Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP
16 August 2010
To our Palestinian People:
We have followed with great concern the increasing external pressure, especially from the U.S. and Israel, on the PLO leadership to shift from indirect negotiations (which have not resulted in any progress) to direct negotiations without clear and binding terms of reference regarding a complete halt of all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory – including in Jerusalem. The terms of reference should be based on international law and UN resolutions and to include a predetermined timetable to reach a final status agreement. The agreement will necessarily include ending the Israeli occupation of all territories occupied in 1967 and enabling the Palestinians to exercise the Right of Return, right to self-determination, and the right to an independent and sovereign state in the territory occupied in 1967 – with Jerusalem as its capital.
We, the signatories of this statement, proceed through our belief that a just peace cannot be achieved by negotiations in unjust conditions and, therefore, refuse to engage in direct negotiations or in any other channels that could coerce the PLO into direct negotiations without clear terms of reference, a timetable, a binding mechanism for implementation, an active role from the international community, American or other international guarantees, and a firm Israeli commitment to international law and UN resolutions.
We call for steadfastness in the face of this external pressure and for a commitment to reject any coercion regardless of the threats and consequences.
Submitting to unjust external pressure will lead to engagement in negotiations that will be framed in accordance with Israeli conditions. Such a process will not contribute to achieving our people’s goals but, on the contrary, will cause serious damage and may lead to an even larger failure than that of the Camp David negotiations.
Moreover, Israel will use any negotiations under current conditions to cover for its efforts to “Judaize” and consolidate its illegal annexation of East Jerusalem, including increasing settlement activities, expanding its apartheid policy of separation, completing the Apartheid Wall, and continuing the hermetic siege on the Gaza Strip. Compromised negotiations would also mask Israel’s aggressive schemes against others in the region and shelter Israel from the international condemnation and boycott campaigns which are rapidly growing amongst international solidarity movements.
Standing up to external pressure requires the mobilization of energies, efforts and skills of the Palestinian people in order to maintain our national program, end the division, and achieve national reconciliation. These are necessary and indubitable conditions for resisting the external pressures and all challenges facing the Palestinian cause.
The achievement of national reconciliation will strengthen the internal Palestinian front to withstand Israel’s occupation and resist its colonial, expansionist and racist policies. Reconciliation will exponentially strengthen the Palestinian capacity to accomplish our national objectives of freedom, return and independence, and attract Arab and international support in favor of the Palestinian cause. Taking full advantage of global solidarity with the Palestinian people based on our moral high ground and the use of international resolutions and reports that advocate for Palestinian rights – especially the legal opinion of the ICJ at The Hague, the Goldstone Report, and the repercussions of the massacre on the Freedom Fleet, which provide a valuable opportunity to prosecute Israel for its ongoing occupation and war crimes.
We issue this statement, directed to Palestinian people everywhere, confident that we will adhere with all means possible to our immutable national rights and shall impose our independent national will. We consider this statement the first of a series of popular peaceful efforts and activities to protect our cause and maintain our Palestinian position in the face of unjust external pressure.
August 4, 2010 Signatories
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