Gaza blockade must end says Davutuglu at UN meeting in Istanbul 26May10 May 29, 2010

Today’s Zaman -  26 May 2010

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said Israel should respect the fundamental and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and end the blockade on Gaza.

“Turkey does not want the current situation in Palestine that resembles a modern ghetto to continue and wants all practices that threaten humanitarian rights there to be stopped,” the top Turkish diplomat noted. “The blockade on Gaza must come to an end. This is and will be our policy,” he added.

Davutoğlu reiterated Turkey’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and support for them to have a normal life on the land in which they are the indigenous inhabitants. He was speaking at a press conference following the first session of a two-day meeting of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People that started in İstanbul on Tuesday. Davutoğlu said it was a significant development and also meaningful that the meeting had convened in Turkey.

The committee was established in 1975 as a subsidiary body to the UN General Assembly with a mandate to promote the Palestinians’ national rights.

Davutoğlu stressed that the Palestinian issue has an internationally strategic dimension, but for Turkey, it is, above all, a humanitarian issue. “We want the children of Gaza and the West Bank, just like children in other parts of the world, to look to the future with hope. We want Palestinian people to be allowed to be connected with the outside world so that they can fulfill their needs,” he added.

The Gaza Strip has been under a tightened Israeli and Egyptian economic blockade since 2007 when the Hamas movement took over the territory after being elected in the 2006 elections. The blockade was enforced to put pressure on Hamas and to stop weapons being smuggled in.

In response to a question regarding the Turkish government’s reaction if Israel prevents the humanitarian aid ships that will set sail for Gaza on Thursday from reaching their destination, Davutoğlu said they were not expecting a crisis over the matter. “We are hoping that tension will not arise over there. Similar civilian initiatives have been formulated at certain times relating to different issues in the past, too, and they were generally received with understanding because of their civilian character. We hope and expect Israel and the NGOs to behave with common sense here as well,” Davutoğlu said. The Israeli Defense Ministry earlier said they would prevent the fleet from arriving at the port of Gaza.

Nine ships will depart from Antalya to carry humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Volunteers from over 50 countries will be on board the ships in an attempt to show a civilian reaction to the blockade in Gaza.

Speaking to Today’s Zaman on the sidelines of the meeting, a foreign ministry official said it was not clear what would happen to the ships. “The thing is we do not have a rational government on the part of Israel, so we cannot anticipate what they will do,” the official said, also adding that they had underlined the move’s civilian character and explained to Israel that it was not an “armada.”

Davutoğlu assessed the Palestinian issue in the speech he delivered at the meeting’s first session. He started his address by acknowledging the Palestinians’ long-standing plight. “Today, the fulfillment of the rightful aspirations of the Palestinian people to establish a homeland has become all the more essential. There is no more room to maneuver to further deny their legitimate rights,” he said. In that regard, he noted that the launching of proximity talks between Palestine and Israel was a positive step. He stressed the significance of the maintenance of talks and said unilateral and provocative actions should not be allowed to disrupt the process. “Especially, Israel should be obliged to act with common sense so as not to hinder the re-launching of the direct talks,” he stated, adding that a substantial part of the burden has to be shouldered by the international community.

“There should be a strong international commitment toward Palestinian statehood with clear objectives, clear terms of reference for the negotiations and time frames,” Davutoğlu said.

He expressed his hopes for the prospect of peace in the Middle East in general, too. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, while the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty,” he said, and added that he preferred to be an optimist. “I firmly believe that it is high time for all of us to unite our ranks and overcome the hurdles along our way to create a peaceful, secure, stable and prosperous region which we all deserve,” he concluded.

“Turkey does not want the current situation in Palestine that resembles a modern ghetto to continue and wants all practices that threaten humanitarian rights there to be stopped,” the top Turkish diplomat noted. “The blockade on Gaza must come to an end. This is and will be our policy,” he added.

Davutoğlu reiterated Turkey’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and support for them to have a normal life on the land in which they are the indigenous inhabitants. He was speaking at a press conference following the first session of a two-day meeting of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People that started in İstanbul on Tuesday. Davutoğlu said it was a significant development and also meaningful that the meeting had convened in Turkey.

The committee was established in 1975 as a subsidiary body to the UN General Assembly with a mandate to promote the Palestinians’ national rights.

Davutoğlu stressed that the Palestinian issue has an internationally strategic dimension, but for Turkey, it is, above all, a humanitarian issue. “We want the children of Gaza and the West Bank, just like children in other parts of the world, to look to the future with hope. We want Palestinian people to be allowed to be connected with the outside world so that they can fulfill their needs,” he added.

The Gaza Strip has been under a tightened Israeli and Egyptian economic blockade since 2007 when the Hamas movement took over the territory after being elected in the 2006 elections. The blockade was enforced to put pressure on Hamas and to stop weapons being smuggled in.

In response to a question regarding the Turkish government’s reaction if Israel prevents the humanitarian aid ships that will set sail for Gaza on Thursday from reaching their destination, Davutoğlu said they were not expecting a crisis over the matter. “We are hoping that tension will not arise over there. Similar civilian initiatives have been formulated at certain times relating to different issues in the past, too, and they were generally received with understanding because of their civilian character. We hope and expect Israel and the NGOs to behave with common sense here as well,” Davutoğlu said. The Israeli Defense Ministry earlier said they would prevent the fleet from arriving at the port of Gaza.

Nine ships will depart from Antalya to carry humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Volunteers from over 50 countries will be on board the ships in an attempt to show a civilian reaction to the blockade in Gaza.

Speaking to Today’s Zaman on the sidelines of the meeting, a foreign ministry official said it was not clear what would happen to the ships. “The thing is we do not have a rational government on the part of Israel, so we cannot anticipate what they will do,” the official said, also adding that they had underlined the move’s civilian character and explained to Israel that it was not an “armada.”

Davutoğlu assessed the Palestinian issue in the speech he delivered at the meeting’s first session. He started his address by acknowledging the Palestinians’ long-standing plight. “Today, the fulfillment of the rightful aspirations of the Palestinian people to establish a homeland has become all the more essential. There is no more room to maneuver to further deny their legitimate rights,” he said. In that regard, he noted that the launching of proximity talks between Palestine and Israel was a positive step. He stressed the significance of the maintenance of talks and said unilateral and provocative actions should not be allowed to disrupt the process. “Especially, Israel should be obliged to act with common sense so as not to hinder the re-launching of the direct talks,” he stated, adding that a substantial part of the burden has to be shouldered by the international community.

“There should be a strong international commitment toward Palestinian statehood with clear objectives, clear terms of reference for the negotiations and time frames,” Davutoğlu said.

He expressed his hopes for the prospect of peace in the Middle East in general, too. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, while the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty,” he said, and added that he preferred to be an optimist. “I firmly believe that it is high time for all of us to unite our ranks and overcome the hurdles along our way to create a peaceful, secure, stable and prosperous region which we all deserve,” he concluded.

“Turkey does not want the current situation in Palestine that resembles a modern ghetto to continue and wants all practices that threaten humanitarian rights there to be stopped,” the top Turkish diplomat noted. “The blockade on Gaza must come to an end. This is and will be our policy,” he added.

Davutoğlu reiterated Turkey’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and support for them to have a normal life on the land in which they are the indigenous inhabitants. He was speaking at a press conference following the first session of a two-day meeting of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People that started in İstanbul on Tuesday. Davutoğlu said it was a significant development and also meaningful that the meeting had convened in Turkey.

The committee was established in 1975 as a subsidiary body to the UN General Assembly with a mandate to promote the Palestinians’ national rights.

Davutoğlu stressed that the Palestinian issue has an internationally strategic dimension, but for Turkey, it is, above all, a humanitarian issue. “We want the children of Gaza and the West Bank, just like children in other parts of the world, to look to the future with hope. We want Palestinian people to be allowed to be connected with the outside world so that they can fulfill their needs,” he added.

The Gaza Strip has been under a tightened Israeli and Egyptian economic blockade since 2007 when the Hamas movement took over the territory after being elected in the 2006 elections. The blockade was enforced to put pressure on Hamas and to stop weapons being smuggled in.

In response to a question regarding the Turkish government’s reaction if Israel prevents the humanitarian aid ships that will set sail for Gaza on Thursday from reaching their destination, Davutoğlu said they were not expecting a crisis over the matter. “We are hoping that tension will not arise over there. Similar civilian initiatives have been formulated at certain times relating to different issues in the past, too, and they were generally received with understanding because of their civilian character. We hope and expect Israel and the NGOs to behave with common sense here as well,” Davutoğlu said. The Israeli Defense Ministry earlier said they would prevent the fleet from arriving at the port of Gaza.

Nine ships will depart from Antalya to carry humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Volunteers from over 50 countries will be on board the ships in an attempt to show a civilian reaction to the blockade in Gaza.

Speaking to Today’s Zaman on the sidelines of the meeting, a foreign ministry official said it was not clear what would happen to the ships. “The thing is we do not have a rational government on the part of Israel, so we cannot anticipate what they will do,” the official said, also adding that they had underlined the move’s civilian character and explained to Israel that it was not an “armada.”

Davutoğlu assessed the Palestinian issue in the speech he delivered at the meeting’s first session. He started his address by acknowledging the Palestinians’ long-standing plight. “Today, the fulfillment of the rightful aspirations of the Palestinian people to establish a homeland has become all the more essential. There is no more room to maneuver to further deny their legitimate rights,” he said. In that regard, he noted that the launching of proximity talks between Palestine and Israel was a positive step. He stressed the significance of the maintenance of talks and said unilateral and provocative actions should not be allowed to disrupt the process. “Especially, Israel should be obliged to act with common sense so as not to hinder the re-launching of the direct talks,” he stated, adding that a substantial part of the burden has to be shouldered by the international community.

“There should be a strong international commitment toward Palestinian statehood with clear objectives, clear terms of reference for the negotiations and time frames,” Davutoğlu said.

He expressed his hopes for the prospect of peace in the Middle East in general, too. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, while the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty,” he said, and added that he preferred to be an optimist. “I firmly believe that it is high time for all of us to unite our ranks and overcome the hurdles along our way to create a peaceful, secure, stable and prosperous region which we all deserve,” he concluded.


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