Forum for the Future of Democracy 2011
‘The Interdependence of Democracy and Social Cohesion’
Ms Majeda AL MASRI,
Minister of Social Affairs, Palestinian National Council
It is a great honour to be here with you today representing our country, Palestine, in the 7th Forum for the Future of Democracy entitled: "The Interdependence of Democracy and Social Cohesion”. This forum takes place directly after the signing of the partnership agreement 10 days ago in Strasbourg, by which the Palestinian National Council (Parliament of the Palestinian People in homeland and in diasporas) was granted partner for democracy status with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
We would also like to express our sincere appreciation and proudness for the resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly, calling on the 6 members of the Council of Europe, which are permanent members of the UN Security Council, to support the Palestinian request for full membership in the UN, which was submitted three weeks ago by the President of the State of Palestine ,the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Mr. Mahmoud Abbas. Today, 131 members of the United Nations have already recognized the State of Palestine on the basis of the 4th June 1967 borders.
We are proud to mention that 17 of them are member-states of the Council of Europe, whereas Palestine has established diplomatic relations with 24 other COE member-states. Several of these countries have expressed their willingness to recognize the State of Palestine at the appropriate time, and as our President Mahmoud Abbas stated in his speech to the UN and in Strasbourg: “We say to you all, sincerely, now is the appropriate time”.
Nowadays, we are living in the era of the Arab spring, the uprising of the Arab people expressing their desire for the establishment of freedom, democracy and social justice. The Council of Europe has supported the Arab spring, and we, Palestinians, always being at the heart of the Arab people’s aspirations for freedom, we declare that the time of the Palestinian Spring has arrived. We wish and have the right, like all other people in the world, to live in freedom and dignity. The Palestinian People are asking for freedom and the ending of the Israeli occupation, the last and longest occupation in the world.
The Palestinian Spring aims at achieving the prevalence of freedom from occupation, and have our independence state on the borders of 4thJune 1967 with east Jerusalem Capital and justice solution to the Palestinian refugees issue according to the United Nation resolutions in this connection, as well as to ensure the security and stability in the region. Europe has, by now, responsibly and generously supported the construction of Palestinian Infrastructure (building of strong state institutions), providing important financial assistance.
I avail myself of this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude for this considerable aid which will always be remembered with high appreciation from our people , but it is well known for you that sustainable development and even democracy cannot be achieved under military and settlement occupation . Recognition of the State of Palestine and support of the Palestine UN bid, is a means of protecting and ensuring the survival of all that has been achieved in the past years, and also a means of strengthening the position of Europe and its leading role in promoting the peace process and democracy in the region of the Middle East.