January 3 this year marked a milestone in Palestine’s history. After being officially recognized as a state in November 29, January 3 witnessed the signing of Decree #1 for 2013, by Mahmoud Abbas, acting in his capacities as the President of State of Palestine and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. It was a simple signature, but one that signifies a historically huge achievement for the country, nonetheless.
The decree creates a five-year interim period pursuant to the Declaration of Principles signed on the White House lawn in September 1993, noting that the Palestinian Authority has been absorbed and replaced by the State of Palestine proclaimed in November 1988. Article 1 of the decree explains that “Official documents, seals, signs and letterheads of the Palestinian National Authority official and national institutions shall be amended by replacing the name ‘Palestinian National Authority’ whenever it appears by the name ‘State of Palestine’ and by adopting the emblem of the State of Palestine.” Article 4 states “All competent authorities, each in their respective area, shall implement this Decree starting from its date.”
This officially projects that the State of Palestine has officially come to be. This signals the end of the three-titled Palestinian head – bearing the nomenclature of the President of the State of Palestine, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and President of the Palestinian National Authority. The PLO will, however, continue to represent Palestinians everywhere. The Palestinians living in the State of Palestine will be governed by the Government of Palestine. All of them will have official and new State of Palestine passports, and be represented by the State of Palestine.
This change, however, hasn’t been noticed much – but that isn’t too much of a worrisome fact either, since silent acceptance is a better prospect than furious rejection. This still does, however, portend a bright future for Palestine. As it stands, the State of Palestine still exists on the soil of Palestine in varying degrees under belligerent occupation by Israel. Having resolved to contribute to the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the attainment of a peaceful settlement in the Middle East that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and fulfils the vision of two States, an independent, sovereign, democratic, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with Israel, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, the world needs to continue by translating words into action. Now that Palestine is recognized globally as a state under the United Nations, the occupation of one state by another state is not permissible in keeping with the dictates of the UN Charter.
Work needs to be put in to ensure that the occupation ends.