Prospects for Palestine

"The human rights violations against Palestinian children are not new to us, they are systematic practices. Nevertheless, in recent years we have been able to document more information," explains Mr. Xavier Abu-Eid, from Ramallah, Palestine.

Abu-Eid, a political scientist, is the spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). "Israel enjoys a culture of impunity without precedent, and this allows them to commit human rights violations without fears of facing any sanctions from the international community."

A few weeks ago, the Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations, H. E. Riyad Mansour sent an open letter to the UN Security Council demanding that Israel be brought to justice over violations and abuse against Palestinian children. He denounced the arrest and detention of an eight-year-old boy, called Ahmad Zaatari, for allegedly "throwing stones" at an Israeli bus. Ahmad´s parents were not informed about his detention, and learned about it once he was released, along with his 12-year-old brother. According to Ambassador Mansour, this case "highlighted a wider mistreatment of Palestinian children by Israeli security forces."

Similarly, Abu-Eid stated that "(the detention of Ahmad Zaatari) was not an isolated case: violations against the rights of children are the most brutal and barbarian human rights violations and show how corrupt and racist is the Apartheid system imposed by Israel in Palestine."

Xavier Abu-Eid is, since 2008, part of the negotiating team in the stalled peace process. He insists in a statement: "Recognizing Palestine does not mean being against Israel, but opposing the occupation." By "occupation," Abu-Eid is referring to Israeli occupation since 1967, while insisting on the need for the international community to recognize an "independent, sovereign, democratic Palestinian State contiguous with the borders defined before 1967."

The Palestinian diplomat emphasized the support his government receives from many Israelis - particularly intellectuals and artists - and stressed on the need to continue to receive support from other stakeholders. Abu-Eid, a political scientist from the University Diego Portales of Santiago de Chile who holds a Master's degree in diplomacy from the University of Leicester, is probably the closest Latin American to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President.

"You can always search for an excuse to avoid addressing the situation in Palestine, and meanwhile, my people continue to live under occupation and in exile," complained Abu-Eid, choosing carefully his words. "One of the biggest challenges today is having Hamas respond to the Palestinian National Liberation movement and not to the Muslim Brotherhood, and create the conditions needed in order to vote in the next few months... Although it is just one of the important things that we hope to achieve this year."

Among the objectives that Palestine seeks to achieve is getting greater support for and recognition of the Palestinian State. The recent recognition by the Holy See on May 13, 2015, was a significant one and is a promising step towards universal recognition of Palestine.

"Latin America almost as a whole has taken a sovereign decision which shows independence in its foreign policy, as well as respect for the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people," continued Abu-Eid. "Those who do not recognize Palestine arguing that they will do so after the negotiations, such as Colombia, simply give Israel the right to veto the self-determination of the Palestinian people, something that has never been the subject of negotiations."

In terms of justice, Palestine - and several human rights organizations and activists- is also expecting information and hopefully a report from the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), after the country formally became a member of the Court earlier this year. Should the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda conclude there are sufficient and reasonable grounds, her office may request the judges to open a case.