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Palestinian Elections & Government: Palestinian National Unity Government Platform

(March 20, 2007)

The Palestinian people have lived for more than 60 years under the yoke of dispersion, deprivation and eviction and suffered due to occupation all kinds of suffering and oppression and aggression while our people marked a long process of struggle, resistance, perseverance, and resilience through which they sacrificed hundreds of thousands of martyrs and injured and prisoners and gave the best examples of sacrifice and self denial and giving and clinging to their rights and constants moving through important historical phases until we reached the phase of the national unity government (the eleventh government). This government was born after many efforts exerted by the loyal members of our people who worked day and night to reach a reconciliatory vision and common denominators that gather all Palestinians under one umbrella.

This government came as a fruit of the positive spirit and mutual confidence that resulted in solving all issues in the various fields and this government is one of the major and leading results of the blessed Mecca Agreement under the sponsorship of the Saudi King Abdul Aziz. The national unity government is the culmination of a long series of Palestinian dialogues where Egypt and Syria had a leading role in sponsoring these dialogues and following them up with appreciated efforts by several brotherly Arab countries and the Arab and Islamic organizations. It also reflects the devotion and loyalty to the long process of martyrs and the pains of the prisoners and injured, mainly the major martyrs the late president Yasser Arafat and Sheikh Imam Ahmad Yaseen and Leader Abu Ali Mustafa and leader Fathi al-Shiqaqi and leader Abdul Abbas.

Based on the inalienable rights of our people, with a commitment to the document of national reconciliation, in light of the letter of appointment [of Ismail Haniya as prime minister] and assuming that we are still in the process of self-liberation and [nation] building, the platform of the [Palestinian] national unity government is based on the following [principles]:

First and foremost - The political sphere

1. The government asserts that security and stability in the region are conditional upon the termination of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and on the recognition of the Palestinian people's right to self determination. The government will work with our Arab brothers and with the international community to terminate the occupation and to return our people's legitimate rights, the first of which is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty over all the lands occupied in 1967 and with Jerusalem as its capital. That will enable us to build a firm, consolidated foundation for peace, security and prosperity throughout the region and [for] generations to come.

2. The government is committed to protecting the supreme national interests of the Palestinian people, to guard its rights, to protect and develop its achievements, to work to realize its national goals as ratified by the decisions of the [Palestinian] Legislative Council in the articles of the basic law (i.e., the Palestinian constitution], in the national reconciliation document and by the decisions made at the Arab summit meetings. On that basis the government will honor the legitimate international decisions [i.e., decisions made by the UN and international agreements] and agreements signed by the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

3. The government will devote special efforts to encouraging all Palestinian [political] forces to accelerate the implementation of the Cairo Agreement with relation to the PLO.

4. The government commits itself to rejecting what is referred to as "a state with temporary borders," as suggested by the American-Israeli plan.

5. A reaffirmation of the right to return and adherence to it and a call to the international community to carry out [UN] Resolution 194 regarding the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to the lands and property they left, and to receive compensation.

6. The government is committed to working assiduously to release the heroes and heroines [held] in Israeli jails, and to release the members of the [Palestinian] parliament, the ministers and chairman and the members of the local councils who were abducted [by Israel].

7. The government is committed to oppose the measures [taken by] the occupation in [Palestinian] lands: assassinations [i.e., targeted killings], detentions, raids, military roadblocks, and to deal with the issues of the crossings, the siege and the closure.

8. [The government is committed to] consolidating the ties with [our] sister Arab-Muslim states, friendly states and the [political] powers interested in liberty, justice, openness and cooperation regionally and internationally on a basis of mutual respect.

Second: Jerusalem

1. The establishment of a high committee for Jerusalem affairs in accordance with the executive committee of the PLO to monitor the issues of steadfastness in Jerusalem and to allot funds from a clear [i.e., definite] government budget for Jerusalem , included in the general budget.

2. To oppose [manifestations of] Israeli policy regarding Jerusalem - as related to the land, people and holy places - and to work to allot sufficient resources in the budget [of the Palestinian government] to support the steadfastness of the [Palestinian] residents of Jerusalem. In addition, public condemnation of the acts of the occupation regarding everything related to the city and holy Al-Aqsa mosque, while raising the issue of Jerusalem in local and international arenas and calling upon the sons of the Arab-Islamic nation to be responsible for defending Jerusalem and supporting its residents politically and through the media.

Three: Confronting the [Israeli] occupation

1. The government asserts that all forms of "resistance," including mass popular resistance against the occupation, is the Palestinian people's legitimate right, ensured by all accepted international conventions. It is our people's right to defend themselves against continued Israeli aggression.

2. The government - through national reconciliation - will work to establish and extend the lull in the fighting, so that it becomes full and mutual, in return for the Israeli occupation's commitment to stop all its measures, including assassinations [i.e., targeted killings], detentions, raids, razing buildings, exposing and confiscating lands, stopping the earthworks in Jerusalem, removing the roadblocks, reopening the crossings, removing limitations on travel, and determining procedure and a defined schedule for releasing prisoners.

3. The government ratifies what was said in the national conciliation document, according to which conducting negotiations is within the authority of the PLO and the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, based on adherence to and realizing the national Palestinian goals, and based on the defense of unshakable Palestinian rights and principles. Any diplomatic agreement reached will be presented to the new Palestinian Legislative Council for ratification and signing, or a general referendum will be held of the Palestinian people at home and abroad within the framework of an appropriate law.

4. The government will work to encourage the relevant parties involved to accelerate the conclusion of the affair of the captive Israeli soldier as part of an honorable exchange of prisoners and the return of the deported [Palestinians].

5. The government emphasizes that regional peace and stability depend on the termination of the occupation, the return of our people's national rights, the removal of the racist fence [i.e., the security fence] and the settlements, the termination of Judaization, of making Jerusalem a Jewish city and [the termination of] the policy of annexation and every form of racial discrimination, and the return of [the Palestinians'] rights.

Four - Security

The national unity government is aware of the seriousness of the internal security situation, and is of the opinion that one of its most important [missions] is taking control of the existing security situation. To that end, full cooperation is necessary between the presidency [the office of the chairman] and the government. To achieve that, the government will rely on the following [things]:

1. Issuing a call and working for the reconvening of the high council for national security as the highest authority of all security forces and the agency for directing activity and determining policy.

2. [Determining] the structure of the security forces, building them on professional foundations, working to supply their needs and carrying out a general reform which will eliminate partisan affiliation. In addition, they will be distanced from political alliances and struggles, their loyalty will be only to the country and they will be committed to carrying out the decisions of their political leaders. Those who work for the security establishment will carry out only the duties delegated to them .

3. Commitment to follow the guidelines for the service in security forces, as ratified by the Legislative Council.

4. [The government is committed to] formulating an overall security program to end all manifestations of anarchy, security confusion and attacks [by Palestinians against each other], to protect blood [i.e., life], self-respect, and public and private property and assets. The confiscation of [illegal] weapons [will be carried out], ensuring civilian safety. [The government will work] to correct injustice [done to individuals] through [respect for] the rule of law and support for the police so that they may carry out their duties and the decisions of the legal [system] in the best way possible.

Five - The legal sphere

1. The government, in full cooperation with the judiciary, will work to ensure a reform of the legal system and its operation, and to [fully] protect all its institutions. Thus it will be able to fulfill its responsibilities, carrying out its duties [of ensuring] justice and fighting corruption. That will be done [by] the [strict] preservation of its independence, implementing the rule of law and enforcing the law with fairness, transparency, without bias and by monitoring the files relating to corruption and attacks on public property.

2. The government stresses that it will act in accordance with the [Palestinian] basic law which determines the relations between the three authorities based on their separation and honoring the authority given to each by the basic law.

3. The government will support his honor the president [i.e., the chairman] in fulfilling his duties. It will strictly ensure full cooperation with the Palestinian presidency in accordance with the law and will work with the Legislative Council and the judiciary to develop a Palestinian political system on which to found [the existence] of one united strong national authority.

Six - The economy 7

1. The government seeks to terminate the various forms of the oppressive siege forced upon our people.

2. The government calls for a reexamination of the Paris economic agreement [signed in 1994] and a liberation of the Palestinian economy from dependence [on Israel ].

3. Highest priority will be given to advancing the national economy. [Governmental] protection will be given to the economic sectors [dealing with] manufacturing and services, and national [i.e., Palestinian] exports will be encouraged while the national product will be supported in every way possible. Economic and commercial ties will be developed with the Arab-Muslim world, the EU and other countries.

4. The consumer will be protected, the private sector will be encouraged, an appropriate environment will be created for its operation, a firm working relationship will be created between the government and institutions in the private sector, and monopolies will be eliminated. The just managing and division of existing resources will be determined. The government will provide an appropriate environment and atmosphere of protection and stability for venture capital.

5. The government will encourage economic growth in a way appropriate to its values and tradition, and [through] realizing social justice. That will be done to protect the private sector, encourage investment, fight poverty and unemployment, strengthen productive economic sectors, rehabilitate the infrastructure, develop industrial areas and the branches of housing and technology.

6. Investment laws will be reexamined and an end will be put to monopolistic activities between the executive authority and the private sector.

7. The agricultural sector will be supported, and the budget allotted for its development will be increased.

8. The salary payment system of public employees will be regularized by adhering to [salary] tables, as will the salaries of those who have not yet been paid in both the public and private sectors.

9. Concern will be given to workers, agricultural workers and fishermen, and their suffering will be alleviated through support and [the initiation of] special projects.

Seven - Reforms

1. The government will adopt a venture of administrative and fiscal reform and will cooperate with the Legislative Council to determine laws which will reinforce reform and fight corruption.

2. [The government is committed to] developing organizational structures and work systems for governmental institutions to ensure that they work effectively and that their actions are correct and lawful.

3. A plan will be devised for wisely funding all aspects of the government.

4. [The government will] fight corruption and institute moral values of transparency, prevent the exploitation of public funds and form a collective Palestinian strategy for developing the administration.

Eight - Strengthening the Palestinian value system

1. The government is committed to a foundation of national unity, to preserving the welfare of its citizens, instilling values of mutual respect, adopting the language of dialogue, ending all forms of tension and anger and creating a culture of tolerance, preservation of Palestinian [life] and prohibiting internal fighting.

2. The government stresses the unity of the Palestinian people, both at home and abroad.

3. The government will act to establish and deepen national reconciliation and internal stability, and will use suitable tools to deal with the results of the unfortunate incidents [i.e., violent clashed between Hamas and Fatah (and the security forces)]. The government is committed to [honoring] the principles of legal sovereignty and defending civilians and public and private property, respecting all its commitments regarding such issues. I call upon our brothers, the members of the families [harmed by] the unfortunate incidents [i.e., violent clashes] to be patient and act with deliberation. I assure you that we stand with them [and identify with] their injured and their pain.

4. The government commits itself to perpetuating the principle of citizenship through equal rights and duties, equal opportunity and the establishment of social justice, especially in the realm of ministerial appointments and in the various institutions, with no discrimination against the general rights of all members of the country, and abolishing all forms of favoritism in hiring workers in the civilian and security fields.

5. The government emphasizes that it defends the principle of political pluralism, supports the development of an election campaign, of defending civil liberties, the establishment of democratic values, of defending human rights, the establishment of the principle of justice and equality, of protecting freedom of the press, freedom of thought and freedom of expression, the right to express a different opinion and the rights of Palestinian women. [The government] commits itself to peaceful changes of government and to completing [municipal] elections of the local councils as soon as possible.

6. The government is committed to founding a political partnership and to encouraging all the [political] forces [at work] in the [Palestinian] arena to develop a serious dialogue to realize [that partnership].

7. [The government is committed] to supporting the families of the shaheeds and prisoners [in Israeli jails] and to extend aid to them, to preserve their noble, respectable [way of] life and to provide for their special needs .

8. The government is committed to enabling Palestinian citizens to live with respect and to providing them with what they need, [including] social needs, health care and [providing] high quality health [services], to dealing with poverty and unemployment by creating jobs, and to initiating ventures of growth and social insurance.

9. The government will act to develop the educational system and improve the situation of teachers, to encourage scientific research and preserve the neutrality of the educational system. In addition, the government will support the advance of academic studies through the national fund.

10. [The government is committed to] showing significant interest in Palestinian youth and Palestinian sports activities among its first priorities, to providing for their needs and to investing efforts to broaden the sports infrastructure. That includes building a sports village and continuing partnerships with external sources to establish the status of Palestine in Arab, regional and international sports events.

11. The government will supervise the implementation of a special law for individuals with special needs.

12. The government will protect the rights of women and provide them with the possibility of participating in politics and the decision-making process, and in contributing to the process of [national] building in every institution and every field.

13. The government will encourage and support civilian and social activity and [will support the institutions of] civilian society.

Nine - International relations

The government asserts its pride in its firm Arab and Islamic link and its appreciation of Arab-Islamic political, economic and media support. The government will strictly adhere to fulfilling its duties as a member of the Arab League and of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. We hope that the Arab summit meeting which will take place in Riyadh at the end of the month (March 2007) will made decisions relating to the end of the siege and will support and defend the Mecca Accord. In addition, the government is proud of its varied international relations, which have been deepened by the international support of our people and their legitimate rights. The government will act to institute good, close relations with other countries, international institutions, among them the United Nations and the Security Council, and [various] regional and international organizations, to help our people achieve their liberty [and independence] and to contribute to strengthening peace and world stability.

The government confirms its commitment to the legacy of civilization based on reconciliation, coexistence, inter-cultural dialogue and respect for international law and international humanitarian law, which are all compatible with our values, our leaders and the our deeply-rooted tradition.

The European Union has extended much help to our Palestinian people, and supported their right to liberty and independence. In addition, it held serious positions [which were manifested] by its criticism of the policy of occupation, as did Russia , China and Japan [as part of] their foreign policy regarding the Palestinian problem.

Therefore, government is interested in having close relations with the EU, the Federation of Russia, the People's Republic of China , Japan , India and Latin American countries. We expect them to take effective steps to lift the siege and to exert pressure on the occupation to end the boycott, respect human rights as explicitly laid down in international documents, withdraw from our occupied lands and to stop the repeated acts of aggression against our people. In addition, the government will work to develop ties with the countries which are permanent members of the Security Council.

The government calls upon the American government to reexamine its position regarding the Palestinian problem and to respect the choice of the Palestinian people as manifested by the national unity government, and to stop using a double standard in its policy. However, the government expects there will be good relations between the Palestinian people and the American people.

Sources: Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies