The Palestinian National Initiative


Today a group of Palestinian leaders announced the launching of the Palestinian National Initiative at a press conference in Ramallah, led by Dr. Haidar Abdul Shafi, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi and Mr. Ibrahim Dakkak. The main objective of the Initiative is the realization of of Palestinian national rights and of a durable, just peace.  Both of these objectives can be best achieved at this juncture through the establishment of a national emergency leadership, the immediate implementation of democratic elections at all levels of the political system, and reform of political, administrative, and other institutional structures in order to meet the needs of the Palestinian people.

 

 

Summary of the Statement Distributed at the Press Conference

 

The Palestinian people have sacrificed a great deal in their struggle to achieve freedom, justice and lasting peace. They will not accept that these sacrifices should have been in vain; on the contrary, they assert that these sacrifices need to be translated into concrete achievements and outcomes. It is imperative that the Palestinians’ resilience and their determination to be freed from 35 years of military occupation be activated and channeled to achieve the collective goals of ending the Israeli occupation of the West bank and Gaza and the dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. Only then can a just peace be achieved–through the establishment of a sovereign, independent, viable, and democratic Palestinian state on all of the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital.

 

This Initiative calls for the implementation of relevant United Nations resolutions requiring the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the West Bank and Gaza and safeguarding the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland. At this most critical time, we call upon all concerned parties to prevent the Israeli government from annexing the Palestinian territories and from consolidating its discriminatory policy of cantonization and the creation of an apartheid system in the West Bank and Gaza.

 

The absence of true internal reform and of a unified strategy has been a weakness that Israel has tried to exploit. This has been taken advantage of in order to undermine the Palestinian cause and to divide the Palestinians internally. It is necessary to address this situation through genuine reform and through the creation of internal political structures that can best serve the cause of freedom, independence, and socioeconomic development. Basic measures, rather than superficial changes, must be implemented in order to regain the confidence of the Palestinian people here and in the diaspora.

 

This Initiative is a response to popular demands from men and women calling for increased participation by Palestinian citizens in the process of nation building and for the opportunity to participate in the just struggle for the realization of an independent, viable, democratic and prosperous state which guarantees security, justice, equality before the law, and a dignified existence for its citizens.

 

The Initiative is based on a belief in the capacities of our people and in the strength of our country’s human resources. Our challenge is to create the appropriate conditions that will allow for the full and constructive utilization of this collective energy and for the participation of the people in the creation of our national structures. We affirm that internal reform and the development of state structures concern the Palestinian people and their institutions and should be carried out with the active participation of the people, and not only as a response to external pressures.

 

This Initiative is intended to be part of a dynamic process and should not be conceived of as a predetermined recipe for action. It should be viewed as a catalyst for the purpose of mobilizing the intellectual, cultural, social and political energies of our people. We are and will remain open to the enrichment of this Initiative by the people, so that it might become the means for the development of a wide-scale national democratic movement.

 

The Immediate Objectives of the Initiative

 

  • Creating a national emergency leadership with a unified strategy based on
  • the principle of full participation in decision-making
  • Working for free, democratic elections for all institutions and political
  • Posts including the Presidency, the Palestinian Legislative Council (Parliament), and local councils with an international presence to ensure free elections.
  • Restructuring government institutions with clear mandates, bylaws, and responsibilities in order to guarantee transparency, accountability, and lack of corruption
  • Implementing the Basic Law and all other laws passed by the PLC
  • Working towards the separation of powers with independent judicial and legislative structures, and reform of the court system
  • Serving the needs of the poor and underprivileged by developing poverty alleviation programs through employment and social welfare schemes
  • Enhancing the role of local councils, and allocation of adequate budgets to facilitate the execution of their mandates
  • Consolidating and enhancing the role of civil society institutions and guaranteeing their independence
  • Centralizing the national budget, instituting a transparent system of expenditures, and guaranteeing oversight by the legislature
  • Eliminating factors that can lead to corruption, the misuse of funds, and the abuse of power and authority
  • Restructuring security forces to eliminate the duplication of structures and to ensure their abstention from interference in economic, administrative and political decisions. The security services will be subject to the rule of law and the decisions of the independent judiciary, and their main task will be the protection of the security of Palestinians
  • Developing and improving basic services in health, education, and social welfare
  • Promoting a sustainable and high-quality system of higher education to meet the developmental needs of Palestinian society
  • Continuing the struggle for the release of all Palestinian prisoners and detainees
  • Activating and engaging diaspora Palestinians in the nation building effort
  • Developing and expanding the international solidarity movement with the
  • Palestinian people.

 

 

 

 

 

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