ATHENS – Meeting here last weekend, representatives of Communist and workers parties of the southern and eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf and Red Sea regions reiterated their solidarity with the Palestinian people. They called for the immediate end of Israeli aggression, withdrawal of occupying forces from Palestinian Authority areas and the immediate lifting of the siege of President Yasser Arafat’s headquarters in Ramallah.

The parties urged the United Nations to assure international protection for the Palestinian people and called for immediate implementation of existing U.N. resolutions guaranteeing the withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from all Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967.

They called for recognition of the Palestinian people’s legal rights, including the right to return to their homeland according to U.N. resolutions, and establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital beside Israel. They urged more pressure on both Israel and the Bush administration to halt the military escalation and immediately return to the negotiation process under U.N. auspices.

In their joint resolution, the parties emphasized that the Israeli occupation is “the source of violence in Palestine and the main hindrance in achieving security for both the Palestinian and Israeli people.”

“Unprecedented and accelerating acts of aggression by Israel” have claimed 1,000 lives so far, the statement said, 30 percent of them children. Of the 40,000 wounded, some 2,000 are permanently disabled.

“Sharon’s government is working to reoccupy the Palestinian areas and destroy the Palestinian Authority, both physically and functionally, and block any future peace negotiations,” the statement said.

Joining in the statement were the communist parties of Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Jordan, Kurdistan-Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, the Tudeh Party of Iran and the Palestinian People’s Party.