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Thursday, May 16, 2002
Full Text of Arafat Speech - what the White House didn't read

Full Text of Arafat Speech - what the White House didn't read

Official Translation of Address of HE Yasser Arafat At the Palestine
Legislative Council Ramalla - Palestine 15 may 2002
http://www.p-p-o.com/Eng/2002/5/KE15-5-2002-1.htm
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[IMRA: The following is the official translation of Arafat's speech. When
Arafat read the text he sometimes repeated himself for emphasis - for
example, he said " Let us remember the Houdaibiyya Conciliation Accord - Let
us remember the Houdaibiyya Conciliation Accord"

While the White House said that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser
Arafat's speech was "positive", the speech was far from "positive".

Consider the following excerpts:

#1 Israeli aggression = occupation and settlements: "The Israeli aggression
against our people is existent, continuous and escalating as long as
occupation and settlements are sitting on our land and laying prone on our
people."

Last week IMRA brought to the attention of the State Department, via the US
embassy here that Arafat's May 8 statement that " I have issued my orders to
the Palestinian security forces to confront and obstruct any terrorist act
against Israeli civilians from any Palestinian party while concurrently and
in parallel, [I have instructed them] to confront any aggression against
Palestinian civilians by the Israeli army and settlers, which we completely
condemn [as well]." is actually an order to attack Israeli soldiers and
settlers since the occupation and the settlements constitute "aggression
against Palestinian civilians".

The State Department replied to IMRA, via Paul Patin Press Attache - U.S.
Embassy Tel Aviv, that "We do not subscribe to the interpretation that
Chairman Arafat was, in the translation that you forwarded to me yesterday,
actually calling on Palestinians to attack Israeli settlers and soldiers in
the occupied territories or the West Bank or Judea and Samaria or whatever
term you prefer."

Arafat's "positive" speech serves as proof positive that the State
Department was wrong in their interpretation.

#2 Limits on attacks against civilian targets since bad PR

"In this regard, we have lately declared, and we declare it today, that we
reject the operations that target the Israeli civilians as well as what the
Palestinian civilians are exposed to as has happened in Jenin or in
"Jeningrad". Palestine and Arab public opinion have arrived to this
conviction, that these operations do not serve our aims."

#3 Agreement with Israel only until can get the upper hand

"Let us remember the Houdaibiyya Conciliation Accord out of our concern for
the national and pan-Arab interest of our people and nation, and out of our
concern for strengthening international solidarity with your people and your
cause."

The Houdaibiyya agreement was a 10-year peace treaty between Mohammed and
the tribe of Qura'ish. After two
years, when Mohammed had improved his military position, he tore up the
agreement and slaughtered the Qura'ish.

#4 No "form" of struggle ruled out

I call, as well, upon your Council to sponsor a comprehensive in-depth
national dialogue on all our political issues which are of precedence to our
national, pan-Arab and international concerns, the quintessence of which is
the consolidation and pivotization of our national struggle, in all its
forms, in order to realize our people's dream of establishing the
independent State of Palestine, with Holy Jerusalem as its capital, on our
land, occupied in 1967, as was decided by our PNC at the declaration of
Independence and establishment of the Independent State in its meeting in
Algiers in 1988.."]

++++++++++++

Full Text:Official Translation of Address of HE Yasser Arafat At the
Palestine Legislative Council Ramalla - Palestine 15 may 2002
http://www.p-p-o.com/Eng/2002/5/KE15-5-2002-1.htm

In the name of God, most compassionate, must merciful

We will, without doubt,
Help Our apostles and those
Who believe, (both)
In this world's life
And on the Day
When the Witnesses
Will stand forth

Sadaqqa Allahu Al Athim
Brother Ahmad Qure' - Abu Ala
R. H. speaker of the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC)
Respected sisters and brothers, members of the PLC
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure and honor to address you today as you are convening this
important meeting of the elected PLC. It is the Council that has carried,
and is carrying, alongside the Palestine National Council (PNC), on their
shoulders, the heavy burden and the historic responsibilities, as our
steadfast, persevering and persistent Palestinian people are passing, in a
firm and unswerving manner, through this long overdue transitional period
from occupation to independence and from slavery to freedom. It is our fate,
it is the fate of our generation, it is as well the fate of our people, to
endure all this suffering? because our demand, our objective and our dream
is genuine freedom and total independence in the independent State of
Palestine, with Holy Jerusalem as its capital.

Allow me dear members of the PLC to commemorate this day, the 15th of May
the anniversary of the catastrophe of our Palestinian people. We will
remember the sufferings of our Palestinian people and their pains, as they
stand steadfast in the face of all these difficult circumstances and
historical challenges, to wipe them out off the political and geographic map
in the Middle East Region. This is the great people who are defending their
holy land, their Terra Sancta, their Christian and Islamic holy places. It
is the people who are recording this heroic epic waged by the heroic
Palestinian people and all their militant forces, in order to gain their
freedom and independence, and so that out children and generations can live
in security and peace in a free and independent homeland, far away from
occupation, settlement, oppression, assassination and detention, that take
place in an unprecedented manner in contemporary international community,
where our people are the only people the world over who are still living
under occupation.

Peace was and will continue to be our strategic choice. We will not give up
the choice of peace between us and the Israelis. In peace there is a common
interest for both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. In addition, all
alternatives to peace that the Israeli government has resorted to in order
to wipe out the choice of peace, the peace of the brave, which I have signed
with my late partner Rabin, who was assassinated by these extremist forces,
have proven to be a failure and void. As you see, the Israeli military
solution has not, will not and can not - despite all what the Israeli
occupation forces have perpetrated in terms of killing, undermining,
destitution and destruction of the infrastructures of our official,
educational, health, social, security and other institutions- has not, will
not and can not change an inkling in our determination to achieve
independence, sovereignty and freedom. It can not also change an inkling in
our readiness to accept the peace of the brave which was done at the Madrid
Conference and the agreements that were signed to achieve a just
comprehensive and permanent peace, especially after accepting the Saudi
initiative of Crown Prince Abdullah at Arab Summit Conference held recently
in Beirut, as well as the recent meeting at Sharm Sheikh among President
Mubark (of Egypt), Crown Price Abdullah Al-Saud and President Bashar Assad
(of Syria).

We have extended, and we are still extending our hand to just peace, the
peace of the brave, the peace that will realize security and justice for
both the Palestinians and the Israelis, as well as for the Arab region, the
Middle East and the whole world, let it be know to everyone. It is the peace
for this land, the land that is sacred to all. In all honesty and with full
responsibility, I would like to assure you, today, that the talks we had at
Camp David were very difficult, critical and sensitive and engulfed, all
important and basic issues. Despite the tireless and good offices made by
President Clinton and his team, we could not, however, reach an agreement on
these basic issues. As you know, we have continued these talks at
Sharm-Sheikh which were sponsored by President Mubark. And then in Paris we
continued these talks whose last session was attended by President Chirac.
Progress came at the negotiations in Taba (let us refer to the press
conference convened by Abu Ala' and Shlomo Ben Ami). We were supposed to
continue these negotiations after the Israeli elections. You have all lived
the experience and suffered with your people and with your Authority, as a
result of what took place, before and after, especially in the face of the
actions undertaken by the Israeli army and in the face of its plans, such as
the Israeli Field of Thorns, prepared and planned against our unarmed people
and whose explosive spark was the storming of the Holy Mosque of Jerusalem.
It was a blatant action that provoked the worshippers at the blessed Al Aqsa
Mosque. This provocative storming was followed by shooting at the
worshippers as a result of which many victims, martyrs and injured persons,
from among our people fell.

Brother speaker of the PLC,

Sisters and brothers, members of the PLC,

In the face of this unjust aggressive war against our people namely, the
field of thorns, the one hundred days battle, the Oranium, the rolling
operation, the colored operation, the defensive shield, our masses in every
city, refugee camp, village and in every town, were steadfast in the face of
occupation, siege, massacres and aggression.

Our masses and our Palestine National Authority have suffered huge
sacrifices over the last two years, so much so that no city or a refugee
camp or a village or a house or a hut was spared. None was not an Israeli
military target, of their tanks and air planes, or a target of their
strangulating siege imposed on our towns and villages. Israeli occupation
military check points were erected everywhere. Israeli bombs hit
school-children and mothers. They destroyed homes over their inhabitants.
History is the witness on what happened to the Jenin refugee camp and in
Jenin itself. The Israeli crime against our people will remain witness
whether they were perpetrated against our people in this heroic refugee camp
of Jenin or in that of Balata, or Askar, or Nour Shams, Aida, or Fawar, in
Dheisha or in Amari, in Qaddura or in the other refugee camps; whether these
crimes were perpetrated in Nablus or in its Old City where the Israelis
destroyed one of the oldest churches and mosques, and where our brothers,
the Samaritans meet and of whose presence among us we are proud; whether in
Ramalla or in Bethlehem, or in the Church of the Nativity, that is holy to
both Moslems and Christians; whether in Gaza or in Jabalia, in Khan Younis
or in Deir Al-Balah, in Rafah or in its refugee camp, in Abassan or in Beit
Hanoun, in Tulkarem or in Qalqilya or in Hebron; in the presidential
headquarters in various district and governorates or in the total
destruction of the Gaza International Airport; or in the destruction of the
airplanes, the seaport, the ministries, the broadcasting and television
station, or in dissecting the Gaza Strip into separate and divided cantons.

Sisters and Brothers, the road to freedom, independence and dignity was
never paved or spread out with flowers and roses. Indeed it is paved with
steadfastness, perseverance, resilience, persistence and the capability to
confront aggression and the aggressors. The conspiracy against your people
and your homeland, to deprive us of our freedom, independence and state has
never stopped. Its chapters are still unfolding. Ever since the night of 29
March last, we are being subjected to a comprehensive Israeli aggression
with all sorts of weapons, be they tanks, airplanes, missiles, including the
internationally prohibited weapons. Yet we had nothing but to be steadfast
and patient in the wake of this military siege of our towns, refugee camps,
the presidential headquarters in Ramalla, the holy Church of the Nativity
and the Mosque of Omar in Bethlehem. Despite lifting the siege off the
presidential headquarters and the Church of the Nativity in the most
difficult of circumstances, I would like to remind you that the agreement
reached with the US and the European representatives was that the occupation
forces should start by lifting the siege first off the Church of the
Nativity. Despite that, the Israeli government, continues its daily
penetrations and aggressions in all areas indifferent to the increasing
international condemnation of its aggressions and crimes. Indeed, the
Government of Israel has forbidden the arrival of the international
investigation committee to investigate the crime committed by the occupation
army against our people in the Jenin refugee camp. It has furthermore, put
incapacitating conditions in front of the international conference. I would
like to greet President Bush who has called for the establishment of the
independent State of Palestine at the UN General Assembly which we both
attended together. He is the first US President to declare this position.

I know, dear sisters and brothers, that there are some remarks on what has
been agreed upon concerning the brothers in Ramalla and Bethlehem, in terms
of lifting the siege and withdrawing the occupation forces. I bear full
responsibility for all that has happened, especially that what has been done
was international, US, European, Russian and UN proposals and assurances in
the wake of these critical and difficult circumstances, which you know and
in which I do not want to delve in, as a result of the situation and the
circumstances which you all know. I leave it to you to assess these
developments in sincerity, honestly and openness. There is no march in which
there are no mistakes. I want you to assess it faraway from emotions and
effects, so that we will be honest in confronting what our people and our
cause are facing on all levels.

Brother speaker of the PLC,
Sisters and brothers, members of the PLC,

The Israeli aggression against our people is existent, continuous and
escalating as long as occupation and settlements are sitting on our land and
laying prone on our people. In this bloody and ongoing steadfastness and
persistence (it is enough to see Fares Audeh and young girl confronting an
Israeli tank with a stone), we are in a great need to review our planes and
policies in order to rectify and correct our march towards national
independence in all honesty, sincerity faithfulness and firmness

Be sure We shall test you
With something of fear
And hunger, some loss
In goods or lives or the fruits
(Of your toil), but give
Glad tidings - to those
Who patiently persevere,-

Who say, when affected
With calamity: "to God
We belong, and to Him
Is our return":-

In this regard, we have lately declared, and we declare it today, that we
reject the operations that target the Israeli civilians as well as what the
Palestinian civilians are exposed to as has happened in Jenin or in
"Jeningrad". Palestine and Arab public opinion have arrived to this
conviction, that these operations do not serve our aims. Indeed they incite
many and big segments of the international community against us, an
international community that has created Israel and provided it with money,
arms and protection which is controversial. I call upon your esteemed
Council to stop at this dangerous issue which is controversial in our
Palestinian and Arab arena. Let us remember the Houdaibiyya Conciliation
Accord out of our concern for the national and pan-Arab interest of our
people and nation, and out of our concern for strengthening international
solidarity with your people and your cause. I call, as well, upon your
Council to sponsor a comprehensive in-depth national dialogue on all our
political issues which are of precedence to our national, pan-Arab and
international concerns, the quintessence of which is the consolidation and
pivotization of our national struggle, in all its forms, in order to realize
our people's dream of establishing the independent State of Palestine, with
Holy Jerusalem as its capital, on our land, occupied in 1967, as was decided
by our PNC at the declaration of Independence and establishment of the
Independent State in its meeting in Algiers in 1988.

Brother speaker of the PLC,
Sisters and brothers members of the PLC,

Following this Israeli aggression, our internal situation and political
system require from us to make a comprehensive review of all aspects of our
national life. You know that we have established our political system on the
basis of democracy and free and fair elections that were surprised by
leaders from all over the globe. We have established our security
institutions, National Security Forces and police within the framework of a
preconceived concept that the intermediate phase, mentioned in Oslo, will
come to an end in 1999. Following that we will review the political,
administrative and security structures of our state. Yet things developed in
a totally different direction following the refusal by the Government of
Israel to uphold and carry out the agreements. Ever since that time, it has
waged this unjust war against us and against our land, people and Christian
and Islamic holy places.

Allow me, sisters and brothers, to raise with you, in honesty and with full
responsibility, the issue a quick preparation of elections, to conduct the
elections wherever possible on all official and popular levels, to adopt
free elections as the basic means to choose the leadership whether in the
institutions of national society or in the organizations, or in the unions
and in the trade unions, and in the popular institutions as basic
instruments of building civil society, to abide by the principle of
separation of powers in the judicial, legislative and executive branches, to
maintain national unity and human rights. As a result of the experience in
building the Administration and the Authority I call for the revision of all
of our administrative, ministerial and security apparatus formations, after
some shortcomings appeared here and there, which can not be kept concealed
from public opinion who is scorched by the fire of Israeli occupation. We
have all exerted efforts in construction and work. We might have committed
an error here or there, in this or in that responsibility. But we have
upheld the trust and maintained the national objectives at the forefront of
which is independence, freedom and the independent State of Palestine, with
Holy Jerusalem as its capital,

And to enter your Temple

As they had entered it before, ..

When I speak thus, I mean all occupied Arab territories in accordance with
the Madrid conference.

Brother speaker of the PLC,

Sisters and brothers, members of the PLC,

This holy land is a trust that we uphold. We will always be trustworthy to
the blood sacrificed by our martyrs, prisoners, injured persons and
detainees.

Now, while we are facing this strangulating siege, ongoing aggression and
historical, fateful and difficult circumstances, the target and dream are
approaching, in spite of all the sufferings, sacrifices and pains. I insist
on presenting a comprehensive and a new formula of our national situation
and that of the Authority, its administration, ministries and security
apparatuses, in order to reconstruct on a more solid, firm, strong and
correct basis, and in a manner which realize our national aspirations of
independence, freedom, and the independent state of Palestine.

This is the hour, sisters and brothers, of work and construction. It is the
hour of change and reform in spite of all attempts that try to obstruct
national reconstruction and the birth of our independent State of Palestine,
with Holy Jerusalem as its capital.

Let our PLC be a workshop to review the whole march, its positive as well as
its negative aspects, in order to rebuild our political system on firmer
bases of democracy, rule of law, independent judiciary and rebuilding our
various apparatuses and institutions including the economic, financial and
infrastructural ones, so that they be the firm basis for our people on the
road of independence and freedom.

In the name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

He said: "O my people!
See ye whether I have
A Clear (Sign) from my Lord,
And He hath given me
Sustenance (pure and) good
As from Himself? I wish not,
In opposition to you, to do
That which I forbid you to do
I only desire (your) betterment
To the best of my power;
And my success (in my task)
Can only come from God.
In Him I trust,
And unto Him I look.
"Glory to the God in the highest and on earth peace to men of goodwill"

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