11/29/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/29/2023 14:52
To the People of Palestine,
On behalf of all African people, the African Union Commission and my own personal behalf, I send you warm greetings and strong solidarity sentiments on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The 29th of November is not only the annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people as adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979, but it is also a day to reaffirm our continued and unwavering commitment as an international community and support to the just cause of freedom and statehood for Palestine.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
The cause of the Palestinian people has never been more urgent. The outbreak of the continued hostilities in Gaza and the Occupied Territories, is in clear violation of international law and international humanitarian law. It has unspeakable consequences for the lives of Palestinian civilians in particular, and for peace in the region, in general. The war must stop. Hostages must be released. And a humanitarian ceasefire must become permanent.
The African Union Commission will continue to call on the international community to assume its responsibilities concerning the question of Palestine and the implementation of all AU and UN resolutions adopted from 1948 to date aimed at reaching a peaceful solution respecting the fundamental rights of Palestinian people.
We reiterate that African 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 viable State in the Middle East.
The African Union Commission (AUC) has consistently expressed deep concerns at the consequences of unilateral policies and actions, including the ongoing war on Gaza Strip. The war in Gaza is contributing to a devastating humanitarian situation, which mount to war crimes and a crimes against humanity. The city of East Jerusalem and its holy sites have never been in danger as they are now. Christians and Muslims are fundamentally deprived from practicing their faith.
The current devastating war in Gaza, the mass killings are just intolerable to the human conscience. We bow our heads in sorrow at the murder of thousands of innocent civilians, including a disproportionate number of children.
We must also not forget that prior to the current war, Israel has continued the building of settlements in the Palestinian occupied territory in the last seven decades which is considered a clear violation of international norms and standards.
These illegal settlements contribute to forced displacement and limited access to basic resources including land, water, food and accommodation. The perpetuation of a system of segregation and structural inequality between Palestinians and Israelis, has sadly become similar to the apartheid system that took place in Southern Africa - a very dark part of our history in Africa.
In this regard, I welcome and strongly support the humanitarian resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council, which calls for an immediate humanitarian truce and cessation of hostilities against the civilian population in Gaza.
I also welcome the recent ceasefire agreement reached in Gaza, including the release of hostages from both sides and call for a sustained ceasefire and the start of a political dialogue towards the implementation of the solution of two sovereign, peaceful and viable states.
The issue of the Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli jails and detention centers also remains sensitive for the Palestinian people and its leadership. The Prisoners suffer from difficult and inhumane detention conditions in violation of all basic human rights. We also call for their release to pave the way for conducive conditions for a lasting and sustainable political solution.
The current situation calls for urgent and concrete action by the international community towards ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
We, at the African Union Commission will work tirelessly with other international actors to ensure the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.
May God bless the sons and daughters of Palestine and may peace reign in our hearts, minds, and actions.
Thank you for your attention.