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01 DECEMBER 2020

To the People of Palestine:

I send you on my behalf and on behalf of all African people our warm greetings and sincere thoughts on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

The African Union Commission continues to call on the international community to assume its responsibilities concerning the question of Palestine and the implementation of all UN resolutions adopted from 1948 to date, to compel Israel to comply with international law.

For the last six decades, Israel continues its policy of building settlements in the Palestinian occupied territory in clear violation of the international norms and standards. These illegal settlements are built on confiscated or stolen Palestinian land. Therefore, these illegal settlements contribute to forced displacement; severely limit Palestinian access to basic resources including land, water, food and housing. They perpetuate a system of segregation and structural inequality between Palestinians and Israelis exactly as the apartheid system was in Africa.

In addition, the issue of Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli jails and detention centers remains a sensitive issue for the Palestinian people and it’s leadership. The Prisoners suffer from difficult and inhumane detention conditions in violation of all basic human rights law and international humanitarian law. The number of Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli detention centers have increased and many of the detainees are jailed without charges or trials under the so-called “Administrative arrest”.

The Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, has always emphasized that it will continue to explore political and diplomatic efforts at all levels in order to maintain the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. We strongly support this peaceful way to fight for Palestinian rights. Therefore, the international community, the “Quartet”, the UN Security Council and all regional and international organizations are called upon to request Israel to implement decisions and declarations taken thus far to promote peace and stability based on the two-state solution. The city of East Jerusalem and its holy sites have never been in danger as they are now and Christians and Muslims are fundamentally deprived from practicing their faith.

The rejection by Israel of appeals by the international community to stop the confiscation of land and the demolition of homes and places of worship for both Palestinian Christians and Muslims is a matter of deep concern. The Government of Israel also continues its efforts to force Palestinian families from their homes by imposing high taxes and other forms of discriminatory policies.

Today more than ever, there is need for urgent and renewed efforts to find a just and lasting solution to the conflict, “based on the existence of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and harmony, within the framework of the relevant African Union and United Nations pronouncements.” The current situation calls for urgent action towards ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

The Africa’s support to the Palestinian cause is premised on the values of freedom, justice and humanitarian principles that Africa defends in the international fora alongside all those striving to ensure that Palestine regains its right to exist as a key State in the Middle East. The African Union Commission (AUC) has consistently expressed deep concerns at the consequences of unilateral policies, actions and provocations, including the ongoing lockdown on the Gaza Strip.

The African Union Commission reiterates its commitment to support all efforts aimed at achieving a final solution for the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict based on international legitimacy and rejects any incomplete and fragmental solutions such as temporary borders or the Jewishness of Israel. The African Union Commission will work tirelessly with other international actors to ensure the establishment of an independent Palestinian State on the borders of June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Let us keep praying for peace, freedom and justice.

I thank you.

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