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KUWAIT CITY, June 12: The Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU) condemns Israel’s expansion of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, says National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim. Al-Ghanim, who is now back in the country after a two-day visit to Geneva where he met IPU Chairman Duarte Pacheco as a representative of geopolitical countries at the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, made the statement in a press conference after the meeting. Pacheco was also present at the press conference. During the press conference, Al- Ghanim thanked Pacheco for supporting the Palestinian cause and for the fruitful meeting. He disclosed that the IPU condemns the killing of Palestinian children in Gaza within 51 days, pointing out the number of Palestinian victims in 51 days is higher than the number of Israelis killed in the last 51 years.
He said this is a clear manifestation of the huge imbalance of power between the Israelis and Palestinians. He added the Israeli apartheid regime and racial segregation practiced by Israel against the Palestinians are unacceptable for any just individual or organization in the whole world. He highlighted the statements of the European Parliament and Human Rights Watch, stressing he expects the same from the IPU. He expressed gratitude to Pacheco for instructing the Middle East Committee at the IPU to form a fact-finding panel to visit the occupied Palestinian territories and submit a report in this regard. He praised the decision of Pacheco to visit Palestine in order to determine the truth through meetings with both parties. Addressing Pacheco, Al-Ghanim asserted the latter will visit the largest prison in the world — Gaza; which has become a big jail trapping the innocent Palestinians. He said the Israeli apartheid regime besieged the Palestinians in Gaza, up to the point of blocking the gates between Gaza and Egypt.
He went on to say that Israel violated international laws, United Nations (UN) resolutions; as well as articles 2/C and 3 of the IPU Charter. He clarified that IPU was not established to organize social gatherings, but to adopt strong positions under such circumstances. He added that on behalf of Arab parliaments, he expects IPU to intensify its efforts regarding the Israeli attacks on Aqsa Mosque and Christian holy places in Jerusalem under the leadership of Pacheco. Deputy Speaker MP Ahmed Al- Shuhoumi, Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Mubarak Al- Harees and Secretary General of the Assembly Adel Al-Lughani welcomed the speaker upon his arrival at Kuwait International Airport.
Meanwhile, Pacheco revealed they discussed relations between IPU and Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union; as well as the current situation in the Middle East, especially in Palestine. He emphasized the importance of respecting UN resolutions on the establishment of two sovereign states — Palestine and Israel — living together harmoniously with Jerusalem as their capital. He affirmed the IPU is keen on achieving this goal by enhancing dialogue between the two parties. He underscored the need to condemn the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories as it will not contribute to the progress of dialogue between the two parties and peace will not be achieved. He denounced the launching of rockets from Israel towards the Palestinians in the same manner he condemned attacks inside Israel, particularly the sacred places for Muslims and the use of excessive force by Israeli authorities against the Palestinians in Gaza; which led to the suffering of many people. He emphasized the need to establish dialogue between the two parties, asserting this is the most important issue at the moment. He said the dialogue must focus on the future of both parties and achieving peace rather than talking about the past.
On the other hand, MP Khalil Al- Saleh submitted a proposal to grant subsidized construction materials to citizens who are not covered by Housing Welfare Law No. 19/2014. He suggested that the amount of subsidized construction materials is KD 30,000 – the same amount granted to citizens covered by this law. He said these citizens need such a subsidy for the renovation and maintenance of their houses that were constructed a long time ago. He affirmed his proposal is in line with the principle of social equality stipulated in the Constitution; particularly Article Eight: “The State shall preserve the pillars of society and shall guarantee security, tranquility and equal opportunity for all citizens.” By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh Arab Times Staff