Address of HE Arafat

at the

Session of the Palestine Legislative Council

Ramallah 18 August 2004

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Verily We have granted

Thee a manifest Victory:

That God may forgive thee

Thy faults of the past

And those to follow;

Fulfil His favour to thee;

And guide thee

On the Straight Way;

And that God may help

Thee with powerful help

Sadaga Allahu Al Azim


Brother Speaker of the PLC,

Sisters and brothers, members of the PLC,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear guests,

Excellencies, ambassadors and consul generals,

          At the start of our session today, allow me to convey my greetings, esteem and love to all our heroic prisoners and detainees in the Israeli prisons and detection centers, whether they be Palestinian or Arab cadres, militants or leaders. I would like to say to the noble knights of our brave people, in whose patience and steadfastness we are proud, and who are currently waging a struggle and a battle inside these distressful prisons, indeed distressful. The prisons of Abu Gareib are an example for that, as if they have moved from there to here. I would like to say to these prisoners going on a hunger-strike: your people and your Arab nation are with you. All honorable and freedom-loving people around the world are with you. Your liberation stands at the top of our priorities and duties. The Palestinian leadership and all the national factions and forces have decided to participate today with you in the hunger strike and in the mass-popular actions taking place at home and in the diaspora. The leadership has also decided to act on the Arab and international levels to confront and deal with the sufferings you are subjected to in your jails and prisons in order to set you free, God be willing. The action on the Arab and international levels has already started on your behalf. We have formed a leadership sub-committee for this purpose. With Gods help, we will be together side by side, in Holy Jerusalem, Al-Quds Ash-Sharif. Here, I would like to ask for your collective agreement to deduct one days work from all working-people to our beloved ones in their prisons and detention camps.

          I would like to say, here, one important thing. The Israeli minister of internal security, Hanegbi, stated "let these prisoners die." I tell him "we are all possible martyrs and not afraid of death." His statement "let them strike until they die" is a statement that goes against all human and international laws and against the laws of civilization. It is also my right to point out here that the Israeli authorities have announced that they started to distribute pills to help respiration in the Demona area where the Israeli nuclear facilities are purported to be. Why distribute it to the Israelis only!!! In that area the Israelis maintain three prisons for our Palestinian heroes the prisoners. Why do not the Israelis distribute these pills for the Palestinian prisoners as well? Aren't they considered human beings? This is really against the rules and laws of humanity. We will overcome.


Sisters and brothers,


Our meeting today has many significant symbols and meanings.

Our meeting today is a clear sign to all that affirms our determination as a people, leadership and institutions, to continue our work, and to rise up, despite the on-going siege and aggressions.


          Our meeting today is also a manifestation of the vitality of our institutions which are being exposed, for years, to unceasing aggressive campaigns, in an attempt to weaken and undermine them in order to liquidate our (Palestinian) Authority and national entity. However, their attempts will be in vain.


          I am addressing you, today at this meeting, after four years have passed since the outbreak of the Al Aqsa uprising. [After he was permitted to go to the holy Al Haram Ash-Sharif in violation of all rules and decisions provided they respect such rules. Moshe Dayan, their hero, went following the occupation of Holy Jerusalem, in 1967, (to the holy Al Aqsa Mosque) and took down the Israeli flag which was raised by the extremists. He issued an order on 16 June forbidding Jews to visit this holy site. I said this to Barak, (the former Israeli prime minister). I was accompanied by Abu Ala'a, Abu Mazen, Saeb Ereikat, and Nabil Abu Rudeina. I went to Barak's house and asked him not to commit that mistake. But he did. The massacres took place. Nineteen martyrs and eighty injured persons fell on Thursday and Friday. Yet we will overcome.] I am addressing you, today, also after ten years have passed since the establishment of our National Authority. It is an occasion that requires us to stop and look into this march of ten years. It is a stop to evaluate and to rectify. It is a stop to see where we were right and where we went wrong and what is the way to correct the wrong. [No one is without mistakes. Let those who claim to be without a mistake throw at us a stone. I only want to remind you of that saying]. It is an objective stand with the self, where we do not indulge in self-torture that eclipses what we have achieved, and where we do not try to ignore or cover up the shortcomings, the failings and incapabilities wherever they may be. [No one is without mistakes] It is a stand which allows us to look into all subjective and objective circumstances that have formed and accompanied our march and put it back on its historic track taking into consideration all its national, regional and international ramifications. It is a stand that requires us to confirm our braveness by recognizing our mistakes, if be, and our firm determination by correcting these mistakes and setting them right.


          This stand requires us to draw lessons so that we would be able to apply them in the best Palestinian national interest. The vitality of our great Palestinian people and the tradition of our long national march, [including a long list of victories that we have achieved], are a great source of experience and determination for us to continue the march in a strong, resolute, determined and faithful manner in every stage and in front of every challenge.


          Ours is a besieged people. Its leadership is besieged. But we hold firmly to our national rights and aims. It is a wounded people, full of confidence, hope and belief in their cause.


          It is a people that are subjected to this ongoing racist and brutal aggression. But, it is a people that continues to carve the miracle of survival, steadfastness, heroism and creatively because In this land are a people of exceeding strength, and they are steadfast until the Day of Judgment.


Sisters and brothers,


          Since the first day of the establishment of the PNA, we have affirmed and propagated during the presidentional and legislative election campaign that, ahead of us, lays the achievement of a national working programme that has two national tasks. The first historic task was to put an end to the oppressive occupation of our land and Christian and Islamic holy places, and the establishment of the independent State of Palestine, with Holy Jerusalem as its capital. The second was the establishment of the PNA as a basis and foundation stone for building our esteemed independent state.


          As to the first task, we had all the time affirmed the following important and basic points:-

1-                The aims of the Palestinian people, as defined by the institutions of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), are determined by putting an end to the Israeli occupation; the establishment of the independent state of Palestine, with Holy Jerusalem as its capital, on all the territories occupied in 1967; [we have made these decisions in 1988, at the PNC session held in Algiers, and in 1973 at the PNC session held in Cairo];the protection of our Christian and Islamic holy places on this sacred and blessed land, especially confronting the threats directed against the Holy Al Aqsa Mosque by the Zionist extremists; and by solving the issue of the Palestinian refugees in accordance with the UN resolutions. [At Camp David we have agreed to start with my brothers and sisters, the refugees in Lebanon. The issue of the displaced persons, as you know, is being dealt with by an Egyptian, Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian quadruple committee. A large number of them came back.

2-                The road to peace represents to our people a strategic choice, since we have adopted the political programme of the PLO at the Palestine National Council session in Algiers in 1988. [We started in Madrid and continued on the Arab and international levels]. We are committed to the choice of negotiations to solve the conflict, as was determined by the peace agreements that started in Madrid, Washington and Oslo, which we have signed with the Government of Israel in 1993 at the White House, under the auspices of President Clinton, and with our late partner, Yitzhak Rabin, and which we have followed up in Cairo and, here, at home.

3-                At the time in which we have made courageously the choice of historic reconciliation in the interest of peace we have affirmed that we are struggling to establish the independent state of Palestine, side by side with Israel, and we have warned, from day one, against the consequences of any Israeli practices, especially in the field of settlement, to undermine the possibility of establishing our state. I would like to remind you of one of the agreements I made with my late partner Yitzhak Rabin in which he said no new settlements, no new house to be added to any settlement, the fence of any settlement will be 50 meters far from the last house. These settlements were supposed to be removed around 1998. Yet yesterday they announced that they are building 1115 new housing units.


We have entered, over the last years, the marathon of unending negotiations, with the Israeli side, especially with its peace force. We had to bear the ramifications of changes in the (Israeli) governments and ideologies. But, while we have clung, over the years, strongly to our rights, we were careful to support the choice of negotiations, and the peace of the brave. We raised the motto of demanding the implementation of the signed agreements and dues due on each party. This we have done even in the darkest and most difficult circumstances, we have underlined, constantly, the role of the international community and the sponsors of the peace process. We have always affirmed that peace is not only in the Palestinian and Israeli interests but also it is in the interest of the whole region and of all countries the world over.


During all these years we have knocked at all doors. We have sought every possible glimpse of hope. We have studied and considered every possible proposal or initiative or project or plan. We have dealt with them with open mind taking as our guide the highest national interest of our people and the pan-Arab interest of our nation.


Testimonies have been made, over the last years, by international, US and Israeli previous and incumbent officials that testify that we did not squander any real opportunity that came in sight to us to make peace and to realize the hopes of our people in establishing just permanent and comprehensive peace in the whole region.


Yet, on the other side, the basic slogan of the Government of Israel, especially the incumbent one was: there are no sacred dates and priority goes to Israeli security. The assassination, at the hands of extremist Jewish elements, of our partner, Yitzhak Rabin, was the beginning of a fundamental upheaval, a coup detate, at the Israeli political theater. The Government of Israel started to disavow the essence of the peace process and the partnership between us to make peace, the peace of the brave, the peace whose aim was to establish the state of Palestine, side by side, with Israel in order to make a new future for us, for them and for all the peoples of the region and the world over.


The most explicit embodiment of the attempts to destroy the peace process is the ongoing campaign of settlement of our land. This reached its apex with the project of building the wall of racial discrimination, called also the Berlin Wall, which confiscates 58% of our lands, including Holy Jerusalem, and annexes them to Israel. This aims at fragmenting the Palestinian geographic and demographic unity, turning our people into refugees, and putting the remaining Palestinians under siege and in cantons and prisons surrounded by settlements and walls that destroy any opportunity to establish the state of Palestine.


As our people rose up against the campaign of colonial settlement, the confiscation of land and against the aggression on the Holy Al Aqsa Mosque and against the current grave threats that it is exposed to, [as has been declared by the Israeli minister of internal security and not by me],  Israel continued its plan of total war against our Palestinian people, their Authority, land and Christian and Islamic holy places. The reoccupation of the West Bank and parts of the Gaza Strip was the climax of this war, aimed at the destruction of our PNA, in the hope of liquidating the national aims and rights of our people. Israel rejected all Arab and international solutions and efforts at Camp David, Sharm Esh-Sheikh, Paris, Taba, the George Tenet-Understandings, the Mitchell Report, the efforts of the Quartet and the Road Map, which we accepted and which the Arab countries accepted at the Arab summit meetings, and on which Israel put more reservations than the text of the Road Map itself.

Israel continued its shelling, incursions, penetrations, assassinations and detentions; it continued to tighten the siege and check-points and continued to destroy the infra-structures that we have built. Israel targeted our fields, farms and our factories by waging a black campaign to destroy the achievements of our Palestinian people and to drive them into poverty and hunger. Israel continued to destroy our towns, cities, refugee-camps and villages, like Jenin, Nablus and its old city; Beit Hanoun, Rafah, Qalquilia and Tulkarem; and like Hebron especially what happened at the Holy Al Ibrahimi Mosque and the destruction of the historic and ancient houses of the citys Christian Valley, in order to make the settlement of Kreat Arba' part of the Ibrahimi Mosque, and as also happened at our refugee camps in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and other towns and villages. By so doing, Israel hopes to undermine our eternal bond with our sacred land.

It, furthermore, targeted, in a black campaign, our Christian and Islamic holy places. It was bent on causing harm to our old cities, with all the meaning these carry in terms of their genuine history, features of civilization, and human creativity, as we can see that in Nablus, Hebron and Bethlehem. It closed the religious road that connects the Church of the Nativity (in Bethlehem) and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem with this wall of racism. It used internationally prohibited weapons, like depleted uranium as was testified by an American and a Dutch report, thus increasing the level of cancerous deceases and the infertility rates, and like using the internationally prohibited dumdum with which they shot Nabil Amre. All this happens daily, indeed every minute. Our people pay the price in thousands of martyrs and injured people who fall on the streets, inside their safe homes and at Israeli check-points. This is a reality that the whole world follows and sees on TV screens and through the delegations of the peace forces the world over, and the other official delegations.


The Israeli aggressive campaign concentrated on destroying the centers and headquarters of our security forces and apparatus, as well as our ministries and institutions and on tightening the strangulating siege to stop work at all our executive, legislative and judicial institutions.


The aim of the Israeli occupation was, and still is, to undermine, indeed, destroy, the PNA and to create a state of vacuum in order to claim there is no Palestinian partner, and to attempt to make the Zionist schemes pass which aim at undermining our peoples firm rights in their sacred land. They claim there is no Palestinian partner. But who signed the Wye River agreement with us? It is Netenyahu and Sharon themselves. Who signed the Paris, Washington and Oslo agreements? Cannot they see a partner? Or do they only see phantoms?


All this was accompanied by an outrageous campaign to defame our national struggle, to harm its guiding principles and humanist aims, in an attempt to link it to terrorism.

We were the first to condemn the barbaric attacks that were carried out in New York and Washington in 2001. We have clearly warned any party, against any attempt to take the Palestinian cause as a pretext, or to hide behind the generous Islamic religion in carrying out these deeds which we strongly reject and vehemently condemn. This we do, on the basis of our heritage, principles and values, because we are the victims of the Israeli state terror and the terror of the Zionist extremists their in. we have continuously affirmed the organic bond between our peoples struggle and their aspiration to freedom and peace.


Surly, the ruling of the International Court of Justice, at the Hague, on the issue of the wall of racial discrimination, as well as the sweeping vote at the UN General Assembly in support of the ruling of the ICJ have confirmed, in an unswerving manner, that the world was not deceived by the Israeli campaign. The highest international judicial court, and the highest international forum have unmasked the true picture which the Israeli governments attempted to cover, namely that there is an expansionist Israeli occupation which has to be ended, so that the Palestinian people recover their legitimates rights, their freedom and establish their independent state, like all other peoples the world over. We are now the only people under occupation in the world.


Sisters and brothers,


          Despite all that happened, and is still happening, despite the ongoing aggression, despite the siege that our people, and we, are living through and feel in this Muqataah, which has been destroyed more than once, despite all that, I would like to assure you once again, that our adherence to our rights will be unswerving, that our belief in the choice of peace with Israel exists and is still strong as well as with the Israeli peace forces.


          In this regard, and in front of you, dear sisters and brothers, members of the PLC, and before the whole world, I would like to reiterate, once again, that the Palestinian people, who are waging a struggle to get rid of the last remnants of occupation the world over, are determined to march on the road of peace in order to get their freedom, to end occupation and to build the independent state of Palestine, with Holy Jerusalem as its capital.                        


          On behalf of the Palestinian leadership and people, I would like to confirm, once more, our holding tight to the choice of peace. I would like to confirm our call for the implementation of the signed agreements, the last of which was the Road Map, I would like to confirm as well our holding to the vision of US Preside George W. Bush and to the Arab peace initiative which was adopted at the Beirut Summit and reaffirmed at the Tunis Summit on realizing a negotiated settlement to the conflict that implements the decisions and resolutions of international legality.


          I would like to confirm here, once again, the firm Palestinian position of condemning and rejecting all operations that target civilians, Palestinians and Israelis. It is a rejection that stems from our convictions, values, principles, heritage and the highest interests of our people. We have repeatedly warned that these operations present Israel with a pretext to escalate its aggression against our people and provide it with weapons to be used politically and on the information level in its attempt to defame our national struggle and our aim of establishing our independent state.


          In confronting the construction of the wall of racial discrimination, our people have made a model for the courageous peoples resistance which gained the support and sympathy of the world. It is a model that has to be consolidated in order to melt all the energies of our people in the melting pot of national struggle.      


          From here, I send an appeal to the government of Israel and say: It is enough. Let us give peace a chance. Let us return, forthwith, to the negotiating table, to implement the agreements and arrive at a final settlement. I say to our Israeli neighbors: the Palestinian people, who hold firmly to their right, hold firmly, as well, to peace. Let us immediately stop the flow of blood and destruction. Let us work together for a peace that provides security, stability and prosperity for our future generations and for the whole region.


          From here, I appeal, as well, to the parties of the Quartet, to act in order to stop the Israeli aggression and occupation against our people and to begin the implementation of the Road Map in order to make available the appropriate climate for the immediate resumption of the peace negotiations in the region.      


          I would like here to point out the reports on the plans of the Israeli government to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. We see that Israel is practicing on the ground a comprehensive campaign of destruction that is in contradiction to its purported intents. Yet, we would like to confirm the readiness of the PNA to extend Palestinian national sovereignty, and to bear full responsibilities on any piece of land from which the Israeli occupation withdraws.


          We believe that any withdrawal from the Gaza Strip has to be parallel to other withdrawals in the West Bank in a way that maintains the geographic contiguity and the demographic and political unity of the two wings of our homeland. This withdrawal should also be total and comprehensive in the Gaza Strip and be a part of the implementation of the Road Map, so as to realize the withdrawal from all the Palestinian Territory occupied in 1967 and to establish the state of Palestine to the side of Israel.


          In this regard, I would like to express our appreciation of the position and efforts made by the blessed President, Husni Mubarak, and our other brothers in the Arab Republic of Egypt, who did not stop making for one moment, true efforts in support of our people and the revival of the peace process. We have responded positively to all their opinions and efforts. I would like here, as well, to make note of the positions of the Arab counties, especially our brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who persevered in their support of our cause and in providing our people with financial support, our people who are living through very difficult times. I would like, as well, to appreciate the positions of the brothers in Tunisia, Jordan, Syria and the other Arab brothers from Yemen and the Sudan in the south to Oman and the Iraq to the east. I would like, also, to take note of the positions of Latin America, Japan, China, the Islamic, African and Nor-Aligned Movement summits. We also appreciate the positions of Europe, Russia and the UN, as well as, the determination of President Bush to establish the State of Palestine, side by side with Israel.       


Sisters and brothers,


          Let us move to talk about the other part of the National Working Program which our people and institutions have taken upon themselves to realize since the establishment of the PNA, ten years ago. We would say that the target was, and still is, to put the appropriate structure for building a state that can provide a progressive model that befits the capabilities of our people and their abilities, aspirations, hopes and sacrifices.


          Our target was, and still is, to realize the dreams that we were building upon, when we were in the diaspora and in the homeland, during the years of revolution and national resistance to occupation. It is the dream of resurrecting Palestine into a state that can take pride in its progress, the creativity of its people, and its democracy so as to be a minerate that makes sure that our people and Arab Nation will continue their civilizational contributions in the march of the region and the whole world.


          This task was intervening with and affecting the first i.e the previous, task. The policies of the Israeli occupation, the siege and destruction reflected negatively, and in a destructive manner, on all our efforts. Despite the hindrances, obstacles and pre-conditions, we started, upon the establishment of the PNA, from zero a comprehensive process of construction of a homeland ravaged by the occupation into waste, destruction, confiscation and building of colonial settlements and with all kinds of racism.


          Over the last years, we started construction, and we started to remove the rubble. We started re-construction. The achievements made on the level of building schools and developing education; and on the health level in terms of building new hospitals, developing the old ones, modernizing their equipment and opening dozens of new clinics in the various regions; and on the level of infrastructure in terms of opening and asphalting roads, building networks of water and waste water, the housing projects, and the industrial zones are examples on the capability of our people and institutions and the work they have achieved.


          We adopted the open-doors-policy vis--vis the role of the private sector. We used to start from the point where the others ended. This has strengthened the role of the private sector, the greatest generator of our economy. [Our people come from as far as Chile, Australia and from other places to participate in the construction process]. The private sector is the basic partner in the largest economic sectors such as communications and electricity. It is the one that put the nucleus for the big projects such as the Gaza sea-port and air-port, which started to function, as you might remember, years ago. We provided all the conditions for the development and growth of the national industries. We witnessed great leaps in the sectors of construction and tourism especially during our celebrations in Bethlehem in 2000 of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ, peace upon him. [In these celebrations 28 heads of state and government participated. We were able to bring together for the first time the 13 churches. This was a historic achievement.] Our economy made new indexes of growth. Many of these achievements have become, since many years, targets for Israeli cannons and Israeli air planes rockets, thus inflicting upon most of them total destruction.       


Sisters and brothers,


          The chain of Israeli aggressions targeted the destruction of the PNA by laying siege to and by destroying the headquarters. The re-occupation of the West Bank and the continued incursions into the Gaza Strip have generated a security vacuum in many areas as a result of forbidding our forces and apparatus from carrying out their duties and as a result of the havoc caused to these forces and apparatus by destroying their headquarters, facilities and vehicles.


          This vacuum that the occupiers wanted to create in order to implement their schemes, contributed to the creation of a state of security chaos which jeopardized the security of the Palestinian citizen, as well as to the absence of the rule of law.


          The big and fundamental responsibility that the occupation bears for creating this situation, should not make us forget to do what is possible and available in order to put an end to this situation and to stop any transgressions that affect the citizen and the institutions. All lawless practices have to stop because they give the Israeli government the pretext to expand the scope of its aggression and to cause more harm and destruction to the property of the Palestinian citizens. All have to abide by the national decision and by the highest national interest, as defined by the bodies and institutions of the PLO and the PNA.


Sisters and brothers,

Sons and daughters of our heroic and steadfast people,


          When we point out to the achievements made during the march of the PNA; when we underline the obstructionist and destructive role played by the Israeli occupation; when we point out the mistakes that usually accompany the initial phases and the beginnings of construction; we have to talk frankly to our people and have to be faithful with ourselves when we point out to the sources of mistakes and shortcomings in our performance especially in the wake of the programmed Israeli occupation, building colonial settlements and destruction, including sequestering revenues from our taxes for more than 40 months. [We are talking here of billions of dollars. Average monthly income of the frozen revenues from taxes by Israel is US$ 70 million. The agreement stipulates that the Israelis take 3% service tax and transfer to us 97%. So you can calculate the result now]. Despite all of that we have to hurry to rectify, straighten out and correct these failings and shortcomings. Yes, these were wrong and detested practices made by some institutions. Some people have misused their positions and were unfaithful in their jobs. The process of building up the institutions was not followed up as should be. Not enough effort was exerted into furthering the rule of law and the activation of the judicial system and into consecrating the principle of accountability. We started now to deal with all these shortcomings.


          You remember that I talked to you in June 2002 when we launched our programme of reforms as a Palestinian national task originating out of the needs of our people. In your august PLC, you adopted a detailed document detailing the aspired reforms for which the consecutive governments worked and implemented many of its points. When we review the steps made over the last two years, we are content to mention the testimonies of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Donor Community. All of them praised the achievements on the financial reform. They considered the administration of finance and the management of the budget and public funds in our country to be among the best in the region. These steps, made by my brother Dr. Salam Fayyad, to rectify many issues and to consolidate sound rules make us proud in our transparency and the efficiency in the management of public funds in our country.


          Here, I would like to point out to the magnificent work done, on the level of learning and education, under Dr. Naem Abu Humus and his brothers in the Ministry, in the schools and universities of which we can pride ourselves in the whole region, as well as in other fields despite our difficult circumstances and the challenges that we face, especially from this racist and oppressive occupation.


          On another level, the creation of the post of prime minister, when I asked my brother and comrade-in-arms Abu Mazen-- [those who meet him can bring him my greetings]-- to form the government last year, was a sign of the natural growth of our nascent democratic system that is targeted and under siege. It is a sign that underlines the separation of powers and strengthens the dynamism of institutional action.


          Yet, what has been achieved is not enough. Ahead of us there is a lot of work to do. Therefore, I would like, officially, to call upon you to launch together today a workshop for comprehensive reforms, a workshop that engulfs all aspects of work of our Authority, a workshop that seeks, through a thorough programme of action, to achieve all that can be achieved under continued occupation, siege and aggression.


The comprehensive workshop of reform is based on the following three axes: 


First: On the political level


          During the march of the Palestinian revolution in the diaspora we raised the slogan of democracy in the jungle of guns. We built representative institutions, in which the Palestinian national decision-making was made with the participation of all factions and currents under the umbrella of the PLO. When we established the PNA, we were not content with revolutionary legality, given to us by the institutions of the PLO. We were determined to achieve popular legality by going to the election boxes in order to consecrate the principles of elections, democracy and the alteration of authority. We are proud of that.


          Over the territory of our national homeland, as we are building our national entity, we have to renew our political system on the basis of democracy that ensures political pluralism in all our Palestinian organizations, freedom of expression and freedom of political activity within the bounds of law.


          This makes it essential for us to legislate some necessary laws in this regard, and to monitor the performance in order to ensure democratic development in our country. The pillar in all this is to consecrate the principle of elections. The PNA has acted to provide the requirements for holding the presidential, legislative and local elections (which were supposed to take place on 20 January 2003. They were supposed to have taken place already in 1999 under the state of Palestine as I have agreed with my late partner Yitzhak Rabin). It is very clear that the Israeli occupation wants, by its incursions, aggressions and penetrations, to put obstacles in the face of carrying out these elections.


          All this should not frustrate our determination. On the contrary, we have to continue doing what should be done to hold these elections on all the presidential, legislative, administrative and organizational levels. We have to increase our contacts with the effective international parties so as to force Israel, to make space for our people to make their say as was done in the previous elections. We have to start with the local elections (Mr. Jamal Shobaki, minister of local government) whose requirements have been made. All federations, societies and civil unions should activate themselves and hold their elections. Do not persecute the Palestinian woman. Don't give here a quota. Give women their rights. Women form 54% of the population. Women have their place at the PNC. They have to be well placed in all our institutions.


          We are struggling to hold elections on all levels in order to deepen democratic practices and to open the space for our people to raise their voice, to elect their representatives, to give their vote of confidence to the programs they support and to open the doors wide for the young generations to seize the opportunity to serve our people.


          In this regard, I appeal to all forces, factions and currents, to engage themselves in this process. The doors are open for them for political, popular and organizational work without any conditions except those put by law, and made within the framework of the oneness of authority and of respecting the PNA and its commitments and out of the concern to formulate a national consensus that protects the highest national interests of our people as defined by the institutions of the PLO and the PNA. As all know, we have made a good start with all the national forces and factions and with those in the diaspora. We have all to be careful not to provide the Israelis with any pretexts to continue their aggression. We have to care to present a positive human image of our peoples struggle and resistance to achieve their rights. In this regard we have to effectively continue this march with all the Palestinian factions in order to strengthen national unity to face the challenges. We thank all the Arab efforts that are with us in this field.


Second: On the level of security and the rule of law


          We all understand that it is impossible to realize total security in the wake of the ongoing Israeli occupation and aggression, especially that the Israelis continue to put obstacles of various forms and shapes to forbid us to achieve that security. This, however, should not deter as from exerting our energies and efforts to provide our people with the highest level of security.

          The national security council and the council of ministers adopted recently a security plan that started to establish these security apparatus, especially in the police force. We are seeking to provide them with all the requirements for success. We have made some contacts in this regard under the auspices of the Quartet. The Minister of the Interior has made a series of transfers and appointments in the leadership of the police force. I call upon you to legislate all the necessary laws to ensure an effective and a disciplined performance in the work of the security apparatus, so that these can carry out their role in reinstating the prestige of the PNA, in implementing the law and in protecting the security of the citizen from all parties.

          The decision to unify the security apparatus, their reorganization and retraining aims at preparing them to carry out their duties in putting an end to the security chaos and in providing security to the citizens in their daily life. We have all to move together to correct and rectify any wrong doing. There can be no overlooking in matters that jeopardize the security of the citizen and his basic rights, or in the exploitation of position. There will be no leniency with breaking the law, or with threatening the security of citizens or with any attack at their property or at state property and with all armed manifestations and other practices that break the law. In this regard, all recommendations made by the Legislative Council should be taken into consideration. In this respect also, we have always to concentrate on strengthening the rule of law. It is the fundamental pillar for work in this regard.


          Over the last two years, we have made steps to reform the judicial apparatus and the courts with the aim of strengthening their independence and capabilities. Ahead of us lie many steps to be taken that need to be consolidated and carried out so as to make the citizen feel the existence of a security umbrella provided by law that is applicable to all, starting with the President of the PNA and down to any citizen. No one is above the law which should be carried out and protected by our security apparatus only. Dear brother Abu Alaa, I assure you of my total support, and that of our people and of all of our official institutions, for the work of your government in this regard.


Third: On the level of Administrative and Financial Reform


          The achievements made on this level, over the last years, provide a firm base to achieve more in order to realize the highest degrees of transparency, control and accountability as well as the reevaluation of the cadres in our ministries and institutions with the aim of development and the achievement of the principle of equal opportunities and justice.


          In this regard, I urge your esteemed Council, to complete all the laws necessary for financial and administrative control, unlawful profitmaking, retirement law and any other laws that, you feel, will provide legal frameworks necessary in that regard. I assure you of total cooperation with your Council. Any one who wants to hold me accountable and discuss this on a bilateral level, or in a commission or in such a meeting like this will find me ready for that.


          I would like, as well, to reaffirm the necessity to follow up any issues pertaining to administrative or financial practices of wrong doing. These should be immediately transferred to the attorney general as he is directed to follow up. We will not be forgiving or lenient in this regard.


Sisters and brothers,


          When we talk about this basket of reform we are not making any favors to our people. Providing them with security, strengthening the rule of law, sound performance in the management of public funds are rights to be fulfilled.


We do not make any favors. These are dues to be paid and commitments to be carried out, because we were elected to achieve them. The consecutive governments won your and our peoples vote of confidence on the basis of programs prepared for their implementation.


          We have to put the task of alleviating the sufferings of our people at the top of our program of action. We have to mobilize all our energies and contacts with the countries of the world to provide us with every possible support in order to ease the fierce economic crisis that we are living through. I call upon my Arab brothers to continue implementing the decisions and resolutions of the Arab summits on supporting the Palestinian people. I thank the fraternal and friendly states which support us continuously, especially the EU, Japan and China as well as the other brothers and friends the world over for their ongoing support, whether on the level of training our security and civilian cadres, or for giving advice, or for receiving our delegations which go to these countries to learn and gain experience.


Sisters and brothers,


          While we call for the launching of a workshop for comprehensive reform, we have to strengthen cooperation among our institutions. I reaffirm here, and once more, my confidence in my brother and comradeinarms Abu Alaa and my total support for the work of his government in all these fields. I convey, as well, greetings and appreciation of your efforts at the PLC, and for your monitoring and control and legislative roles which we consider a corner stone in our political life, experience and democracy.

          Finally, while we remember the heroic martyrs who have laid their lives so that their people would rise up and a free Palestine would be resurrected, while we pay, once again, respectful greeting to our heroes, the prisoners and detainees, who are making these days a new epic in the annals of the imprisoned movement, I would like to say to our people, to our resistant people, to this people, the people of exceeding strength, to the steadfast people till the day of judgment, to the people who hold firmly to their rights and dreams, to the people who own a penetrating vision to confront the conspiracies, the first and the second SykesPicot conspiracy, I say to our people, let us continue the march on our road, in confidence, as we are accustomed to. Dawn will surely come. The day of freedom will undoubtedly come.

          Together, and side by side, we will march until a young boy (a cub) and a young girl (a flower) raise the banner of Palestine high at the top of the minarets of Jerusalem and the churches of Jerusalem. They see it a farfetched goal. We see it a close one.


We will, without doubt,

Help Our apostles and those

Who believe, (both)

In this worlds life

And on the Day

When the Witnesses

Will stand forth,-


And We wished to be

Gracious to those who were

Being depressed in the land,

To make them leaders (in faith)

And make them heirs,,,,



And to enter your Temple

As they had entered it before,

And to visit with destruction

All that fell into their powers.


(It is) the promise of God.

Never does God depart

From His promise.

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