Dr. Hanan Ashrawi: Accountability and Justice are the path to peace

“Fifty-three years ago, Israel usurped control over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. This illegal military occupation has defied all legal parameters, with Israel entrenching its colonial control over Palestinian land and rights through a systematic policy of displacement, replacement, and land grab,"member of the PLO Executive Committee Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement sent to Syria Times e-newspaper. 
 
She added: "For over half a century, Israel has been able to consistently and brazenly defy international law and inalienable Palestinian rights because the international community unduly afforded the occupation exceptional treatment and protection from accountability. Contrary to the legal, political, and moral obligations of states to uphold international law, they persisted in rewarding lawless Israeli behavior while demanding Palestinian acquiescence and docility. The result has been a toxic culture of impunity and the normalization of racial discrimination and brutal oppression.
 
This abdication of responsibility has encouraged Israel to trample on the foundational principles of international law and to negate the Palestinian people’s rights and identity, while expecting and even demanding a continuation of the very exceptionalism that created this culture of impunity.
 
Now, as Israel implements its annexation plans, the international community faces a sobering and decisive moment of truth. The community of nations must choose between the relevance of the international order and the continuation of Israeli exceptionalism. States either declare they are ready to accept an apartheid state and extraterritoriality or they stand up and exact consequences for such grave transgressions against international law. They cannot stand in a grey neutral area.
 
The Palestinian people have endured unspeakable suffering and oppression for nearly a century. But we have not wavered and we will not surrender to brutality and erasure. The Palestinian people will continue to stand tall, empowered by the justice of their struggle and the overwhelming international solidarity, which views the Palestinian cause for freedom, dignity, and prosperity as inseparable from the global struggle for human rights and social justice. Together with freedom defenders worldwide, we will continue to demand and work for justice and accountability because they are the cornerstones of peace. And we will prevail.”
 
Basma Qaddour
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