Palestine Conference 2023, under the title “Resilience and Development,” was held on 12 February 2023 at the Arab League’s Cairo headquarters.
This conference is part of the official and popular Arab efforts to resolve the Palestinian issue in a just and comprehensive manner.
Arab leaders called for this conference at their 31st Arab League summit in the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria in early November.
Arab states have vehemently opposed Israel’s prolonged occupation and assaults on Palestine. They pleaded with the world community to act to safeguard the Palestinian people.
The conference was held in response to Israel’s recent occupation of nine West Bank settlement outposts and violence in Jerusalem.
According to Israeli law, the nine in-issue outposts are unlawful because they were constructed without the required licenses. The Israeli government claims these outposts were built on ” Israel state territory” and should be legalized.
The Israeli government’s action is considered a substantial uptick in its settlement activities in the West Bank. The Arab League condemned Israel’s actions, calling them “a violation of international law and a threat to regional stability.”
Arab states remarked that the settlement of Israeli residents in the occupied Palestinian territories is regarded as a breach of international law. It is a crucial impediment to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The statement also demanded an end to Israeli occupation, a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the right of Palestinian refugees to return.
The Arab League’s condemnation of Israel’s conduct is crucial since it reflects an Arab united front against Israeli aggression.
Arab states view the latest Jerusalem violence as an attack on the entire Arab world. According to a statement from the Arab League, Israel is trying to undermine the security and stability of the Arab world.
The Arab League also urged the international world to act to defend the Palestinians, including by putting Israel under sanctions.
According to the Arab League’s official statement, “the world must take a strong stand against Israel’s aggression and hold it accountable for its crimes.”
The recent rehabilitation of relations between Israel and numerous Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan, was also discussed at the Arab League summit.
Arab states demanded a renewed commitment to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which seeks a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Arab League’s initiative in 2002 promised Israel full recognition in exchange for total disengagement from the occupied regions.
Problems, Development, and Resilience
The Palestinian issue is a complex and long-standing issue that has considerably impacted the region’s growth and stability. Israel has attacked Jerusalem, killing dozens, including children.
The United Nations (UN) deemed the year 2022 the worst year for Palestinians in the face of Israeli brutality. However, 29 Palestinians, including five children, were martyred in January 2023.
Several problems threaten the peace and well-being of Palestine’s citizens. The living conditions of the citizens are horrendous, with unemployment, poverty, and inadequate access to clean water and healthcare.
Building resilience in the Palestinian issue requires tackling the core causes of conflict, encouraging economic and social growth, and creating peace and stability.
The Arab States believed the conference would bring participants from around the region together to discuss resilience and development in the context of the Palestinian issue and encourage significant change.
The member States hope the conference’s results should be implemented to promote stability and development in Palestine. Arab League condemned the subsequent violations of Palestinian rights to housing, education, and health.
The conference highlighted the unfortunate situation in Al Quds Al Sharif. Several racist practices and severe breaches against Jerusalemites are weighing down the city.
Israel is constantly destroying the Islamic and Christian sacred places in Jerusalem. The Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are among the Holy sites.
Muslims are fighting to protect the Holy City’s identity and religious freedom. The Christian community in Jerusalem is also defending and resisting church infractions.
The Arab States hoped the meeting would establish political, economic, developmental, and legal measures to protect Jerusalem and its inhabitants from Israeli assaults.
It would provide sharp political views, robust financial and development plans, and effective legal frameworks for Jerusalem’s serious violations and outrageous attacks.
Approval of Nine Settler Units in the West Bank
The Israeli government just recognized nine settler outposts in the West Bank. According to international law, these extensions are illegal.
Palestinians and the world community are furious over this decision. Global communities have long questioned Israel’s settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office stated that illegal settlements would build other houses. Additionally, it was noted in the statement that “the nine settlements had been around for many years, some for decades.”
They were built without official Israeli approval. More than 1 million Israelis live in 200 illegal settlements on Palestinian land.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the decision crossed “all red lines” and threatened “the peace process.” Palestinians are concerned that settlement construction will jeopardize the future Palestinian state under the two-state solution.
International Community Concerns
Many nations consider Israel’s West Bank settlements a severe obstacle to creating a Palestinian state. The UN Security Council has repeatedly condemned Israel’s settlements and demanded their immediate halt.
The United States (US), an old-time steadfast partner of Israel, has also voiced its displeasure with the current decision.
The US State Department called Israel’s legalization of settlement outposts “very concerning”. The US officials advised it to “reconsider its unilateral acquisition of West Bank territories.”
The EU has also called Israel’s West Bank settlements a “serious barrier” to a Palestinian state. The EU has demanded that Israel cease settlement activity in the occupied areas and removes all illegal outposts.