His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani bestowed his generous patronage on the inauguration of the 44th session of the Supreme Council of Their Majesties, Their Highnesses leaders and heads of delegations of GCC countries, which took place at the Sheraton Doha Hotel Tuesday.
His Highness the Amir, Chair of the session, gave a speech. Here is its transcript:
“In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, my fellow brothers Your Majesties and Highnesses, Your Excellencies, may God’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.
I offer you a sincere fraternal greeting and welcome you, dear brothers, to your second country, Qatar, among your kinfolk.
Allow me to express my deepest thanks to my brother, HM Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, of the sisterly Sultanate of Oman, for the appreciated efforts that he made during his presidency of the previous session of the Supreme Council and his keenness to strengthen the unity of the Co-operation Council and its accomplishments.
I also thank HE the secretary-general of the Gulf Co-operation Council, the assistant secretaries-general and the General Secretariat staff for their efforts in following up on the implementation of the decisions of the previous session and the good preparation for this summit.
We meet today, hoping that communication and understanding among the leaders will contribute to the development and reinforcement of joint Gulf action in a way that will achieve the interests of our countries and the aspirations of our peoples, underpin the regional and international status of the Gulf Co-operation Council, provide greater opportunities for growth and prosperity, and contribute to consolidating security and stability in the region and the world.
The accelerating international and regional variables necessitate persistent consultation and co-ordination between us in order to address them, avoid their consequences, and support our council’s accomplishments in various economic, security, social, and other fields. I am confident that the GCC countries are capable of reaching understanding and co-operation that can also contribute to resolving some regional issues.
Your Majesties and Highnesses, our summit convenes against the backdrop of unabated grave tragedy and unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe caused by the aggression against the brotherly Palestinian people, particularly our kinfolk in the Gaza Strip. All religious, moral and humanitarian standards and values have been violated in occupied Palestine by means of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the occupation forces.
It is unfortunate that, despite the disclosure of the scale of the crime, and the outbreak of public protests that took to the streets all over the world, some official circles still see the Palestinian people as ineligible for demanding a ceasefire.
It is disgraceful for the international community to allow this heinous crime to go on for nearly two months, during which a systematic and deliberate killing of innocent defenceless civilians, including women and children, continued. Entire families were removed from the civil registry. An already fragile infrastructure was targeted, cutting off supplies of electricity, water, food, fuel and medicine, and destroying hospitals, worship places, schools and vital facilities.
All of this is carried out under the pretext of self-defence, even though self-defence is inapplicable to the occupation under international law, yet this does not sanction the genocide crimes committed by Israel.
The massacres perpetrated by the occupation authorities against our brothers in the Gaza Strip deepen the feeling of injustice and impotence of international legitimacy. But, on the other side, this tragedy reflects the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, their insistence on obtaining all their legitimate rights, and the centrality of the Palestine cause.
All these tragedies could have been spared if Israel and its supporters had come to realise the fact that the cause of the Palestinian people cannot be marginalised, besides that the age of colonialism has come to an end, security is unattainable without lasting peace, and that both security and peace are unachievable without a just solution to this cause.
People all over the world wonder about the feasibility of the international community, and whether such an entity really exists. Why did it abandon the Palestinian children? Expressions such as double standards and two sets of rules have gone viral. This means that international legitimacy might have been victimised by this barbaric war.
We reiterate our condemnation of all forms of targeting civilians regardless of their nationalities, citizenships and religions, and we stress the need to provide them with protection in accordance with the provisions of international law and international humanitarian law. We call on the UN to necessarily conduct an international investigation into the massacres committed by the Israeli occupation authorities against the Palestinian people.
Your Majesties and Highnesses, based on our firm belief in humanitarian action, resolving disputes through peaceful means, as well as our duty towards our Ummah, and by the grace and aid of God Almighty, the mediation efforts of the State of Qatar have culminated in concluding a pause in the Gaza Strip, releasing some prisoners and detainees from both the Palestinian and Israeli sides, and delivering urgent humanitarian aid. We continue to work on extending or renewing it, to alleviate the burden on our kinfolk in the Gaza Strip. But pauses cannot replace a comprehensive ceasefire.
I reiterate my thanks here to the sisterly Arab Republic of Egypt and the United States of America for their close co-operation with us to reach and implement these pauses. We will make every effort, in co-operation with our international and regional partners, to convert them into a comprehensive cessation of Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people all over the Palestinian territories.
Your Majesties and Highnesses, the conflict in Palestine is neither a religious nor an issue of terrorism or war on terror, but rather, fundamentally, a national issue, an issue of conflict between the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian people who are reeling under occupation. It is an issue of settler colonialism that refuses to integrate into the region by reaching a compromise solution — a relatively fair solution with the indigenous people.
Therefore, the challenge does not lie in resolving the “Gaza issue,” as if it is a separate issue, or an Israeli security issue requiring security arrangements subjugating the Gaza Strip to its imperatives, but rather lies in ending the occupation and resolving the issue of the Palestinian people.
From this standpoint, we call on the Security Council, especially its permanent members, to assume its legal responsibility and act to end this barbaric war, and compel Israel to return to credible negotiations to achieve a just solution to the Palestinian issue in accordance with the resolutions of legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative through the two-state solution, which is the solution that has been accepted by the Palestinians and Arabs and agreed upon by the international community.
However, resorting to disinformation and deception in negotiations without an agreed-upon basis just to maintain an open-ended and infinite process will no longer deceive anyone. Because in the course of that process there was an expansion in terms of settlement and Judaisation of Jerusalem, tightening of Gaza siege.
Your Majesties and Highnesses, the continued crises facing some sisterly countries such as Libya, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Sudan pose a threat to social peace and the unity of these countries and their peoples. Once again, we call on all conflicting parties in these countries to prioritise national interests over factionalism in all its forms, recognise the states monopoly on legitimate violence, spare peoples from violence and fighting, and resort to dialogue to resolve differences and achieve the aspirations of their peoples for security, stability and development.
There are matters pertaining to citizen-state relations that have been historically settled in all parts of the world, and there are some functions such as legislation, the judiciary, and the monopoly of the legitimate violence, which are reserved to the state, and any attempt to usurp them from the state would only lead to sedition, chaos and civil wars.
I reiterate my welcome to all of you to your second country, and I pray to God Almighty to guide our steps and to help us all in achieving the goals of our summit for the benefit of our peoples.
May God’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.”
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