17 JANUARY 2015

Within the proceed?ngs of the 10th Session of the PUIC Conference held in Istanbul, Republic of Turkey, the 5th Meeting of the Committee on Palestine was held on 17 January 2015 in the presence of all members of the Committee.
The Meeting was chaired by H.E Dr. Orhan Atalay, Member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. H.E. Mr. Ali Asghar Mohammadi Sijani, PUIC Assistant Secretary General, also attended the meeting.
H.E the Chairman of the meeting welcomed the participants and emphasized the importance of the Palestinian cause and its significance to the Muslims. H.E requested the Islamic Ummah to mobilize their capacities with a view to championing this cause cons?dered pivotal to the Muslim countries.
Thereafter, the attendees adopted the agenda. This was followed by a detailed report on the latest developments in Palestine, presented by Dr. Faisal Abu Shahla, Member of the Palestine National Council (PNC), who spoke on behalf of the PNC in his capacity as the Permanent Vice Chairman of the Committee on Palestine.
Dr. Abu Shahla addressed three topics cons?dered the most important ?n the Palestin?an arena, namely, achieving national reconciliation and the Israeli reaction thereto, the ongoing political process with respect to the Palestinian cause and requesting the Muslim States to extend support to the Palestinians in order for them to remain steadfast in their resistance and their demand for attainment of their full national rights.
In the context of his discourse, Dr. Abu Shahla referred to the signing of the Agreement on the Implementation of the National Reconciliation Agreement which took place on 2/6/2014, the fruition of wh?ch was formation of the Government of National Unity, which Israel responded to by invading the West Bank on 12/6/2014 and by preventing several ministers of the Government of National Unity from attending the swearing-in ceremony. It then followed its aggressive measures by launching a 51-day aggression on the Gaza Strip, during which it intentionally demolished houses, destroyed infrastructure and killed over 1100 civilian martyrs, including hundreds of women and children. He also referred to the fact that, during this aggression, Israel bombed Gaza using 25 thousand tons of explosives, which are equivalent in their effect to two atomic bombs. The situation continued to deteriorate even after the ceasefire, where power outages would last for long hours every day and access to all services proved extremely difficult. As for Al-Quds, Israel continued its attempts to impose the policy of time and space sharing of Al-Aqsa Mosque, just as it previously did in Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi; and as you all know, they prevented the Muslims from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque for one full day. Furthermore, excavation works continue and d?lap?dated houses neighbouring Al-Aqsa Mosque are denied restoration so that they eventually fall and not be granted re-building permission.
With respect to the peace process, the Palestinian official expressed that it ceased to advance as a result of failure on the part of the Israeli officials to take the matter seriously. Furthermore, Netanyahu and Lieberman want to have everything in return for nothing, and the US, which we have given a more-than-enough chance, has failed, or rather it has proven its uninterrupted bias to Israel.
With respect to the issue of voting in the UN Security Council on giving Palestine full membership, the Palestinian official reproached the Nigerian representative in the UN Security Council who thwarted the voting process by abstaining from appearing; this gave the US a golden chance to write off the draft resolution without vetoing. The Palestinian official requested the African Parliaments attending the meeting to inform their governments of this situation, which is different from the stances of the Islamic States which, in essence, are committed to supporting the Palestinian cause in international fora.            
Abu Shahla then addressed the financial problems facing the Palestinians. He stated that Israel deprived the Palestinian Authority of customs funds, which belong to Palestinians; Israel deducts part of it and gives back the rest, but it withheld the entire money. For its part, the US declared that it will suspend its US$420 million annual aid to the Palestinian authority. Israel and the US want to discourage us from going to the International Criminal Court (ICC) but we are determined to follow this path and to bring Israeli war criminals before the ICC no matter the price. We expect our brothers in the Arab and Muslim worlds to provide us with support and assistance. We also look forward to this Conference making recommendations that would result in practical action, including calling on the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to freeze Israel’s membership.
He concluded by saying that Palestinians are very hopeful and that they adhere to their rights and that the objective of what they are doing is to voice a Palestinian cry from Palestine and Al-Quds, the spiritual capital of the Arab and Muslim Ummah, calling for support in order to realize the national rights.
After the report of the representative of the Palestine National Council (PNC), the representatives of the Parliaments of Morocco, Jordan, The Sudan, Senegal, Iran, Iraq, The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Guinea, Chad and Indonesia addressed the meeting.  They all commended the proposal of the UAE’s Parliamentary Group to convey a vote of thanks to European parliaments which recognized the State of Palestine, and to send urgent messages to the European Parliament, the Latin American Parliament, and the Pan-African Parliament urging them to recognize the State of Palestine.
After extensive discussions, the Meeting made the following recommendations:
1.    Send urgent messages from the PUIC President, on behalf of all members, to the European Parliament, the Latin American Parliament, and the Pan-African Parliament call?ng on them to recognize the State of Palestine, as a measure that would promote opportunities for peace in the Middle East, and contribute to the implementation of relevant international resolutions, chief of which is UN Security Council resolution 242.
2.    Call upon Member Parliaments to urge the IPU to recognize the State of Palestine, during the World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments due to be held in New York from 31 August to 2 September 2015.
3.    Establish an ad hoc committee to make visits to the parliaments mentioned above as a practical step necessary for Islamic parliaments’ action at all levels, with a view to ensuring the recognition of the State of Palestine. The PUIC Presidency would select a number of members of the Committee on Palestine, taking into account the three geographic groups, to form the committee.
4.    The decision was made to announce the vacancy of two pos?t?ons in the Committee on Palestine to Member Parliaments, receive applications and decide on them in the next meeting of the Committee, until the number ?s complete.
5.    The issue of hosting the 6th Meeting of the Committee on Palestine in the middle of this year was raised. The delegation of the Parliament of Iraq offered to host the meeting, and the offer was accepted with due thanks and appreciation.

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