Cabinet welcomes first official political dialogue between Palestine and European Union

RAMALLAH, The Palestinian Cabinet Tuesday praised the visit of Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah to Jordan, applauded the agreement to hold the sixth meeting of the Joint Jordanian-Palestinian Higher Committee next year in Palestine, welcomed the first official political dialogue between Palestine and the European Union, and commended the UNCTAD report on the economic situation in Palestine, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s office.

During its weekly meeting held in Ramallah on Tuesday, the Palestinian Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Rami al- Hamdallah, discussed the outcomes of the meeting of PM Hamdallah with his Jordanian counterpart Omar al-Razzaz and other Jordanian officials in the Jordanian capital Amman.

The meeting revolved around enhancing trade and joint industrial zones between both countries, increasing Jordanian imports to half billion USD, establishing a logistics area between Palestine and Jordan as well as an agricultural marketing and Hajj and Umrah companies.

During the meeting, both prime ministers stressed the importance of accelerating the implementation of the 22 understandings and agreements signed between the two countries, which include trades and investments in education, healthcare, agriculture, transportation, culture, social development, and energy.

Hamdallah, on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas, called upon the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to hold the sixth meeting of the Jordanian- Palestinian Joint Higher Committee next year in Palestine, and is ready to take all necessary steps to well prepare for it.

He also praised the constant role played by Jordan under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II in sponsoring and protecting the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic and Christian sanctifies in Jerusalem.

The cabinet commended the international community, particularly the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the European Union countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom), and the European Parliament for taking a position against the Israeli planned crime to demolish Khan al- Ahmar Bedouin Community to the east of Occupied Jerusalem.

It Called upon the international community to take concrete steps to stop Israel, the occupying Power from committing its planned demolishing crimes, and to hold it accountable for its culture of impunity, and force it to abide by the International Law.

The cabinet condemned the Trump administration decision to cut $10 million in aid to Palestinian institutions as part of its continuous blackmailing chapters against the rights of our people and their national cause.

It noted that the US administration, by its latest decision, had suspended all forms of civilian aid to the Palestinians. In January 2018, the US had already cut $65 million of its support to the UNRWA. In August 2018, it halted $200 million in aid to economic and humanitarian projects in the West Bank and reduced the amount of $200 million in assistance to the UNRWA. In September 2018, it suspended the funding of $25 million provided to hospitals in East Jerusalem as well as another $10 million for Palestinian institutions.

The cabinet also welcomed the Palestinian and European formal political dialogue for the first time, held last Wednesday in the Belgian capital Brussels and headed by Khariya Rassas, adviser to the PM Hamdallah.

The dialogue included presenting the Palestinian-European Joint Committee report, which discussed the comprehensive partnership agreement between the state of Palestine and the European Union, the critical humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, and possible ways to empower and endorse the Palestinian government to return to Gaza as well as the Israeli crimes around the so-called “Area C” and occupied Jerusalem.

On the same note, the Palestinian delegation called for the acceleration of the signing of the full partnership agreement with the European Union, and the immediate recognition of the State of Palestine to protect the two-state solution, and the condemnation of Israel’s unjustified crimes and illegal policies of colonial expansion, land confiscation and displacement of Palestinian citizens.

On its behalf, the EU emphasized its commitment towards the two-state solution on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine.

The EU also expressed its rejection of the US latest moves against Jerusalem, refugees’ status and UNWRA, as well as the so- called “E1” Israeli colonial plan to displace Palestinians in Khan al-Ahmar and other Bedouin communities.

Moreover, the EU renewed its support for the legitimate Palestinian leadership represented by President Abbas and the Palestinian Government as a partner in the bilateral relations with the European Union and Member States.

Finally, the Cabinet commended the report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on the economic situation in Palestine.

It stressed that such report is an important international document since it condemns the Israeli occupation, which is the main obstacle to the growth and development of the Palestinian economy.

The report documented that the Palestinian economy suffers due to five factors, four of which are closely related to the Israeli occupation and its policies. These factors include accelerating the land annexation process and settlement expansion in the West Bank, continuing economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip as a result of the blockade, and restricting the Palestinian trade. Israel has sharply branded the report “flawed” and “detrimental to development”.

The Cabinet stressed that there is no development under the Israeli occupation, and therefore the international community must fulfill its obligations to improve and develop our national economy, foremost of which is lifting the Israeli restrictions and control over our economy, and facilitating the ability to invest and benefit from our natural resources, especially in the so-called Area C.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency