Press Statement on the Annapolis Conference
(PACE - Palestine Centre of Excellence)
The US brokered Annapolis conference here in Maryland has begun in earnest on the 27h November 2007, with the aim of establishing peace between Israel and the Palestinian people. Apart from the US and EU, the 50 nation conference is also being attended by Arab and muslim countries including Malaysia. Malaysia is being represented by her Foreign Minister, Dato’ Seri Syed Hamid Albar.
The legitimacy of the Annapolis conference is at best questionable as the so called the Palestinian representative hardly reflects the voice and aspirations of the Palestinian people. Firstly, all Palestinians, in the occupied territories as well as those living in refugee camps and outside Palestine has rejected the idea of a peace conference when the whole objective is not to restore Palestinian rights of return and right to their homeland. Secondly, the Palestinians who are attending the conference has no mandate from the people, as the de facto representative, Hamas is absent. Hamas swept to victory in the Palestinian January 2006 legislative election, earning 74 out of 132 seats contested. Fatah, to which most of the delegates to the conference belonged or aligned to only won 45 seats. It would be a mockery to democracy when a legitimate and elected government is sidelined in a conference that decides the future of Palestine.
The presence of Arabs and muslim countries on the other hand will only exarcerbate the plight of the Palestinian people as indirectly it gives further legitimization to Israeli occupation and continuous violations of Palestinian rights. Israeli delegates have indicated that they will only agree to a broad conditions for peace and will not commit to specific demands by the Palestinians. The conference is therefore nothing more than reenacting the defunct Oslo Accord of 1993 and the failed Road-Map of 2003. In view of this futile exercise for peace, PACE register our stand as follows:
- Reject the Annapolis Conference as the objective is never towards restoring the rights of return of the Paletinian people and their rights to sovereignty. On the contrary the conference aim to tighten Israeli grip on the occupied territories i.e the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as imposing a total blockade on Gaza.
- Regrets the presence of representatives of Arabs and muslim countries as their presence will give legitimacy to the conference and further erosion of Palestinian rights. Their presence is also a reflection of lack of analysis and grasp of the political maneuvering of the Zionist agenda.
- Perturb by the apathy of Arabs and muslim countries towards the Palestinian people which has been subjected to an almost two-year long complete economic blockade. They should have pushed for an international effort to uplift the US led economic boycott instead of becoming a party to a conference that would only exarcerbate the situation.
- PACE call upon the Malaysian public to carefully monitor the outcome of the conference, as it may eventually open the way for diplomatic relations with Israel, where no such provisions are provided for with Malaysia, but that which have placed many Arab countries in a tight corner in the past, leading to recognition of Israel.
- PACE call upon muslims from all over the world to close ranks and stand by the rights of the Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle to liberate their homeland and the holy al Aqsa mosque.
Kuala Lumpur , Tuesday 27 November 2007/17 Dzulqaedah 1428H