The Proposed Palestinian Referendum

(June 6, 2006)


Mahmoud Abbas demanded that Hamas to accept a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or face a Palestinian referendum. If Hamas does not accept the plan, which calls for a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem, Abbas says he will put it to a Palestinian vote. The text of the proposed referendum follows:

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate; “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves [Koranic Verse].” Out of a high sense of national and historical responsibility; in view of the dangers facing our people; in order to enhance the domestic Palestinian front and safeguard the national unity and the unity of our people in the homeland and in exile; in order to confront the Israeli enterprise, which aims to impose an Israeli solution, destroy our people's dream and right to establish a fully sovereign Palestinian state - the Israeli government intends to implement this plan during the coming stage by completing the construction of the racial wall, Judaizing Jerusalem, expanding the Israeli settlements, seizing the Jordan Valley, annexing large parts of the West Bank and preventing our people from exercising their right to return; in order to preserve the accomplishments of our people, which they achieved during their long march of struggle; in loyalty to the martyrs of our great people and in recognition of the woes of their prisoners and the wounded; based on the fact that we are still in a liberation stage the main feature of which is national and democratic, which necessitates a struggle and political strategy commensurate with this feature; in order to render the comprehensive national dialogue successful based on the Cairo Declaration and the urgent need for unity — based on all that, we present this document to our great, steadfast people, to Prime Minister Isma'il Haniyah, to the Palestine National Council chairman and members, to the Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker and members, to all the Palestinian forces and factions, to all the non-governmental and popular institutions and organizations, and to the leaders of Palestinian public opinion in the homeland and in exile. We hope they will consider this document as an indivisible whole, and we hope it will be approved and supported by everyone and mainly contribute to reaching the Palestinian national accord document:

1. The Palestinian people at home and in exile seek to liberate their land and realize their right of freedom, return and independence, and their right to self-determination, including their right to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital on all the land occupied in 1967, guaranteeing the right of return for the refugees, liberating all the prisoners and detainees, drawing upon our people's historic right in the land of our ancestors, the U.N. charter, international law, and what international legitimacy guarantees.

2. Expediting the realization of what was agreed upon in Cairo in March 2005 regarding developing and activating the role of the PLO, and the joining of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in this organization as the legitimate and sole representative of the Palestinian people wherever they exist; and in line with development on the Palestinian front according to democratic bases and to strengthen the representation of the PLO, the legitimate and sole representative of our people, in a way that would enable it to carry out its responsibilities in leading our people at home and in exile, in mobilizing them, defending their national, political, and human rights in all domains and functions, regional and international; the national interest constitutes that a new national council be formed before the end of 2006 in a way that guarantees the representation of all the forces, factions, national and Islamic parties, and groups everywhere, all sectors, institutions, and personalities on the basis of proportional representation, attendance, and effectiveness in the political, struggle, social, and popular domains, and in protecting the PLO as a wide frontal framework, a comprehensive national coalition, and a national framework that assembles all Palestinians at home and abroad as a higher political reference.

3. The Palestinian people's right to resistance and upholding the choice of resistance by all means, and concentrating the resistance in territories occupied in 1967, alongside political action and negotiations and diplomatic work, and continuing popular resistance against the occupation in all its forms, places and policies, and giving importance to expanding the participation of all sectors, fronts, groups and public in this popular resistance.

4. Devising a Palestinian plan for comprehensive political action, unifying the Palestinian political discourse based on the Palestinian national consensus program, Arab legitimacy, international resolutions fair to our people, which are represented by the PLO, the PA — its chief and government, national and Islamic factions, civil society groups, public figures — to be able to reactivate and develop and mobilize Arab, Islamic, and international political, financial, economic and humanitarian assistance to our people and national authority and in support of our people's right to self-determination, freedom, return, independence, and confronting the Israeli plan to impose the Israeli solution on our people, and stand up to the unjust siege on us.

5. Protecting and developing the Palestinian National Authority as the nucleus for the upcoming state, this authority that was founded by our people, and their struggle, sacrifices, blood and suffering of its children; higher national interest requires the respect of the temporary constitution of this authority, and the laws in effect, respecting the responsibilities and authorities of the elected president for the will of the Palestinian people in free, democratic and fair elections, and respecting the responsibilities and authorities of the government which was granted confidence by the parliament, and the importance and need of creative cooperation between the presidency and the government, and joint action, convening periodical meetings between them to settle any disputes with brotherly dialogue on the basis of the temporary constitution and the higher national interest, and the need to carry out a comprehensive reform for all national institutions, particularly the judiciary, and respecting the law on all levels, and implementing its decisions, and supporting and strengthening the rule of law.

6. Forming a national coalition government in way that would guarantee the participation of all parliamentary blocs, particularly Fatah and Hamas, and the political forces who want to participate on the basis of this document and a common program to alleviate the Palestinian situation locally, on the Arab front, regionally and internationally; and facing the challenges with a strong national government that has the popular and political Palestinian support from all forces, as well as Arab and international support, and can carry out the reform program, combatting poverty, and unemployment; and providing the best possible assistance to the sectors that endured the responsibilities of steadfastness, resistance, the uprising, and was the victim of the criminal Israeli aggression, particularly the families of martyrs, injured, and the owners of houses and properties destroyed by the occupation, as well as the unemployed and the graduates.

7. Managing the negotiations is the authority of the PLO and president of the PA on the basis of upholding Palestinian national interests and realizing them, provided that any fateful/decisive agreement be presented to the new PNC to ratify or be put up to public referendum if possible.

8. Liberating the prisoners and detainees is a sacred national duty that must be carried out by all national and Islamic forces and factions, the PLO and the PA's president and government and the PLC and all resistance formations.

9. Efforts must be redoubled to support and look after refugees and defending their rights. A popular representative conference of the refugees must be convened, which would yield agencies that would follow up on reaffirming the right of return, upholding it, and calling on the international community to implement Resolution 194 calling for the right of refugees to return and compensation.

10. Working to form a united resistance front called the "Palestinian resistance front" to lead and carry out the resistance against occupation and to unify and coordinate the resistance action and form a unified political reference for it.

11. Upholding the democratic path, holding general and periodic free, democratic and fair elections according to the law, for the president and the legislature, and the regional and local councils; and respecting the principle of peaceful rotation of power; and pledging to protect the democratic Palestinian experience and democratic choice and their results; and respecting the rule of law, the necessary and public freedoms, freedom of the press, and equality between citizens in rights and duties without discrimination; and protecting the gains made by women, promoting and strengthening them.

12. Rejecting and condemning the unjust siege on our people led by the United States and Israel, and calling on Arabs, publicly and officially to support the Palestinian people and the PLO and its PA; and calling on Arab governments to implement Arab summit resolutions, the political, financial, economic, and public ones that are in support of our Palestinian people, their steadfastness, and their national cause, and reaffirming that the PA is committed to Arab consensus and joint Arab action.

13. Calling the Palestinian people to unity and cohesion and closing ranks, supporting the PLO, the PA's president and government and supporting the steadfastness and resistance in the face of the aggression and siege, and rejecting the interference in internal Palestinian affairs.

14. Rejecting all forms of disunity, division and what leads to strife (sedition), condemning the use of weapons regardless of the justifications to settle internal disputes, banning the use of weapons between the children of the same people and reaffirming the sacredness of the Palestinian blood; and committing to dialogue as the only means to resolve disputes, expressing opinions by all means, including opposing the authority and its decisions according to the law; and the right of peaceful protest, organizing rallies and demonstrations and strikes provided they are peaceful, clear of weapons, and do not transgress on people and their property or public property.

15. National interest requires searching for the best appropriate means to continue to engage our people and their political forces in Gaza in their new situation in the battle for freedom, return and independence, liberating the West Bank and Jerusalem in a way that forms a real force for the steadfastness and resistance of our people there. National interest requires a reevaluation of the most successful ways and means of struggle against the occupation.

16. The need to reform and modernize the Palestinian security institution and its sectors to make it more able to carry out its role in defending the nation and citizens, facing up to the occupation and aggression, maintaining public order and security, implementing laws, ending chaos, public display of guns, confiscating weapons of chaos, which greatly harm the resistance and defame its image and threaten the unity of the Palestinian society; and the need to coordinate and organize the relation between the forces and resistance groups, and to organize and protect their weapons.

17. Calling on the legislative council to continue to issue laws that regulate the work of the security institutions and their different branches, and to ensue a law that would ban political party membership (action) for those who are members of the security bodies, and committing to the elected political reference stipulated in the law.

18. Work to expand the role and presence of international solidarity committees and groups, lovers of peace, to support the steadfastness of our people and their just struggle against occupation and settlements, the racist separation wall politically and regionally, and for the implementation of the ICJ decision to remove the wall and the settlements and their illegalities.

Signed by:

Marwan Barghouti, Fatah, secretary general

Sheik Abdel Khaliq al-Natsche, Hamas, senior leadership

Sheik Bassam al-Saadi, Islamic Jihad

Abdel Rahim Malouh, PFLP, deputy secretary general


Sources: The Associated Press, (May 25, 2006); The Washington Institute for Near East Policy