بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم
Your Excellency Dr Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
As-salaam Alaikum Wa-rahmathullahi Wa-barakaathuh;
It is my honour to stand before you today to address this prestigious gathering at the Fourth International Islamic Conference of Bait-ul Maqdis. I am deeply humbled to be here in this historic and Holy Land.
This land is the cradle of human civilisation; The land of many prophets. It has been for several millennia, the source of pride for the great monotheistic faiths of the world. Bait-ul Maqdis is close to the hearts of all Muslims. It is our first Qibla.
One of the three holy sites in Islam. And the site of the most miraculous Isra and Mi’raj of the Prophet Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam.
Bait-ul Maqdis is not only important to Islam. It is an important sight for other great monotheistic faiths of the world. The Maldives supports the efforts being made to preserve the Islamic and Christian character of Al-Quds Sharif.
We cannot talk about Bait-ul Maqdis without talking about the plight and the future of Palestine. Time and time again, the world has let down the Palestinians, perhaps reluctant to take sides in a so-called religious problem. Too many people have come to accept the conflict as unsolvable because of the long time it has taken. Perhaps unwilling or perhaps unable to take a firm and defiant stand. But the question of Palestine is not a Muslim or a Jewish problem: it is a human problem. Children of Palestine should not be denied hope.
It is not fair that Palestinian children should grow up without a country of their own? It will not help to establish lasting peace of the children have to grow up with suspicion and insecurity. The leaders of Palestine and Israel owe a peaceful and a secure future for their children.
This is not the first instance we have spoken about Palestine. This is not the first time we have heard about the suffering of Palestinians. Yet, as the international community looks on, Palestinians continue to live lives deprived of fundamental rights.
The Maldives’ position on the question of Palestine is very clear. We support a two state solution where an indulgent population will exist in peace with Israel. We support the establishment of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the lands occupied in the 1967 war. The Maldives believe that the continued Israeli policy of settlements, in occupied territories is not full helpful to promoting mutual trust and reaching a two state solution.
The Maldives supports the Arab Peace Plan of 2002 and the recent efforts to revive it. We are encouraged by some of the positive reactions coming from Israel on the Arab Initiative. We are happy to learn about the peace initiatives of the American government. We pray for a positive outcome. There may be limits to what politicians can achieve, but there are no bounds for the human capacity to love, to have compassion and to have respect. This is why we are encouraged by the efforts being made, by the peoples of both countries to achieve peace.
This is the time for action. The time to engage, to debate and to listen. It is time for the world to listen to Palestinians on Bait-ul Maqdis and issues regarding its sovereignty. It is time for Palestinians to forge stronger unity under the able leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas. I am confident that President Abbas is the right leader for peace. It is time for the Islamic Ummah to unite in support of the Palestinians, and Muslims all around the world.
So many of our brothers and sisters are suffering around the globe, stuck in endless cycles of violence and pain, that could have been easily avoided.
If only somebody had stood up for them.
The Maldives believe that the current momentum towards peace in the Middle East, presents a historic opportunity that must be seized. We believe that for the first time in many years, the conflict is ripe for resolution. I am convinced that the Palestinian leadership genuinely and sincerely want peace and I also believe that the people want peace. Let us not waste this opportunity.
I therefore urge the leaders of Palestine and Israel, listen to what your people are saying and to find a lasting solution.
They want peace, they want stability, they want security. Listen to those that suffer the consequences of enduring conflict. Your children want to grow up in positive, maturing communities, not ridden with fear, but ripe with opportunity.
We were all created from one man and one woman. We were into difficult nations and troubles, so that we may get to know each other.
Wassalaam Alaikum Wa-rahmathullahi Wa-barakaathuh.