Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Moussa met with Nabil Shaath, member of Fatah’s Central Committee in charge of International Relations, in Cairo, where they discussed the spectrum of developments related to the Palestinian issue.
In the meeting, which took place in the Secretariat of the Arab League, Shaath presented Moussa with the developments that have been taking place in the Palestinian arena.
Shaath discussed the situation in light of the continuing Israeli siege of Gaza and the lack of Israeli cooperation on the peace process, and most notably the continued programme of settlement building.
The meeting touched on important regional developments, such as the widespread demands for change and the implications of the Egyptian revolution. Shaath stressed that the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people will always stand by Egypt’s side and will appreciate Egyptian support for their cause.
In a press conference after the meeting, Shaath said that a visit to the Secretary General of the Arab League is an important part of any visit to Egypt since it represents Arab diplomacy and Arab politics, insisting on the need for all the support that Moussa can provide as the Secretary General of the League.
“We are in a situation which requires support, because we are facing an Israeli occupation, and there is no hope currently in any negotiations with this occupation,” said Shaath.
“This is because it does not recognize the framework of the peace process, nor does it understand the urgency of implementing what has been agreed upon before, above all completely halting settlement building, ending the siege of Gaza and the Judaization of Jerusalem.”
Shaath emphasized the point, arguing that the framework of the peace process is supported by UN Resolution 242, which stipulates the withdrawal from all the territory Israel occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem.
He asserted that any agreement must wholly terminate the Israeli occupation.
“We are now out of negotiations and in a strategic framework of popular struggle and its escalation, also boycotting Israel and its merchandise and working to obtain more recognition of an independent Palestinian State inside the June 1967 borders, the capital of which is Jerusalem,” said Shaath.
Shaath emphasized the occupied status of Palestinian territories, rejecting the claim that their status is “disputed,” adding that the responsibility of the Palestinian authority is to work in all international arenas, whether the International Court of Justice, or the International Criminal Court, in order to file cases against Israel for undertaking racist practices.
Shaath said that European projects are needed which are not a part of the Quartet on the Middle East, which is controlled by American pressure and veto.
“What we are striving for is a real peace that stands on a clear framework and is based on the 1967 borders,” Shaath said.
Shaat affirmed his appreciation of the Arab revolutions, making clear that the Palestinian leadership considers Egypt to be the fortress of Arab leadership, and a momentous supporter of the Palestinian cause.
Shaath said he believes that Egypt will now be much stronger, and better able to support the Palestinian cause. He also said that Palestine is an integral part of the Egyptian struggle and of its national security.
Shaath clarified that the current circumstances call for a speedy organization of the Palestinian position. He said that on many occasions the Palestinian leadership had accepted an Egyptian working paper on the subject, and accepted all Hamas’ reservations towards it, and that the leadership has accepted a national unity government whose mission was to implement what was laid down in the Egyptian paper.
Shaath stated that the Palestinian leadership would accept the participation of both factions in this government according to the result of the elections, so as not to exclude anyone.
He also cited the leadership’s efforts in Europe to remove Hamas from the list of designated terrorist organizations, and their efforts to obtain European recognition of any future unity government in Palestine that Hamas and other factions participate in.
The Palestinian leadership, according to Shaath, is making a serious effort to end the Gaza siege and to open the Gaza port and the Rafah crossing into Gaza as well as all crossings around the strip.
“We have agreed on all that Hamas have asked for and their reservations about the Egyptian paper, so what is keeping them?” asked Shaath.
“Every Palestinian or Arab must ask this question,” Shaath added, voicing his worries about the possibility that Hamas has different calculations in mind when it comes to the Arab revolution than Fatah, stating that the Palestinian leadership sees in those revolutions a fundamental demand for the achievement of unity.
In answer to a question about the implications of the American veto on the Palestinian cause, Shaath replied that he was not surprised by it, but was happy since it showed the true colours of Washington, and that the United States stands alone in the middle of the 14 states that are members of the Security Council.
Shaath pointed to the importance of the British, German and French positions on the situation, especially given that Britain has never before voted against the American veto.