Today, we mark the 53rd year since the barbaric Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip which remained after the colonization that took place in 1948, in addition to the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced and had to endure a heavy humanitarian and development calamity. Among them are generations of Palestinians who were compelled to grow up and live in overcrowded and impoverished refugee camps without any prospect for a better life for their children. Seventy-two (72) years have gone by since the Nakba – Catastrophe of 1948 which resulted to the forceful displacement of 950,000 Palestinians and the destruction of 531 villages in addition to the systematic ethnic cleansing.

Israel, the occupying power has been consistently and systematically violating the International Humanitarian Law and International Law with absolute impunity. Despite of the multiple United Nations Resolutions, Israel’s illegal practices continue unabated, its war crimes remain unpunished and its unlawful policies are now institutionalized. Lack of accountability has resulted in Israel continuing and escalating its violations of International Law, ethnic cleansing, dispossession, collective punishments, discrimination, colonial settlements, and annexation.

We affirm that the steadfastness of our people in their homeland can prevent the American–Israeli plots and hegemonic brutal plans aimed to eradicate the Palestinian cause. The long years of Israeli occupation on our land that began on the 5th of June 1967 and the accompanying racist policies and measures of occupation, failed to change the identity of the Palestinian Arab land, distort its history and extended civilization, and the everlasting bond of the Palestinian people to their land.

Furthermore, Palestinian diplomacy continues to exert its utmost efforts at all levels and forums in order to expose the occupation, its policies and crimes, to bring before international courts the Israeli war criminals and to establish a sovereign, democratic and independent State of Palestine on the pre 4th of June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on the principle of the two-state solution, International Law and UN resolutions and to be a party to all UN organizations and International Treaties.

After 72 years of Zionist colonial project and 53 years of ongoing and ever expanding occupation we remain certain that the sun of freedom will shine again soon, putting an end to the oppression of our people and Peace will prevail! We will rejoice then and sing the verses of our poet paying tribute to our land which was once under occupation and now is free, and the brutal occupiers today are a bad memory.

For the past two years we have been witnessing rapid changes both regionally and internationally and in particular in the occupied Palestinian territories where the illegal settlements have a rapid increase along with the number of Jewish settlers that reached 650,000 in violation of the Geneva Convention. Today, and despite the fact that we have suspended all agreements with both Israel and the US due to their failure to commit and comply to these in addition to the violations of the International Law and UN resolutions, we still extend our hand to a real and comprehensive peace process.

We remain confident that Justice, Freedom, Peace and Democracy for all people in our region and the world will triumph!