution or international law."

Sheikh Tamimi meanwhile said that the ratification of the bill comes a time when the Muslim nation is rejoicing a religious Muslim festivity, which he said disparaged the feelings of Muslims around the world.

"The city of Jerusalem is an occupied city, which must be returned to its people- the Palestinians- like all other cities occupied in 1967."

"There is a Zionist plot against Al-Aqsa Mosque," he said, adding that, "Israeli occupation authorities have prevented Al-Wakf [responsible for Muslim cites] from doing their duty after they started renovating the mosque. There has been consistent digging under Al-Aqsa since 1967 until this day. This shows that there is Israeli plan to demolish Al-Aqsa,"

Similarly, Dr. Attallah Hanna decried the US congress bill as "a new Balfour Declaration", referring to the British promise in 1917 to the Jews giving Palestine to them as their new homeland.

"It is a very dangerous indication showing that the US congress and administration are now tools in the hands of the Zionist movement aimed at serving Israel's avidities and occupation."

"Not only do condemn this move .. we also say that it is a clear offence to the status of the holy city, to its holiness, its Arab status and its spiritual heritage, both Christian and Muslim." The Archimandrite said.

Dr. Hanna called upon the US Congress to turn back on its decision, emphasizing that no Arab, Muslim, Christian or Arab can accept such a law, which fabricates the history of Jerusalem.

"What the US congress has passed and the US President ratified in fact forges the history of Jerusalem. The US congress and president has no right to say that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Jerusalem is an Arab, Palestinian city, with all its spiritual heritage, Muslim and Christian." He added.

At a time when Israel interferes with church affairs and exercises religious oppression, the American decision comes as a supporting hand to these Israeli acts of aggression, Dr. Hanna emphasized, adding that it is incumbent upon all Arab, Muslims and Christians to move swiftly and effectively to defend the status of Jerusalem and its religious cites.

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