I welcome this year’s art exhibit in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People – “Palestine: Memories, Dreams, Perseverance”.
This Day highlights the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to national independence and sovereignty.
The Palestinians have a legitimate right to an independent, democratic and viable State of their own. Israel has the right to live in peace and security within internationally recognized and secure borders. Our priority remains to realize the just and lasting peace for which generations of Palestinians and Israelis have longed -- a peace that will end the occupation that started in 1967 and achieve a two-State solution to the conflict. Jerusalem must emerge from negotiations as the capital of two States, with arrangements for the holy sites acceptable to all. A just and agreed solution must be found for the prolonged plight of the Palestinian refugees. Serious efforts must now be exerted to bring the parties back to the negotiating table as soon as possible, based on existing agreements between the parties, the relevant Security Council resolutions, the Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative.
As visitors view these works by Palestinian artists, I hope they will see what I see: the universal values of peace, justice and mutual respect. In that spirit of solidarity, I count on people everywhere to do their part in helping to promote lasting peace and prosperity in the entire region.