Tehran. — A two-day international conference in support of Palestine opened here yesterday, with Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda condemning Zionist Israel for its continued violation of a series of UN resolutions, including the regime’s ongoing construction of illegal settlements within Palestinian territory.
The conference, dubbed “Together Supporting Palestine” was sponsored by the Iranian government, with more than 500 delegates from over 60 countries in attendance.
“The relationship between the people of Palestine and the people of Zimbabwe is deeply and firmly rooted in our comradeship forged in our common struggles for independence and sovereignty driven by the humanitarian motive force against oppression and ethnic supremacist misdirected as political ideology,” Adv Mudenda told the 6th conference which was officially opened by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“Zimbabwe fully supports the just cause of Palestine to be a sovereign state (and) Zimbabwe upholds the principle that only a two-state solution is the open sesame to the current apartheid arrangement, where Israel has usurped the right to self-determination of Palestinians.”
The Speaker is leading a three-member Parliamentary delegation, whose other members are chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs Kindness Paradza and committee member Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga.
Among the countries represented at the conference, whose focus is to support Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, are superpowers Russia and China, North Korea and a host of other pro-Palestine militant groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Adv Mudenda said efforts to resolve the Palestinian crisis should now go beyond just UN resolutions or conferences to include a “concrete plan of action” to deal with the 70-year-old crisis “once and for all”.
Said Adv Mudenda, “Our hope now lies in intensive and robust Parliamentary diplomacy.” This was in reference to current efforts to expel Israel from the International Parliamentary Union.
The Speaker reminded the delegates of President Robert Mugabe’s speech to the UN General Assembly on September 12, 2002 when he stated that,
“The Palestinian question should be resolved without further delay as it is causing untold suffering to the people in the occupied territories.
Israel must withdraw her forces from Palestinian land soon and the Palestinians must be afforded the opportunity of having a state of their own. Israel must know that her chances of peace and security lie in having a Palestinian state that will live side by side with it in mutual respect of sovereign states.”
As proof for its support to the Palestinian cause, Adv Mudenda said Zimbabwe was among the first countries that in 1988 recognised Palestine as an independent state and upgraded the then PLO offices in Harare to become a fully-fledged embassy with an accredited ambassador.
The Speaker paid tribute to Iran for its unwavering support for the Palestinian cause, a move that has led Tehran to endure a cocktail of sanctions imposed by the US and its European allies.
He narrated several attempts that were made, over the years, at international level to resolve the Palestinian crisis, which failed as successive Israeli governments ignored or violated all the agreements.
“The greatest tragedy is not the manner in which Israel has conducted itself with respect to Palestinian occupied territory, but the double standards demonstrated by some Western powers with respect to Israel,” said Adv Mudenda.