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Royal Message to Participants in the Fifth International Conference on Al-Quds


HM King Mohammed VI sent a message to participants in the 5th International Conference on Al-Quds, organized at the initiative of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, under the theme "The Question of Al-Quds after 50 Years of Occupation and 25 Years of the Oslo Accords", and which opened Tuesday in Rabat.

Here follows the full text of the speech that was read by minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita:

"Praise be to God

May peace and blessings be upon The Prophet, His Kith and Kin

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I should like to welcome to the Kingdom of Morocco all the participants in this Fifth International Conference on Al-Quds, which Rabat is proud to host.

First of all, I wish to reaffirm our strong commitment to the Palestinian cause as well as our unwavering support and full solidarity with our Palestinian brothers in keeping with the irreversible pledge Morocco has made to maintain its support until the Palestinian people regain their inalienable rights. The latter derive their legitimacy from international law, from facts on the ground and from historical evidence.

This session is very different from previous ones. It is taking place in a context marked by serious developments, namely the decision by the United States of America to recognize Al-Quds as the capital of Israel and to move its embassy there, which it did officially on 14 May 2018. We, in Morocco, immediately rejected this step and considered it to be incompatible with international law and with the relevant Security Council resolutions.

As Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, I foresaw that decision and therefore wrote to the President of the United States, Mr. Donald Trump, and to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres. In my letters, I emphasized that any modification of the legal, political or historical status of Al-Quds would have serious repercussions on peace in the region and would undermine international efforts to create an environment conducive to the resumption of peace negotiations with a view to finding a just, comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

I also informed my brother President Mahmoud Abbas that we reject the American decision and assured him of Morocco's full solidarity and its strong commitment to exert all possible efforts to rally international support to uphold the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to an independent State, with East Al-Quds as its capital.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The American decision is a step outside the bounds of international legitimacy; it undermines the frame of reference set by the relevant resolutions, diminishes the stature of the United Nations and puts security and stability at risk in the region and beyond.

Given the serious, disturbing developments which followed the American decision, I consider that the resolve shown to hold this session as planned attests to international awareness of the importance of overcoming all difficulties still hindering the settlement of this conflict. It also shows there is still hope of finding a way to achieve that settlement.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are a number of misconceptions regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It has been feeding on false, misleading ideas and has been governed by narrow-minded perceptions. All of that has made it a difficult, complex issue. Nevertheless, it is still possible to address it as a mere conflict which can be brought to an end, rather than as an inevitable destiny.

This is a conflict that can be resolved if delusions and nostalgia for the past are abandoned, and provided a sense of realism and confidence in the future prevail. What is required, therefore, is a rational approach to history through the unleashing of a constructive dynamic that charts the way forward towards a better future; what is needed is a break with negative, destructive ideas that take their proponents one step back.

This conflict has lasted for far too long, causing a great deal of sorrow and pain. It has caused and is still causing far too many innocent victims and has ruined many opportunities not only for development, but also for a free and safe life for many generations. It has also created deeper rifts and divisions within the international community.

What is even more serious is that the longer the conflict is allowed to go unresolved, the more difficult and complicated a settlement will become, and the greater and more disastrous the impact will be on the region and the world.

The duration of the conflict and the state of political stalemate it has been in since 2014 should not lead to apathy or indifference; nor should the stalemate lead to negative attitudes or unjust decisions that deepen the feelings of frustration and resentment among the Palestinians, plunging them into situations conducive to radicalism and despair.

In view of the above, the international community is duty-bound today to pool efforts at a faster pace so as to put the issue on the table with a view to reaching a negotiated, safe and fair settlement. This should be achieved through an orderly process based on a realistic vision and a specific timeline, using the existing frame of reference to which the parties concerned would commit in a serious, proactive and responsible manner.

The influential global powers, particularly the United States of America, and dominant regional countries, should each play their role in a responsible, equitable manner in their respective sphere of influence.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The lack of political prospects in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - which is compounded by unilateral decisions and practices the Palestinians find provocative - is the main reason for the tense situations that lead to acts of mutual violence and to the excessive use of force by the Israeli occupation forces.

This tension was clearly felt in the demonstrations which were held during the Great March of Return at the Gaza border and which were of a peaceful, symbolic nature. The Israeli occupation forces reacted to them by firing live bullets directly at the demonstrators, killing dozens and wounding hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians.

The Kingdom of Morocco immediately condemned and rejected this dangerous Israeli behavior which is incompatible with international law. Morocco also expressed deep sorrow at the tragic events which exacerbate human suffering among our Palestinian brothers.

As I was keen to help alleviate this suffering and demonstrate our concrete solidarity with our Palestinian brothers on the ground, during the holy month of Ramadan I launched a humanitarian initiative, which I supervised personally. It concerned the Gaza Strip and was later extended to Al-Quds Al-Sharif and Ramallah.

We have also set up a field hospital in the Gaza Strip, managed by the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces. It covers a range of medical specialties, including pediatrics, orthopedics, gastroenterology, ophthalmology and ear, nose and throat conditions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Many symposia and conferences have been held on Al-Quds. These are praiseworthy, welcome initiatives, so long as such events are based on solid foundations, their intent is sincere and they serve the cause, either through solidarity, insight and supportive stances, or through realistic, constructive recommendations.

However, I believe Al-Quds needs greater rallying of diplomatic efforts to secure binding international resolutions that protect the City and safeguard its spiritual, cultural and legal character. It also needs action on the ground to promote development in social and humanitarian fields to help Palestinians resist policies of displacement, eviction and expulsion applied against them.

This is the approach I have adopted as Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee through close, regular contacts with the leaders of the influential powers, with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and also through the continuous action on the ground, carried out, under my guidance and supervision, by Bayt Mal Al-Quds Al-Sharif. This institution has managed to implement many important economic and social projects in the holy city, in such areas as housing, education, health and social affairs as well as care for women, children, young people and groups in precarious situations.




Ladies and Gentlemen,

Al-Quds needs a realistic, equitable political settlement leading to the determination of the final status, through direct negotiations between the parties concerned based on the existing international frame of reference. The entire international community has a responsibility to shoulder in terms of working to achieve this settlement by putting the peace process back on track, by supervising it and by accompanying the two sides concerned.

The issue of Al-Quds does not concern a specific faith, people or country. It is a question that concerns two peoples and two states. Its settlement requires genuine political will, concerted efforts and the involvement of international sponsors, relying on their experience, clout, neutrality and the ability to exert influence.

This requires mobilizing the good will of all those concerned, within a unified framework, relying on a balanced collective mechanism that helps both parties to the conflict to abide by international law, international legitimacy and bilateral agreements and understandings, to refrain from predetermining solutions to any of the final status issues, particularly those relating to Al-Quds, refugees and borders, and to pledge to deal with these issues within the framework of final status negotiations.

Al-Quds has been and will remain a space for coexistence and tolerance - a collective heritage shared by the followers of the revealed religions. We must all preserve and safeguard it by being purposefully mobilized, exerting sincere efforts and proposing sound ideas.

To give concrete substance to this approach, which reflects the importance and universal, symbolic value of Al-Quds, I suggest that the convening of certain sessions of this international conference in countries outside the Arab and Islamic world be considered.

I pray that Almighty God grant you success in your efforts to promote peace and security."