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Normal ties with Israel impossible without settlement of Palestinian cause: AL chief
From:Xinhua  |  2018-02-28 23:11

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CAIRO, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Arab League (AL) Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said on Wednesday that normal Arab relations with Israel cannot be achieved without a just and permanent settlement of the Palestinian cause.

"It will not be possible to establish normal relations between the Arabs and Israel before settling the Palestinian cause fairly and permanently, ending the Israeli occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital," said Abul-Gheit.

He made the remarks after a meeting with Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian deputy foreign minister and special envoy of the Russian president to the Middle East, at the AL headquarters in Egypt's capital Cairo.

Aboul-Gheit and Bogdanov discussed the outcomes of a mini-Arab ministerial meeting with European ministers on the Palestinian-Israeli peace process in the light of the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move Washington's embassy from Tel Aviv to the the disputed holy city.

Earlier in the month, the U.S. Department of State announced the decision to relocate the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem by May 14, the day that marks the 70th anniversary of the Arab defeat in the 1948 war that led to the displacement of more than 700,000 Palestinians and the Western-backed creation of Israel.

The Arabs, Palestinians in particular, refer to the day as Nakba (Catastrophe) Day, while Israelis call it Independence Day.

The U.S. decisions on Jerusalem have been met by regional and international backlash.

On Dec. 21, two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution affirming that any decisions and actions to alter the character, status or demographic composition of Jerusalem are "null and void" and "have no legal effect."

Israel occupied Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and declared it as its eternal capital in 1980.

The UN Security Council Resolution 242 in 1967 demands Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 including Jerusalem, while Resolution 478 in 1980 rejects Israel's attempted annexation of Jerusalem and its declaration of the city as its capital.

Israel is also blamed for disrupting the Middle East peace process by expanding settlements on Palestinian occupied territories.