19 May 2018

Africa: Palestine Opts for AU, Ethiopia to Mediate Israel Quandary Instead of U.S.

Photo: allafrica.com
Flags of Palestine (top-left), Ethiopia (top-right), U.S. (bottom-left), Israel (bottom-right).

The Palestinian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Nasri Abujaish (PhD), called on Ethiopia and the African Union to engage in peace talks with Israel, as his country will no longer accept the US as a neutral negotiator after the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem.

The Ambassador announced this during a press conference held on the 15th of May 2018, to condemn the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

"Ethiopia's relation with the Arab world as well as being the seat of the African Union and the political capital of the continent; we accept Ethiopia as a negotiator in the peace talks," Abujaish said.

It was on Monday, May 14, 2018 that the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem affirming the December 2017 recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by president Donald Trump. Despite a huge push from the US, a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly to nullify US's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel passed with 128 nations voting in favor of the resolution. Ethiopia was among the countries that voted in favor of the resolution.

"We thank Ethiopia for every support it has been providing since the early days at the UN and we expect them to carry-on their support in the future," Abujaish said.

Abujaish also indicated that the measure of the US to recognize Jerusalem and move its embassy was in full transgression of the UN resolutions that provided for the fate of Jerusalem be solely decided upon by an agreement between Palestine and Israel.

"We consider the act by the US as a colonial occupation of a sovereign nation and it is against all the UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions," he said.

To the maximum, the UN resolutions acknowledge that Jerusalem can serve as a capital for both Palestine and Israel given the two nations agree to sit on the eastern and western part of the city of Jerusalem.

But, as the western part of the city is rich in historical sites; Islamic, Jewish and Christian and a walled ancient city, both claim belongingness of that section of Jerusalem. And Israel's continuous settlement programs in west bank and Gaza have sparked conflicts and death of innumerable number of civilians.

In its meeting held following the decision of the US to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Arab League condemned the decision by the US. Speaking at the League, King Salman of Saudi Arabia also condemned the act by the US and pledged USD 150 million for the restoration of Islamic heritages in Western Jerusalem.

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