In conjunction with tightening measures against Palestinians by Israel and Trump’s decision to move US Embassy to Jerusalem, hundreds of foreign guests, including senior Palestinian leaders from Hamas and Jihad movements and officials of Muslim nations, came together in the two-day event to discuss solutions for Palestine issue. MNA asked Elias Farhat, the former head of Lebanon's army's Staff and Command College about the event and its possible implications for the future of Intifada:
What is the importance of Palestine issue for Arab and Islamic nations? Why should the world support Palestinian people?
The Palestinian question is the central concern of the Arab and Islamic world. It is a just and fair cause about a people who were driven from their homeland by force and replaced by settlers brought from many parts of the world under questionable religious pretexts. The state of Israel was created on the Palestinian land. More important, Israel occupies Islamic and Christian holy shrines in Jerusalem which is a great insult for 1,3 billion Muslims all over the world. Supporting the Palestinian people is a moral, religious and national duty for all Arabs and Muslims
Do you think the solution of two states will be surefire and can it return the peace to middle east?
Ever since the UN General Assembly resolution 194 ,1947 and UN security council resolutions 242 and 338, the solution of two states was adopted in the diplomatic track but never implemented. This solution ignores the right of return for people who were driven out from so called 1948 Palestinian land. Nevertheless, the Oslo agreements have made the promised Palestinian state so fragile and given a green light for the Israelis to build settlements in the occupied West bank and Gaza, thus complicating the two state solution. Recently Netanyahu presented his proposal: A Jewish state. This has blown up both the one state (restricted on the Jews) and two states solutions. It is hard to implement either of them, so, peace in the region is still far of being achieved.
How do you evaluate approach of new American administration toward Palestinian people and their rights?
President Trump during his campaign expressed his support for Israel, he talked a lot about peace in the middle east but did not clarify his ideas. After being elected he announced his decision to appoint his son-in-law Jared Kushner an adviser, and assigned him the task of making peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
When he received Israeli prime minister Netanyahu in the white house, president Trump took a crucial decision declaring that he will not abide by the two state solution and he will support any solution both sides agree upon. This indicates that Trump is not serious in looking for any solution, instead he has chosen a supporter of settlements, Friedman, as an ambassador to Israel. It is expected that he will continue supporting Israel, and will obstruct any attempt to bring just and comprehensive peace to the region which guarantees the rights of the Palestinian people. It is unlikely that we will see Trump moving towards peace in Palestine.
What will be the reaction of Arabic and Islamic countries if Trump moves the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?
If Trump moves the US embassy to East Jerusalem, he would violate UNSC anti settlement resolution 2334 which considers Israeli settlements illegitimate and calls for ceasing the building of settlements. The US embassy would hence be considered illegal because it will be built on Palestinian land. Unfortunately, some Arab countries have diplomatic ties with Israel, others have relations through secret channels, so it is difficult to see a brave position taken by Arab and Muslim countries. However, the Arab and Muslim masses will oppose and protest the compliance of their political regimes.
How do you see the impact of regional struggles between some Arabic countries on Palestinian issue and weakening of Palestine position and importance in the world?
Palestinian people were left without support of their brother Arab and Moslem countries in facing the Israeli aggression. They were forced to halt their resistance against the Israeli occupation and encouraged to negotiate their occupier. Unfortunately, this lead to lose more land, sovereignty and freedom. Iran is the only country which supported all the Palestinian people and its armed resistance. Iran political rhetoric is still loud and condemns Israeli aggressions and violations to human rights and international law. Iran and its allies and friends seize any opportunity to disclose all Israeli crimes and show them to the international public.
Interview by: Mohammad Mazhari