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Palestinian flag raised at UN for first time: Walid Abu Ali

Ambassador of Palestine talks to Centreline and DNA
ISLAMABAD: The Palestinian flag has for the first time been raised at the United Nations following an address delivered by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the UN General Assembly. The flag was in the presence of a large crowd of diplomats and reporters watched on. Speaking to the crowd, Abbas dedicated the ceremony to “the martyrs, the prisoners and the wounded, and to those who gave their lives while trying to raise this flag”.These views were expressed by Walid Abu Ali Ambassador of State of Palestine to Pakistan while talking to Centreline and DNA.

He told, hundreds of Palestinians assembled in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, where they watched the flag-raising on a large screen set up in Yasser Arafat Square. “The mood is festive, adding that “families sang along to nationalistic songs and waved the Palestinian flag”. Having been strongly criticised by Israel, the move was also opposed by the United States.
The General Assembly approved the resolution to raise the flag with an overwhelming majority voting in favour of it on September 10. The motion passed with 119 votes in favour, while 45 countries abstained and eight voted against, among them Israel, the US and Australia In 2012, the UNGA recognised Palestine as a “non-member observer state”, a position also held by the Vatican. That followed a failed push for full member state status a year earlier.

Palestinian flag fluttering at the UN along with UN flag

The resolution stated that flags of non member observe states like Palestine shall be raised at the UN headquarters in New York and United Nations offices following the flags of the member states. The ambassador said, this development is a big morale booster for the Palestinian people and their just struggle for an independent homeland.

According to the resolution the Palestinian people have been represented in the General Assembly since 1974, since the Palestine Liberation Organization was first invited to participate as an observer in the Assembly as the representative of the Palestinian people. That was 41 years ago. The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence has been recognized worldwide and by the General Assembly for decades, with the last reaffirmation in resolution. Regrettably, however, Israel’s foreign occupation of the Palestinian land and denial of the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people continue and our independence and rightful place among the community of nations continue to be delayed.
The ambassador said that Palestinians are still under occupation and because of the occupation we do face many obstacles, Pakistan and Pakistani people have always been supportive to Palestine and its people on all levels. During the last six decades, Pakistan had supported Palestine not just on the political level but all International situations and organizations but the main support we received from Pakistan besides that is the educational support, Pakistan has been providing our students the opportunity to study in Pakistani universities equally same as Pakistani students, so far we have over 45, 000 Palestinian students graduated from Pakistani universities in all specialties, and this actually helped us in the creation of the infrastructure of the Palestinian State, the majority of these graduates went back to the country and they worked in all ministries and all institutions, some of them are holding very senior posts, some of them are ministers, some of them are holding key posts within the Palestinian Authority.

When asked to comment of Pakistani people support to the Palestinian cause the ambassador said, the only thing I want to say is that I am very honoured and proud to be in Pakistan, and I personally believe that Palestine is the heart of any Pakistani regardless of who they are, whether they are poor or rich, educated or uneducated, the Pakistani people have been in favour and very supportive to Palestine and Palestinians, I will be more than happy to keep our Pakistani brothers up to date, my office is opened, the Embassy is opened, any Pakistani who is willing or wishing to know more and more about Palestine. I do hope that Pakistanis will be able, in the near future, to go and visit Palestine and to pray in Qibla Awal, in Masjid Al-Aqsa and we will be more than happy to host our Pakistani brothers as they hosted us during the last six decades, he added.
When asked to comment on the construction of new embassy premises in the diplomatic enclave Ambassador Walid Abu Ali said indeed the embassy project speaks volumes for the strong bonds of friendships that exist between Palestine and Pakistan adding Pakistani government had extended a generous support of $ one million for the construction of the embassy. He said the project is likely to be completed within next six months. ‘We have planned a grand opening ceremony of the new embassy and I am sure our President will travel to Pakistan to formally inaugurate the embassy”, he added.

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