Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Shtayyeh affirmed that Qatar is an important and fundamental supporter of the Palestinian cause, politically, morally, and materially, pointing out that his visit to Doha came to request the continuation of Doha’s honourable stances to complete Palestinian reconciliation and contribute to achieving positive results in this matter after it played an important role in stopping the recent aggression against the Palestinians in Jerusalem and Gaza.
In an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), the Palestinian prime minister noted that there is understanding and harmony at the highest levels between the Qatari and Palestinian leaderships and there are mutual visits and constant communication between the two sides to co-ordinate in all international forums, in the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council as well as international affairs and the Arab League issues. He stressed that Qatar always stands with the Palestinian ranks and supports two major and sensitive issues, Jerusalem, which is an icon for the Palestinian people, and provides aid to the Palestinian people to strengthen their steadfastness.
He added that Qatar paid a great price for its stance against the so-called ‘deal of the century’ and for supporting the Palestinian stance, pointing to the extent of the pressure that Qatar was subjected to for standing with the Palestinian issues against the annexation of Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley and the ‘deal of the century’.
He pointed out that Qatar has provided the Gaza Strip in the past years with more than $1.6bn, in the form of development projects, buildings, infrastructure and cash, which enhances people’s ability to adapt to the difficult situation they are living in due to the blockade.
Shtayyeh added that Qatar has supported the Palestinians at the diplomatic, political, material, and moral levels on international, Arab, and national platforms, and contributed to the convergence of views to complete the Palestinian reconciliation.
Qatar has played an important role in facilitating reaching an agreement on the Palestinian elections, that were to be held in May 2021, but Israel placed all obstacles to thwart the possibility of carrying it out, he added.
He expressed surprise at those who claim that the aid provided to the Gaza Strip increases the Palestinian division, welcoming all forms of support for the Palestinian people wherever they are, adding that any support will alleviate suffering and injustice, create job opportunities, strengthen infrastructure, and help the poor.
Regarding the aims of the visit, the Palestinian prime minister explained that his visit to Doha at this time aims to extend thanks and gratitude to Qatar and His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, for his political, moral, and material stance with the Palestinian people and their cause in general, and Jerusalem in particular, as well as informing the Qatari leadership of the results of the brutal Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip as it played an important role in ending the aggression.
Also, he is conveying a letter of thanks to His Highness the Amir from President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas that reflects his appreciation for these stances.
He stated that the visit also seeks to consult with the Qatari leadership and exchange views on how to fill the “political vacuum” in the Palestinian cause, re-spin the political wheel, and transfer the current situation from “peace diplomacy” to a serious and real “peace process” based on international law and international legitimacy, in addition to informing the Qatari leadership of the reconstruction process in the Gaza Strip, strengthening bilateral relations between Qatar and Palestine, and consulting on the course of affairs in the region.
He underlined that bilateral relations are historic and rooted, as the office of the Palestine Liberation Organisation was opened in Doha in 1965, and when independence was declared in 1988, Qatar was one of the first countries to recognise Palestine, adding that the Palestinian community in Doha enjoys full patronage, expressing hope that these relations continue to develop.
Shtayyeh added that the Palestinian Authority seeks to keep the attention of the Palestinian cause at the highest level as what happened in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip pushed the Palestinian cause to the top of the international priorities, therefore, there were contacts from the US president, visits by the American, British, and German foreign ministers, and multiple meetings with President Abbas.
Regarding the timing of the visit, Shtayyeh clarified that the visit to Qatar comes within several visits to Jordan, Kuwait and Oman, to communicate and exchange views, especially after a new US administration and the ceasefire, which he seeks to be permanent.
He referred to the Egyptian call for a Palestinian-Palestinian dialogue next week, in which he said that they want this dialogue to bring about serious and real results, in addition to the existence of important changes in the region, national reconciliation with its brothers, and the return of Arab cohesion to serve the depth of the Palestinian cause, because the strength and momentum of the cause come from the Arabs and their one coherent position, just as there is a new government and Netanyahu is relieved, even though all Israeli governments are similar.
On the real reasons for postponing the Palestinian legislative elections, and whether there is hope for holding them soon, the Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh, explained that President Mahmoud Abbas announced the date of the elections to restore the democratic norms of the Palestinian institution and to make the elections an entry point to end the division and unite the people under the parliament, pointing out that the Palestinian Authority provided everything needed by the electoral process.
But before the start of the election campaigns, Israel officially announced that it would not allow elections to take place in Jerusalem.
He indicated that what is known as the “deal of the century” is based on the annexation of Jerusalem to Israel, and if the Palestinian authorities agree to transfer the elections, that means agreeing to that deal, so the elections were postponed until the new Israeli government is formed and international and regional pressures are used to urge Israel to agree to the establishment of the elections, adding that if they refuse, the Palestinian authorities will try again and again to complete the electoral process, including the legislative and presidential elections, and to complete the formation of the Palestinian National Council (PNC).
On the position of the new US administration on the Palestinian issue, the Palestinian prime minister’s state explained that it has shown good initiatives, it announced that it will open the US Consulate in Jerusalem, a very important political step and will refinance and support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), as well as the embassy of Palestine in Washington, ready to hear ideas on the political track, just as it stands against settlements and not with the annexation of Jerusalem and rejects the deal of the century and all this talk is very important, pointing out that it has already begun to implement these resolutions, it promised to give UNRWA $150mn support the Palestinian Authority with projects and help hospitals in Jerusalem, but so far has no political initiatives.
He stated that as Arabs, they want to engage in a political path and not continue in the case of a monopoly on the peace process by one party (the US administration), and for there to be an international reference to the issue, especially since the American-Israeli relationship makes the US keen on Israel’s interest without considering the suffering of the Palestinians, adding that President Abu Mazen presented an initiative at the UN in 2017, in which he called for an international conference in which the International Quartet and some Arab countries and countries of the world would participate, because the important thing is not to remain hostages of a political track that the United States monopolises, but rather want the track to be broader and more comprehensive.
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