Wednesday, 27 June 2007

PALESTINE: Haniyah speech on internal situation

See many more articles from Arab language and Middle Eastern press at the OURAIM Archive

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Palestinian PM speech on infighting, PLO council meeting...


On June 24, the pro-Hamas Al-Aqsa TV carried a speech made by the
deposed Palestinian Prime Minister Isma'il Haniyah:

"...It has become evident from the bloody events in the Gaza Strip and
West Bank that this situation is an exact implementation of the plan
to topple the Palestinian national unity government and oust Hamas,
dubbed the Dayton plan after the US coordinator.

"This plan sets next autumn, October 2007, as a final date for holding
new Palestinian elections, dissolving the existing political regime,
and removing Hamas from most of the Palestinian Legislative Council
institutions and the government.

"Local, regional, and international parties were enlisted to support
and set this plan in motion with US financial backing, which totalled
$80 million, with Israeli approval and support, and with logistical
support by numerous parties to arm and train Palestinian forces. This
plan also seeks to renege on the obligations to reform the security
apparatuses, because there was a demand not to reform those
apparatuses.

"Therefore, when we started to discuss the restructuring and building
of a national security establishment, devoid of party affiliations and
personal ownership, the whole issue exploded in our faces. This is
because there is no desire to change this security structure, which
was established as a result of unjust agreements with specific goals.
When you as a Palestinian try to restructure or reorganize this
institution, you will face the same situation we did.

"Therefore, the Dayton plan sought to hamper reforms even within the
security institution, and to block the path before reforming and
restructuring the PLO. We therefore say to our people and our nation
that the events in the Gaza Strip were a result of harsh, painful
events, pressures, sanctions, and successive conspiracies during a
year and a half. These conspiracies spared no illegal, illegitimate,
and immoral efforts and means to go against the results of the
elections, sabotage Hamas's reign, and oust this movement out of the
Palestinian arena by any means and regardless of the cost.

"They sought to achieve that even at the expense of casting the
Palestinian people into the inferno of a domestic struggle, and even
if that meant accepting foreign support including money, weapons,
training, incitement, and guidance. All this against the Palestinian
people's choice. I therefore say with all forthrightness, the problem
is not between us and President Abu-Mazin nor is it between Hamas and
Fatah, especially after the Mecca Agreement.

"Yet the problem is between us - and we have the support of the
majority of the people - and a specific trend within Fatah, which has
gained de facto control of Fatah and the PNA and tied itself to
foreign, hostile agendas. This trend used the power of these foreign
parties to overturn the results of the election at any cost, because
it does not want to give up its special status, greed, whims, personal
interests, and its monopoly over the Palestinian decision-making
process and the PNA's reins of power away from law, order, and
legitimacy.

"For many years, we and our people had great proof of the actions of
this trend and the extent of the corruption and disruption it has
committed in the Palestinian arena. We were aware to which fate and
certain catastrophe this trend was leading our people and our cause.
The actions of this trend have become known and tangible to many of
our people inside the homeland and abroad.

"However, the astounding documents and concrete proof that we have
obtained over the last few days paints an even graver, uglier, and
more shocking picture than we had previously imagined. We are certain
that after they view these incriminating facts and astonishing
documents, all the wise individuals in our people and nation will be
surprised and even shocked at the extent of the disaster. Then they
will know which calamity has befallen our poor Palestinian people at
the hands of this trend.

"Now, I would like to discuss the PLO Central Council meeting. I do
not wish to address the legitimacy of the Central Council or whether
it is an elected body or not. I merely want to ask: Why the PLO
institutions are convened whenever we wish and are disregarded at our
discretion. This applies to the PLO Executive Committee, the Central
Council, and the Palestine National Council. When we need these bodies
to make concessions, to erase events, or to annul agreements we invoke
them and consider them the legitimacy.

"I wonder why the Central Council did not convene throughout the 18-
month siege imposed on our Palestinian people to discuss ways to face
the siege. Why did the Central Council fail to convene when the
symbols of Palestinian legitimacy were arrested by Israel? Why did the
Central Council not convene when late President Yasir Arafat was
besieged for two years in the Al-Muqata'ah? Why did the Central
Council not meet to discuss the assassination of President Yasir
Arafat?

"Why did the Central Council not convene to discuss the situation of
the kinfolk in the refugee camps? Why did the council not discuss the
sate of our people in the Nahr al-Barid camp, who are today displaced
and uprooted for the second time, and why did it not discuss the
military clashes that we have been witnessing there for the past
period? Why didn't the council convene to discuss the state of our
kinfolk in the Nahr al-Barid camp?

"Why did the council not convene as the Israeli enemy was
assassinating the leaders of the Palestinian people, most notably,
Shaykh Ahmad Yasin and Yasir Arafat? Why? Why? Dear brothers, it is
our right to ask why the legitimate bodies in the PLO were hindered.
Does the Central Council wish to convene as the PNC did? For over 14
years, more or less, the PNC only convened to vote on the annulment of
articles in the Palestinian National Charter relating to our
historical right to Palestine, and so far has not convened.

"Likewise, the Central Council did not convene for over 10 years, but
it did convene now in order to dissolve the legitimate government and
disrupt the PLC work. Why? Do we wish to invoke the PLO legitimacy
only to grant concessions to the occupation, to annul Palestinian
agreements, or to dissolve democratic contracts? I wonder if after
writing their statement and dissolving the government and the PLC, the
brothers in the Central Council took their pay and went on their way,
or what? I don't understand.

"Why, my brothers, did the central committee not convene to discuss
the state of our Palestinian brethren in fraternal Iraq, who are
facing what they are facing? Why? Why did it not convene to discuss
the fate of Palestinian communities worldwide? I tell you frankly that
the Palestinian people abroad are furious because they lost their term
of reference. Therefore, the Central Council discussed the matter and
there are some decisions.

"Today there is a talk that what happened was a coup against the
legitimacy, a coup against the legitimacy. I would like to ask all the
sons of the Palestinian people and nation: How is legitimacy bestowed?
Is it through the ballot boxes, democracy, and shura, as we did? Maybe
this is not the right way to gain legitimacy. Or is legitimacy
bestowed with US, Israeli, and Western consent? I ask: How is
legitimacy bestowed?

"Dear brothers, we and everyone else understood that legitimacy is
bestowed based on the people's will, through the ballot boxes, and
through free and impartial will without coercion on anything of that
nature. Based on this understanding we respected legitimacy.
Therefore, it is when we say a coup against the legitimacy. Secondly,
I ask: How can we stage a coup against ourselves? We are an important
part of the legitimacy; we have the majority in the PLC and in the
government; we also have presence in the political system.

"So, how can a person stage a coup against himself? People know
themselves best. We know ourselves best. We paved this long path, ran
in the elections, and endured all the difficulties and hurdles of the
issue so that we would become part of the legitimacy through
elections. So how do they now say that we staged a coup against the
legitimacy? Are the government and the PLC illegitimate and only the
Presidency and Central Council legitimate?

"Let us view the matters from all aspects. There are several
legitimacies, and we are an important part of the legitimacy.
Therefore, we do not stage a coup against ourselves. We, dear
brothers, have been patient and have endured, yet the situation in the
field deteriorated until it reached its present level. The Palestinian
people should feel today that we certainly want to protect the
legitimacy.

"Therefore, I am standing here as a prime minister and together with
me the ministers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip - they are not
ministers in the Gaza Strip only - in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. We
are here to preserve the legitimacy. This is a caretaker government
according to the law and the constitution. Dear brothers, I have said
time and time again that to me personally, the position of prime
minister is not equal to a single drop of blood of a Palestinian
martyr.

"Therefore, our brothers in the 10th government - which was entirely
with us as we had 24 ministers from Hamas and some independent figures
- upon the attainment of the Mecca Agreement, which they participated
in drafting, presented their ministries on a golden platter to the new
ministers and left. We did not stick to the ministries, waiting three
or four months to hand the portfolios and cars over to the new
ministers.

"We transferred these ministries in the fastest possible manner. This
is an indication that we are not looking for ministerial positions.
Brothers, we are not after ministerial positions. I tell you, if the
Palestinian people reach an agreement, and Hamas agrees with the
people in Fatah, the Presidency, or others, and then they say to me:
Brother Abu-al-Abid, according to this agreement we want you to go
home. I would tell them: Your wish is my command.

"Brothers, this issue is extremely important. Who now wants to uphold
the legitimacy? Those who breach the Basic Law and constitution and
hinder the implementation of some articles, or those who adhere to
them, saying, dear brothers, there is a PLC, a Basic Law, a
constitution, and existing legal procedures? Are these the ones
seeking legitimacy only to stage a coup against it, or is it those who
disrupt the articles of the constitution and issue decrees?

"I truly find it odd that eight decrees were issued over the past five
days. Eight decrees. I am surprised at President Abu-Mazin because he
is following the advice of those who surround him, drafting decrees on
a daily basis. No, it should not be done this way. There are many
decrees on the emergency government, the annulment of.... to the
extent that all charities and humanitarian institutions as well as the
civil society organizations must be reregistered all over again.

"May God help us. Apparently, history is to begin from this moment as
everything has been annulled. No, this is not right. Therefore, in
this regard, we would like to ask the question: Where is the
legitimacy? Brothers, you stand before a movement that scored a
victory in the field of resistance with the sons of its people. We are
proud of all our sons and all the resistance factions; the noble
factions that took part in the resistance and liberated Gaza, with
Hamas and the Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades at the forefront.

"We are proud of all the sons of the Palestinian people. You stand
before a movement that scored victories in the realm of resistance,
democracy, and rallying popular support. You are not dealing with a
marginal movement. We ask of you.... I call on His Excellency the
president, we ask of you to change these policies. This is a deep-
rooted movement and an original part of the existence of the
Palestinian people.

"If the Israelis and Americans believe that a little siege, a little
suspension of salaries, and some arrests of prisoners and deputies
will cause this movement to collapse and its star to fall, then I tell
you that experience has shown that the more pressures, crises, and
assassinations this movement has faced, the more its splendour,
honour, and prestige have increased.

"I would like now to tackle the separation of the Gaza Strip from the
West Bank. The talk now is that an Islamic emirate, a Palestinian
state, an administration will be established in the Gaza Strip. First
of all, we say clearly to all the Palestinian people, the Arab and
Islamic nations, and all those who love us and follow our affairs:
This is Israeli propaganda circulated by the Israeli media during the
past days to create confusion, saying: This group staged a coup and
wishes to set up an Islamic emirate: Hamastan, Taleban. All this is a
media spin to spread the culture of fear over this issue.

"We are barely capable of swallowing the idea of a Palestinian state
within the 1967 borderlines, let alone a state in the Gaza Strip. We
held a lengthy political discussion with all the sons of our people
until we agreed to the 1967 borders. Second, strip is an inseparable
part of the land of Palestine, and its people are an inseparable part
of the Palestinian people. We are those most protective of our
geographical continuity and our Palestinian existence in its cleanest,
purest meaning at this juncture.

"We are those most interested in adhering to the Basic Law and to our
electoral pledges to the Palestinian people. No one is thinking of
establishing an emirate, nor are these scare tactics.... Let's not
terrify the people by saying Iran, Syria, and I don't know who else is
involved. Rest assured that we are, as I said, part of Palestinian
social fabric, that the Gaza Strip will remain the beacon it has
always been and the symbol of heroism, dignity, courage, and the two
intifadahs, and that it has not given up on its people in the West
Bank or the Diaspora. Gaza and the rest of Palestine, God willing.

"We, dear brothers, in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and
wherever we are, constitute an integral part of our Arab and Islamic
nation. This is our strategic depth. Our strength is also the strength
of the Arab Republic of Egypt; our strength is the strength of Qatar,
Syria, Sudan, and Iraq. We are not against the sons of our nation at
all. This is our nation, our kinfolk, our broad base of support.

"We have had our political differences and have disagreed on some
issues, but we will not break away from our people, our nation, and
our homeland, nor do we think of an independent emirate or advocate
statelets or feudalities; quite the contrary. Therefore, the whole
discussion is basically circulated by Israel to terrify our people,
the sons of our nation, and the neighbouring Arab states so that
people would say Gaza is lost. Gaza has not been lost; it is in safe
hands and will remain a part of Palestine, God Willing. It is not
lost.

"The third point I would like to raise is with regard to the
separation between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Brothers, is this
something new? Is it only after the recent events that this divide was
created? The occupation has created a compulsory separation between
the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Can a Gaza resident reach the West Bank?
Can a West Bank resident reach the Strip? Only VIPs. Not all the VIPs,
after all we are also VIPs but.... There is a real separation.

"In fact, Gaza today is separated. By God, there is an occupation that
created the separation, be it geographical or other, but there is no
divide in our feelings, our nationalism, or our hearts and minds.
There is a separation that was created by the occupation. Many of the
Gaza residents in particular have relatives, daughters, and sisters
inside the 1948 territories that cannot come to the Gaza Strip. I have
three sisters residing inside the 1948 lines, whom I haven't seen for
more than three years. God forbid the Israelis should arrest them now.

"I wonder also who created this divide; was it the recent events or
the decisions that have been adopted at present? When we say that
those who wish to continue their work in the police forces or security
apparatuses will not receive their salaries, this creates a split
between the same people. When we say that all passports issued in Gaza
between this and that date are annulled, this is a divide. When
administrations and bodies are moved from the Gaza Strip to the West
Bank, this is creates a divide. When we cancel an entire government,
this is separation. So who is it that seeks separation?

"I am not searching far. Is it the one creating a divide through his
decisions, decrees, and procedures who is responsible for this, or is
it he who says: No, salaries should be paid to everyone? We say: Do
not fight the people over their bread. Therefore, I salute all the
officers and leaders in the police and other institutions who returned
to their work, disregarding political pressures, saying: We are the
sons of this country and this nation.

"Violation of the law. There is much talk today of the law and claims
that we are in violation of said law. Here I wish to discuss a number
of points: The law grants the president the right to dismiss the prime
minister; it is within his power to do so and no one disputes this.
The law allows the president to declare a state of emergency. These
are the president's powers, and we respect the law. However, the
problem lies in violating the law. Where did this happen?

"First, if the president declares a state of emergency there are
certain provisions: The first provision stipulates that such a state
cannot continue for over 30 days; no president can declare a state of
emergency for more than 30 day. The second provision stipulates that
if the president wishes to extend the state of emergency, he must
bring this before the PLC for approval. If two thirds of the PLC
members approve this, then it can be extended; otherwise, it cannot.

"The third provision - and this is the important one - says that if
the president declares a state of emergency, the incumbent government
- our government - is responsible for enforcing the emergency laws and
running the affairs of the homeland. This is the law. How was the law
violated? First, the formation of an emergency government; not only
declaring a state of emergency. There is no such thing as an emergency
government in the constitution or the law.

"Second, hindering the implementation of some articles of the Basic
Law that make it compulsory to appeal to the PLC, as the PLC itself
was disrupted. Third, dissolving the government and considering it non-
existent. This is also a violation of the law. Thus, there is a
violation of the law, not only of the law that is upheld by the courts
but also of the Basic Law, which organizes Palestinian political
affairs. Therefore, those doing this are in violation of the law.

"Another question: Where does the law stand on what is happening in
the West Bank? Our brothers looked at the Gaza incidents, made
decision and called them laws. We say that there are problems with
this law. Are the people in the West Bank not our kinfolk and our
people? What is the position of the law towards the utter desecration
of rights that is taking place? The arrest of PLC deputies, scholars,
youths, and the attacks on institutions and municipalities, the
replacement of elected municipal councils, gunfire, etc.

"Are all these events legal? Are they happening in the name of the
law? Are these acts in the West Bank legal? If the events the
transpired in the field here were related to the security institution,
the events in the West Bank are not. The security institution has
started to allow all manner of infringements in the West Bank. Even
the house of the PLC Speaker was burned down. Maybe some might say
that this was in response to what happened to the houses of Abu-Mazin
and Abu-Ammar in Gaza, but I stand here before the media and the world
and challenge anyone to go and see for themselves the condition of
President Abu-Mazin's house, which I have placed under special guard.

"Go and see the house of President Abu-Ammar. Is the complete
violation of institutions and municipalities, the arrests, the closure
of institutions, and all the events the occurred in the West Bank in
accordance with the law? Is this happening in the name of the law? We
therefore say: The situation and events in the West Bank must come to
an end, and level-minded individuals must intervene in order to end
this situation, preserve the unity of our people, and prevent us from
taking the events and procedures in the West Bank too far.

"No, the law should apply to all; the law - in both parts of the
homeland at this stage - must apply to all sons of the Palestinian
people - members of Hamas, Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation
of Palestine, and the Islamic Jihad, and citizens. The law should also
apply to the president and the prime minister. If we are to respect
the law, we must respect it in all its facets.

"The events in the West Bank constitute a dangerous violation,
infringement on rights, and a breach of the red lines. This is not
acceptable. We therefore tell all our people in the West Bank: We are
with you; have patience and faith in God, and, God willing, this will
be a fleeting hardship, and only the rights of heaven and earth will
remain. The issue of the assassination of His Excellency the president
and all issue pertaining to this. Actually, we can say this clearly:
Political assassinations are not part of our culture or our policy.

"The issue of President Abu-Mazin never was and never will be.
However, a recording is circulating showing youths building a tunnel
against the Israeli occupation some eight months ago; perhaps you
noticed that they were wearing winter clothes and had lit a fire, so
this happened in the winter. This was done eight months ago in the
northern Gaza Strip in order to face the Israeli occupation, and is
not related in any way to the president or to any plan against the
president. We never thought about this.

"We are men of honour who respect their obligations. We signed an
agreement, and we are partners to a political regime. We are not
backstabbers and never learnt how to do so. This is not our logic at
all. I therefore vehemently stress that this accusation is totally
false. Some people say that there is a recording and things to that
effect. We clarified our position; we maintain that these accusations
are false and that this tunnel was prepared to fight the Israeli
occupation.

"Hamas and the Al-Qassam Brigades carried out numerous operations via
tunnels, including Operation Dissipated Illusion. These tunnels are
built to fight the occupation and not against the president or any
other figure. So some people were angered by this false impression. On
the other hand, what can we say; when we were fired upon directly as
we entered through the Rafah Crossing?

"This was a direct assassination attempt, which martyred one of my
personal bodyguards, martyr Abd-al-Rahman Nassar may God have mercy on
his sole, and wounded my political adviser and other individuals
including my son, Abd-al-Salam, who was hit in the face. The brothers
who have the documents say that the issue has been exposed and that
they may present the offending officers to the Palestinian people to
tell them how the assassination operation was planned and carried out.
Why should we as a people, as a nation, as officials not be upset by
this? Why did we not take any procedures?

"As the members of the government - the national unity government -
were meeting to discuss the events in the West Bank and Gaza Strip,
shots were fired at the meeting hall; all the ministers, including the
prime minister and minister Sa'di al-Kurunz of Fatah who was attending
the meeting in Gaza, left the meeting while the gunfire continued. Is
this not an assassination operation? When an RPG is fired at my home
and the shells penetrate three walls while I am in the house, is this
not an assassination operation?

"Do we pause to think about an imaginary operation but do not stop as
Palestinians and as a nation to ponder real assassination attempts,
including confessions regarding the planning of the assassination of
former interior minister Sa'id Siyam whose bedroom suffered a direct
RPG hit? When projectiles are fired at the home of our brother Dr
Mahmud al-Zahhar and when many leaders are attacked, are all these not
preplanned assassination operations?

"Why did the people and the officials not raise questions about these
incidents? I therefore stress: We reject the policy of political
assassinations and will never walk down this path. We are merciful
towards our Palestinian people and will remain so, God willing. Of
course, our brother Dr Husayn Abu-Ajwa dedicated a whole hour to
discussing these events.

"Another issue is that we are part of an axis and the incidents in
Gaza are part of regional arrangements. This has also been exaggerated
by claiming that Iran is involved and other issues. These scarecrows
in the form of Iran, Syria, Qatar, and Egypt, all these are scarecrows
designed to serve US policies in the region and are an attempt to
weaken these opposing these policies based on the notion that there
are regional alliances.

"We therefore wish to note the following: We cherish all our ties with
Arab and Islamic state without exception. We have relations with the
Islamic republic in Iran just as we have relation with the Arab
republic of Egypt. We have ties with Syria just as we do with Jordan.
We have ties with Qatar just as we do with Algeria, Morocco, and deep-
rooted with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Did we take money from Iran
when the Palestinian people were under the siege and when we were
looking for money high and low?

"Yes, we did, this is something we do not hide. However, we took money
from many Arab countries; fraternal Qatar granted us more than $400
million; Algeria more that $100 million; Sudan more than $50 million;
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a while ago while we were still in a
unity government, had agreed to grant $0.5 billion to the Palestinian
people. We take money from everyone because we are a besieged,
destitute, wounded people.

"This is the Arab nation's duty towards us and we have the right to
claim this from our nation. But to claim that the issue has a
political aspects? I want to understand, how is Iran related to the
events in Gaza? Did it send aircraft that over flew Iraq and other
countries and entered this area? This is wrong, let's not use these
scarecrows. Events escalated and developed in the field until reaching
this point; people left headquarters.

"We are not affiliated with anyone and nobody owns us. We make our own
national decision, but take pride in our Arab and Islamic strategic
depth. At the same time, no one can affect our decision at all. Many
countries may not have liked Hamas's political flexibility in the
Mecca agreement, but this was our belief, which we followed without
hesitation. Therefore, we are not swayed by pressure from anyone; ours
is an equal, positive relationship with everyone.

"We are proud of these ties with all the sons of our Arab and Islamic
nation, and we thank them and their countries that stood by our side
and did not give up on us, welcoming us, our kinfolk, and our people.
Therefore, we reject viewing the matter in this context and ask that
this erroneous understanding be revised.

"Gaza and its internal security: It is clear that God has bestowed
upon us small measures of the security that was so lacking; we lacked
security for a year and a half. You can probably see this security
with your eyes just as the foreign media saw it when dozens of outlets
entered the Gaza Strip. We directed everyone to allow anyone to enter
Gaza, which is now wide open before all foreign media outlets, as we
have nothing to hide.

"Let them watch, monitor, follow, and convey to world what it is that
they see. There is now a security that was lacking. I now remember our
Palestinian people and media outlets that used to come to me saying: O
Abu-al-Abid, we are willing to eat just as long as you give us
security; we are willing to go hungry just as long as we have
security. Today, a measure of security is being restored. However, my
dear brother, I say: We do not accept partial security.

"We will not accept a secure Gaza Strip and an insecure West Bank. We
will not allow the security lawlessness to end in the Gaza Strip and
spread in the West Bank. We are all sons of the same people, and we
seek security in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and everywhere we
exist. However, we are happy that the people are sensing a certain
level of the previously non-existent security that was lost through a
predetermined plan.

"I met with officer and leaders in the police, before they received
orders to stay at home, they all told me that they are prepared....
one of the top-ranking officers told me: O brother Abu-al-Abid, we are
ready, willing, and able to work for the sake of our country and our
homeland. I also want to tell you that we used to receive orders from
our leadership - regardless of the level of said leadership - to
maintain the state of lawlessness and chaos until Hamas drops out of
the government.

"This is what all officers told me in a meeting; these were the orders
they received. Therefore the problem before was not a lack of fuel,
cars, and.... No, this was preplanned so that the Palestinian people w
ould loose their security. Engineer Salim Sabra was kidnapped for 15
months. We formed dozens of operation rooms in order to release him,
and told the security apparatuses: O brothers, o security forces, he
is in such and such a place; and they reply: Yes, ok, we will send
people, we sent people.... 15 months.

"Now the engineer Salim Sabra is at home among his family members and
children safe and sound, by the grace of God first of all, and then by
the actions of the Muslim reformists and of the Executive Force and
the Al-Qassam Brigades. Now we only have the case of the reporter
Johnston. Johnston has been kidnapped for a long time, and is being
held by a group of youths. We have announced out position condemning
and rejecting this abduction. I sent several messengers to these
youths, telling them: if you believe this action serves Islam, you are
mistaken; this harms Islam.

"If you believe this act serves the Palestinian cause, you are
mistaken; this harm the Palestinian cause. If you think this is a
proof of your manhood; it is not a sign of manhood to have three men
abduct and hold a poor, foreign, unprotected journalist moving in the
streets of Gaza. This is not an act of manhood. We therefore announced
that the journalist's abduction cannot continue, but the British
Government asked us not to use force in order not to endanger his
life.

"We respected the wishes of the British Government, but we employed
every means possible and went through all channels, including a
special channel from the Prime Minister's Office that met with them at
all hours, in order to remove this blemish from the pure face of our
Palestinian people. They kidnapped this journalist and paraded him in
an orange jumpsuit; today they even paraded him wearing an explosive
belt.

"This issue must come to an end. We will not allow the continued
abduction of the British journalist. This is our religious, moral, and
ethical commitment to guest in our land. Had he harmed us, had there
been reports of him spying on us, then there is a Palestinian legal
system and he would have been put on trial. But journalists attest to
the fact that this man worked and was.... Therefore, the case of
journalist Alan Johnston must come to an end.

"This is our commitment. This issue must not remain hostage to some
youths who hold beliefs outside the mainstream and objectivity of
Islam. We take pride in the fact that we are believers in objective
Islamic thought. We are those who spread light and not the edicts of
the dark. The Gaza Strip is lit up with the light of Islam and
Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa.... Isn't that right Shaykh Yunus? I ask God
to make you all beacons of good and light for all our people.

"We have offered protection to all institutions, properties, and to
every Organization of the Islamic Conference. We are of the opinion
that every institution in Gaza should be safe, God willing, and we are
willing to listen to any complaint about anything that happens to any
institution or legal, educational, charity, or political organization.
We are prepared to mobilize all people; we mobilized volunteers in the
thousands to organize traffic in the roads and to ensure security and
protection for institutions.

"We did not stand helpless before the threats of certain individuals
in the security apparatuses who fear for their salaries. We sent
thousand of volunteers to the streets. Therefore, we hope that this
security in Gaza will, God willing, spread to the West Bank and to all
parts of the homeland. But I also say that there can be no security
with the existence of the occupation; as long the occupation
continues, our people will lack security and we will not sense
security and safety unless the occupation leaves; and leave it will
from all our Palestinian land, God willing.

"The Arab League and the fact-finding commission: On your behalf and
on behalf of the Palestinian people, I denounce the statements which
slighted Secretary General of the Arab League, Dr Amr Musa. We praise
the role of the Secretary General, who has been in contact with us for
a year and a half. He has been in personal contact with us, and in
contact with the president and the leaders.

"The door of the Arab League has been open for all who wish to enter.
The role of the Arab League and its Secretary General is much
appreciated, as is their role in facing the siege. However, the
incapacity and the inability to make decisions were greater, true.

"Yes, efforts were made the convening of the Arab League at such
speech and the decision to form a fact-finding commission and to
launch an Arab-sponsored dialogue, we announce from here that we are
prepared to cooperate with the Arab fact-finding commission, and that
its first order of business should be to look into the sol-called
assassination of President Abu-Mazin.

"We are prepared to work with this committee, allow it the space and
atmosphere it needs, and supply it with all the necessary information
and files. We are ready for an inter-Palestinian dialogue under Arab
patronage; we have no problem with this. The final point, before I
conclude, concerns the Christian brothers in our country. First, our
commitment to the Palestinian and Arab Christian brethren is in
accordance with shari'ah. Praise be to God Almighty, who said: Allah
forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your)
Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly
with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.

"The commitment to our Christian brothers in Palestine is grounded in
shari'ah and in our ethics and patriotism. We have shared the homeland
and the same fate for decades. We wronged nobody. We wronged nobody,
and history can attest to that. By God, there are things I am unable
to say in public about their service to us and our service to them.
Therefore, because we are proud of this sector, the Change and Reform
list included one of our Christian brothers, Mr Husam al-Tawil, as an
independent member.

"In the 10th government, which was controlled solely by Hamas as it
was not a national unity government and we did not have any
commitments whatsoever, we were proud to have His Excellency Abu-
Ilyas, one of our Christian brethren in Bethlehem, as the minister of
tourism. He was a member in the Hamas-led 10th government. With regard
to the churches, they are under our patronage, under the protection of
the Palestinian people.

"The incident that took place has nothing to do with a church. As for
the Al-Wardiyah School, I will tell you who was behind what happened
there and who tore down the statue of the unknown soldier. They are
not connected to this. It was those who hold views different from
those of Hamas. They were not the sons of Hamas at all, and it was a
school, not a church.

"When I found out about this, I sent two distinguished brothers - Dr
Basim, his excellency the minister; Dr Muhammad Awad, cabinet
secretary; and our brother, Engineer Abu-al-Amir, his excellency the
minister of communications, to meet with Father Emanuel Musallam and
present the government's position, which rejects and condemns this,
and stress our commitment. We told him also: We are willing to provide
anything you need or want. Therefore, we should not break things up in
this way.

"I would like to send a message to the people in our beloved Gaza
Strip: First: I would like to stress that the siege will not last much
longer, God willing, and will be removed sooner or later. Second: No
one will be wronged. The rule of law is our goal and logic. This is
consistent with the general pardon we have declared.

"Third: We will not allow the merchants of death, such as drug
traffickers and thieves, to commit crimes. We have given the Executive
Force and the police clear instructions to launch a campaign against
the dens of drug dealers, and we are carrying out this campaign.

"Fourth: Any free, dignified, and noble person from among our brethren
in Fatah is safe and secure in the full sense of these words Fifth:
The same goes for the fraternal Fatah institutions. They are immune,
and will not come under any harm. We respect political pluralism, and
we are men of principle who understand what the equation is in the
Palestinian arena; we understand that we have a long way to go and
that the Palestinian domestic situation has fallen out of step. We
will extend our hand to any free, respectable, noble, and loyal man
who extends a hand to us.

"Sixth: We will not accept the notion of fighting people through their
livelihood. We will exert efforts to pay the salaries of the workers
and officials who are committed to their jobs even when their salaries
are not paid. Anyone who is committed to his job even when his salary
is not paid will find that we are committed to paying him his salary.
I also insist, however, that everybody receive their salaries, without
exception. We will not fight people through their livelihood. We will
not hold them hostage to political pressure, especially in light of
this siege.

"Seventh: We will strive to strengthen the spirit of national
reconciliation among the Palestinians - people, factions, clans, and
individuals - and work to solve all the problems and disputes and
settle the scores according to shari'ah and the law in a manner that
will correctly strengthen fraternal relations within the united
Palestinian people. Eighth: We are now studying the possibility of
legally registering and licensing weapons, with the exception of the
weapons of the resistance.

"Ninth: We will be on the lookout for those who attempt to profit at
the expense of the people's food; we will stand up against arbitrary
price hikes. Tenth: We would like to provide more freedom and fight
lawlessness. My dear brothers, o sons of the Palestinian people: I
hereby propose general political outlines for getting out of the
current situation.

"First, Palestinian legitimacies must be respected and protected. We
respect the president's legitimacy; we respect the legitimacy of the
Palestinian Legislative Council and the government's legitimacy. All
legitimacies must be respected. As for respecting one legitimacy while
doing away with another legitimacy, that is unacceptable. Therefore,
if we want to get out of our current situation, we must respect all
legitimacies, including the PLC and the government.

"Second, there is no other option except for an unconditional dialogue
in accordance with the principle of no winners and losers, no injured
party and no injuring party. There is no other way except coexistence,
and there is no other option but national unity. Shutting the door in
the face of dialogue means only one thing: seeking assistance from
outside against the Palestinian people. This will not have any effect
whatsoever, just as continuing with the siege will not help anybody
nor will it break our will and resolve, God willing.

"Third, the homeland must not be partitioned. We affirm that our
homeland and people - in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1948
lands, and in the diaspora - are united. Fourth, the establishment of
a national unity government based on national accord in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip.

"Fifth, commitment to the holy Mecca agreements. I hereby tell the
sons of our Palestinian people, our entire Arab nation, and the
custodian of the two holy places: We are committed to the Mecca
agreement and to a dialogue according to its principles. Sixth,
restructuring the security establishment according to national
foundations. Brothers, this is because the security establishment was
the source of the problems. It was the main reason and the essence of
the problem. The blowup was security-related, not political. On the
political level, we had coexistence; we had differences, and we
reached agreements.

"The blowup was security-related. This is why there is no other option
but to redesign the security establishment according to national
principles. I hereby confirm that we do not want the security
apparatuses and the security headquarters to remain outside of the PNA
framework. What we will not accept from others, we will not accept
from ourselves either. We say that the security apparatuses must be
laid on pure national foundations so that they belong to the entire
homeland and all patriots.

"They must not belong to any specific political party or any specific
group but rather to all the Palestinian people. Their mission must be
to secure the homeland and citizens, and they must be subjected to the
rule of law, operate under the supervision of the PLC, and carry out
the policies of the accepted government. Seventh, stop the all-out
campaign that is going on in the West Bank.

"Regardless of whatever differences there are, schools and exams must
not be disrupted. Education must be left out of the dispute. As for
the leaking of exam sheets, this is forbidden. I hereby ask the
security apparatuses in the West Bank and the legal system to pursue
the people who leaked the matriculation exams. Bring us those who
leaked the exams and harmed the education process. This move should
not target specific people, figures, parties, and institutions,
however, while exempting others.

"Eighth, during the incidents, sporadic transgressions took place
because nobody was capable of controlling the masses' emotions, and
things got out of control for a short period of time. We, for our
part, reject any violation of the law and any attack against public
property or other targets. We are bold enough to face these mistakes,
correct them, restore rights to their owners, and carry out our
religious and legal responsibilities.

"At the same time, however, we call for holding accountable those who
gave cover to the security apparatuses, turned the security
headquarters into centres used for torturing people, and allowed
houses and mosques to be destroyed; people, imams, preachers,
religious scholars, and university professors to be killed; houses to
be burned down; the sanctities to be violated; charitable societies,
NGOs, and Koran recitation centres to be attacked; the PLC speaker's
house to be burned; the houses of imprisoned leaders and martyrs to be
raided; and the local councils to be taken over in Gaza, in addition
to various crimes in the West Bank.

"Ninth, we hereby welcome the Arab League decision to form a
commission of inquiry into all the incidents, and we call upon it to
immediately carry out its decision. We are prepared to hand the
commission all the information it needs in order to succeed. Tenth,
stop all the harmful foreign interventions in Palestinian domestic
affairs.

"O brothers and sisters, sons of the Palestinian people. God willing,
we will uphold our covenant with God and uphold our pledge to our
people and nation out of loyalty to the martyrs' blood, to the
prisoners, and to the injured; out of loyalty to the Palestinian
people's unity and our territorial unity; and out of loyalty to the
resistance and mujahidin who bestow pride upon us. They are heroes,
heroes in every place and at all time and on every land on which they
walk. May peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you." - TV -
Middle East, Middle East

1 comment:

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