By Dr. Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
1. What are your futuristic views/expectations about Palestine State de- jure/de-facto sovereignty to full independence in the days to come?
We are still rigorously working to achieve that specific goal. In the past, we were succeeded to accomplish many goals in this direction, including international recognition from 139 countries. We have become a non-member state of the United Nations; which has treated us as a state under occupation. We do have diplomatic relations with most of the world countries. It is worth mentioning here that Palestine has already established the necessary institutions to transform the Palestinian state into main stream of the region as well as the world with the help of the international community and its various institutions. It has been gigantic efforts on our part during this infinite voyage we signed international treaties and joined various international agencies. Overall we stand by our people to establish their rights and build their independent state on the soil of Palestine.
2. Would you please share with us strategic importance and utility of Palestinian National Authority (PNA) for achieving its desired goals of socio-economic prosperity and wider recognition in the world?
Palestinian National Authority (PNA) established our private and public institutions to build a strong and independent Palestinian economy in order to attract and encourage local as well as international investments by promoting trustworthy partnerships with different countries of the world. We enhanced Palestinian exports to most of the world’s markets. We also got membership in the World Trade Organization (WHO) and others important financial and monetary organizations of the world. For greater regional socio-economic prosperity and integration we signed trade and economic agreements with dozens of friendly and brotherly countries.
Unfortunately, the “Paris Economic Agreements” between Palestine and Israel has ruined our collective efforts of achieving greater economic stability and sustainability due to which we have recently asked France the sponsor of the Paris Agreement to reconsider the articles of the said treaty, which has been signed two decades before. We have also stressed the need to liberalize the regime of imports and exports.
We have agreed with the Turkish Republic to establish various industrial zones on the borders of the regions between us and the occupation force for which the work has already been started according to the agreed agenda. Furthermore, other industrial zones have also been established with the cooperation and partnership of the People’s Republic of China. Moreover, for greater “Arial Connectivity” and further development of aviation industry the Quartet [International Quartet] wants to rebuild the Palestinian airport in Gaza and allow us to use a Qalandiya airport which is under Israel’s control and we are working to build an international airport in the West Bank, according to agreements.
3. Continued ongoing conflicts between Hamas (Gaza Strip) and Fata (West Bank) has divided the Palestinian society and politics alike. What steps need to be initiated for a common cause for the larger betterment of its people and government in the future?
The key to resolve this perpetual political conflict may be settled or rectified with the strategic vision of His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President. He called for legislative and presidential elections in which all Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem must participate, beside the implementation of the recently agreed accord between the two major Palestinian factions (Fatah and Hamas) and the rest of the factions on the ground.
4. What is the salient feature and composition of Palestinian Legislative Council?
The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) is the unicameral legislature of the Palestinian Authority, elected by the Palestinian residents of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It currently comprises 132 members, elected from 16 electoral districts of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Legislative Council acts as a Parliament whereas, the responsibility of enacting legislation and oversight over the executive authority are now its duties. It is represented by enacting laws, modifying it, and cancelling it.
The basic law to which all Palestinians are officially governed is the election law, which has framed an independent election commission. The decisions of the Palestinian National Council (parliament) are binding on all Palestinians parliamentary and legislative elections. Independence and separation of the three authorities, judicial, legislative and executive powers have been followed in its true spirits.
5. OIC has been supporting just cause of Palestine. What OIC should extend more for Palestine and its people in the near future?
Right from the beginning the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has been supporting the Palestinian cause mainly the Jerusalem issue, the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and providing moral and material support for the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, especially in occupied Jerusalem. In its meeting held in Istanbul (2018) the members of the OIC declared that criminal acts of Israeli forces constitute savage crimes with the backing of the U.S. Administration, including through shielding the Israeli occupation in the UN Security Council from accountability; also noted that these crimes have been committed against the backdrop of the illegal decision by the U.S. Administration to officially move its embassy from Israel to the occupied City of Jerusalem, which has further emboldened the Israeli government in its reckless behavior towards civilian Palestinian population. Proceeding from the historical, moral and legal responsibility placed on the Muslim Ummah and in full solidarity with Palestine and its people, the declaration also condemned in the strongest terms the criminal actions of Israeli forces against the Palestinian people. The declaration emphasized that “the central mission and raison d’etre of the OIC is protecting the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, its historic and legal status, its spiritual place, and to take all necessary measures to put an end to the violations committed by Israel and any party that supports this regime and its colonial and racist policies.
For achieving greater moral, diplomatic and of course political support, we are planning to invite the Islamic World Organization countries to visit Palestine, Al-Aqsa Mosque the first Muslim Qibla.
6. Do you satisfy with the Arab’s League contribution in protecting/projecting and safeguarding the basic interests of Palestine especially “Two Nation State” solution?
As a full member of the League Arab States, we have experienced all its unanimous decisions in support of the Palestinian right and the establishment of its independent state. They may have some differences among themselves, but they are still focused, determined and united in their pledges/views towards the resolve of Palestinian issue, wishing to increase efforts aimed at lifting injustice against our people and jointly working to build our independent state.
7. Ongoing crisis in the Gulf Cooperation Council has undermined Palestine status. Do you agree to it?
As I said before, Palestine is the common denominator among all our Arab brothers, so we wish immediate reunification, conflict resolution, harmony, peace and trust among all our brothers.
8. From ancient prophecies to modern profit orientation of modern state, politics and economy, how do you evaluate unending struggle of Palestine people against aggression, political isolation economic marginalization and social alienation?
Our loyal people have been confronting the Israeli occupation for so many years. It has been unending journey during which hundreds of thousands innocent people have been martyred, wounded and kept in prisoners. We have also been victim of state terrorism and racist policies of Israel. Constant apartheid policies of Israel has badly damaged basic core of the society. Nevertheless, it has been vivid reflection our collective struggle, determination, nationalism, patriotic spirits and above all political means to defend our rights of independence despite all hurdles. With the passage of time, Israeli occupation has been further strengthened which is still being implemented and making lives of common Palestinians miserable and crestfallen. Israeli policy of annexation and grabbing of land from the real owners (Palestinians) have been creating havocs in the lives of our people. The Israel forces have been wagging unstoppable human siege, cruelty, brutality, drastic demographic decomposition, social and political marginalization, alienation, and ruthless killing in our home land. Israel forces are also engaged to destroy our limited resources of human survival in shape of SME, agriculture, demolition of comfort zones (houses/homes) and building, massive displacement, harming natural harmony and racist separation walls etc. According to World Bank report restrictions on Palestinian movement and access have serious repercussions on its fragile national economy.
Despite all hurdles we are still fighting against all odds and still hold the flag of steadfastness and hope that one day siege of darkness and injustice may be over. We will never give up.
9. What are your valuable inputs about the struggling people of occupied Kashmiris and their rights of self-determination?
The world and humanity stand against injustice everywhere. We believe that the solution of Kashmir problem is in implementation of UN resolutions and agreements signed by the countries.
10. What diversified but integrated steps have been taken by Israel to harm Palestinian agriculture, SME, and business organizations?
The Israeli government continued to enforce severe and discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians’ human rights; economic mobility and restrict the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip; and facilitate the unlawful transfer of Israeli citizens to settlements in the occupied West Bank. The illegal Israeli blockade has been in place for more than a decade. The occupation forces do not spare any effort to harm the Palestinian people and its components, including destroying their properties, stealing their wealth and giving free hands to settlers in uprooting trees and harassing Palestinian farmers. They also use to push herds of pigs to our agricultural crops sabotage them all, as well as the destruction of vegetables and agricultural facilities we have. They use to damage our exports, especially roses, fruits, and seasonal vegetables in different ways. The occupation army is also putting obstacles in front of our small and medium-sized companies regarding imports, exports and construction. In spite of all this, we have many achievements in the fields of agriculture and small industries. Because of these obstacles some countries use to visit our land purchasing our products directly.
11. In the age of social media and dawn of enhanced digital connectivity, do you think that Palestine diaspora should play a vital for the Palestine’s struggle towards “Two Nation State”?
Our Palestinian communities, living in more than 140 countries around the world, are making great efforts to preserve their Palestinian culture and their hopes to return back to their own native land. We are living in the age of digitalization, automation and computerization in which artificial intelligence plays very important role to achieve greater levels of connectivity. We need a universal support from our Palestinian diaspora for achieving our desired goals.
12. How statesmanship of President H.E. Mahmoud Abbas has contributed good things for the cause of Palestine?
The Palestinian President has vast experience of politics and diplomacy. He has good relations with most of the world’s leaders, which granted him the distinguished ability to represent our Palestinian cause in all international forums, which has had a positive effect on the entire Palestinian cause, land and people too.
13. In his recent speech to the UN General Assembly, Mr. Abbas strongly rejected the “arrogant” pre-election announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s of an “illegal plan” to annex and apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and other Occupied Palestinian Territories. What are your opinions on it?
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has succeeded to expose Israeli racism led by the Israeli Prime Minister in his continuing crimes against the Palestinian territories, by seizing illegal land grabbing in the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, which contradicts all international laws and resolutions.
14. The 193-member United Nations General Assembly allowed the Palestinians to act more like a full U.N. member state during meetings in 2019 and chaired the group of 77 developing nations. How do you respond it?
We have been nominated to chair the G 77 + China which shows our national and international efforts for world peace and harmony. We succeeded this chairmanship despite all the obstacles imposed by the occupation machineries and its supporters against us.
15. What are strategic flaws in so-called “Deal of the Century” sponsored by the USA?
The so-called Century Deal is one of the United States conspiracies to support Israel. With the support of the US President Trump Jews are now attempting to undermine the basis of a two-state solution and to cut off the continuity of the old state of Palestine. The aim of so called deal of the century is to completely eliminate the Palestinian cause. This conspiracy has been rejected by our Palestinian people and free people of the world, which have forced President Trump not to announce this deal.
16. In recent times, Israel has waged a reckless racist war against everything Palestinian”, from demolishing homes to assaulting clergy and legislating racist laws to denying access to holy places. What do you expect from the US, EU and UN to stop these inhumane acts of violence and genocide against poor Palestinians?
We thank the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) for their political and humanitarian commitments and support towards the Palestinian rights in harmony with international justice and United Nations resolutions, hoping to redouble their efforts to confront those who are out of the international law.
We also wish the European Union countries to get recognized Palestine State especially countries responsible for settling Israeli on our land. We urge them to apologize, compensate and recognize us as a country.
We also call on the American Administration to act with complete neutrality, as it is a great country and should respect Palestine laws, heritage and culture. I recall here the speech of the great social activist Martin Luther King, who said, “Injustice is the injustice of any spot in the world. If justice prevails, then injustice must be eliminated.
17. What is Palestine’s official stance about shifting of Israel capital? Do you think it is another Israel planned step or brutal policy of annexation?
Palestinians strongly reject the occupation of their land and condemn any changes of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Palestine, Israel army and settlers desecrate the Islamic and Christian holy places on daily basis.
18. Government of Pakistan has already announced its official stance to normalize ties with Israel until and unless resolution of Palestine issue. What are your opinions on it?
We appreciate Pakistan’s great role standing always by our side in supporting our rights. We respect the words of the founder of Pakistan, the great leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah, when he rejected the Israeli presence on Palestinian soil and promised to defend the land and people of Palestine as long as Pakistan remained (long live Pakistan), as well as the courageous positions inherited by all Pakistani leaders and people till today.
19. Do you have any road map for the further strengthening of bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries?
Pakistan and Palestinian have a very close and political relationship. The PLO was first recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians at an Islamic summit in Lahore in February 1974. This was approved six months later at an Arab summit in Rabat. PLO missions in Karachi and Islamabad received full diplomatic recognition in 1975. Now it is the desire/directive of the Palestinian leadership to further strengthening of bilateral relations in all the diversified fields with Pakistan being a staunch support of our national cause.
Therefore, preparations are now being underway for signing MOUs agreements and memoranda of understanding, headed by the joint Supreme Committee between the two countries, as well as there are bright prospects of future mutual cooperation in the sectors of education, health, agriculture, industry, sports, youth and other areas, in order to reach the highest level of cooperation in all aspects.
As for the parliamentary and legislative relations, we are in the process of developing relations and exchanging visits between the two countries.
On the economic and commercial levels, the Palestinian leadership’s has specific polices/plans/programs to further diversification of its economy and resources. We would like to establish enhanced trade relations with Pakistan by extended cooperation in various fields of human survival, production channels, science and technology, infrastructural development, communications and agro-based industries etc.
As for the health sector is concerned, Pakistan has comparative advantage which may be utilized to further develop the Palestine health sector. The coordination and cooperation between Pakistan Ministry of Health, Pakistan Red Crescent and the International Palestine Development Agency will be further strengthened in the days to come.
20. What is your message to people of Pakistan?
I am honored to represent my country Palestine, in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which has played a major role in supporting the Palestinian people from the very beginning. It is a great honor that the Palestinians who graduated from various Pakistani universities have now exceeded 50,000. They are now serving their country, their people, and the people of some other countries.
I congratulate this brotherly country with its diverse terrain, climate and a people who are mostly youth, who represent the promising future, and I am sure that Pakistan will soon be among the leading countries of this world.
My message to my Pakistani brothers and sisters is that to keep their spirits of love, compassion, peace and unity high for ever. I wish Pakistan’s progress and prosperity.
I promise you that I will project soft image of Pakistan in my country, and I will also work on transferring Palestine to Pakistan by all means. Thank you so much and accept my utmost respect and appreciation. “Pakistan Palestine brotherhood Zindabad”.