Palestinians look for independence like South Sudan

15:31, July 10, 2011      

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by Emad Drimly, Saud Abu Ramadan

The Palestinians had expressed hope that they would soon be able to end the Israeli military occupation and declare an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 as the Southern Sudanese people celebrated their independence on Saturday.

Palestinian officials urged the international parties to launch a similar diplomatic move to help the Palestinians end the Israeli military occupation and establish their independent Palestinian state.

Reyad al-Malki, minister of foreign affairs in the Palestinian caretaker government headed by Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, told the Ramallah-based Al-Ayyam Daily from South Sudan that he hopes his presence in the ceremony "would remind the world of the Palestinians and their just cause."

"The world has to pay attention to the Palestinians and understand that they have all the characteristics of an independent state," al-Malki said, adding "the thing which only obstruct them from declaring their independence is the presence of the Israeli military occupation on their lands."

A high-ranking Palestinian delegation headed by Fayyad had on Saturday joined the celebration of declaring the new state of South Sudan. Al-Malki said that he would grab this opportunity "to tell the world that South Sudan doesn't have the same characteristics of an independent state like the Palestinians."

On Saturday, South Sudan officially declared independence after it was separated from the Republic of Sudan. Its leaders hopes the independence would end decades of destructive wars.

Speaker of South Sudan Legislative Assembly James Wani Igga read Saturday the declaration of independence, where hundreds of thousands chanted slogans of joy and celebrated their independence. During the referendum to decide the fate of unity or division of Africa's largest country in January, nearly 99 percent of the voters approve the secession of the south from Sudan.

The Sudanese government and the international community recognized the referendum results which called for the independence of South Sudan. The support of the new Sudanese state was made as the Palestinians are seeking to apply to the UN in September to demand independence.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had earlier announced that he insisted to apply to the UN in September to demand an international recognition of an independent Palestinian state established on the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 war.

Despite Israeli and U.S. opposition to the Palestinian attitude, Abbas insisted on going to the UN in case the current Middle East peace process collapses. Abbas held the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responsible for the stalemate of the peace process.

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives warned the Palestinians that the United States would cut its aid in case they go to the UN in September to demand independence. The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Islamic Hamas movement rebuffed the warning.

The U.S. House had overwhelming voted with 406 to six for the decision. The lawmakers backed an earlier symbolic resolution sending a strict message to the Palestinians one week after the U. S. Senate approved a similar decision.

Senior U.S. officials had earlier informed the Palestinians that Washington opposes the Palestinian demand to gain an international recognition of a Palestinian state in the UN in September.

Hana Amira, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) member, told Xinhua that the celebrations for South Sudan independence are taking place as the Palestinians are still living under the Israeli occupation for around six decades. "Apparently, the decision is politically related," he said.

"I believe that after the experience of the Sudanese, the international community has to move towards backing the Palestinian right of self-determination and offering them a full independence, where the issue of the Sudanese is completely different from the Palestinian cause," said Amira.

Source: Xinhua
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