Inter-Palestinian reconciliation proposal

Below is an English-language translation of the full text of Egypt’s draft proposal for inter-Palestinian reconciliation, which was published today in the Lebanese daily, al-Akhbar. The translation is taken from Mideast Mirror’s Arab World section for October 21, 2008. The proposal specifies the date for a comprehensive inter-Palestinian dialogue, before moving on to the clauses of the agreement that the Palestinian factions are meant to sign on November 29th.

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FULL TEXT: “Faithful to the blood of the glorious martyrs, out of respect for the suffering of our brave detainees, as an expression of our faith in the justice of our national cause, in confirmation of our continued struggle to achieve our legitimate rights, including the establishment of the independent Palestinian state with Noble Jerusalem as its capital, stressing the right of the refugees to return to their homes, and from our conviction that the sacrifices of our steadfast Palestinian people throughout the past decades should not be squandered by narrow factional disagreements,

Based on the grave challenges and enormous threats that surround the Palestinian cause, out of a conviction, shared by all, that the perpetuation of the current situation will take us towards a further consolidation of the political and geographic divisions that have almost done away with our people’s hopes and aspirations and our just cause,

In light of the historical responsibility that requires us all to cast aside our factional disputes, looking forward to a future that we must forge ourselves, and stemming from the effective bilateral talks that the Palestinian factions held with the Egyptian leadership between 25/8/2008 and 18/10/2008, that revealed unprecedented accord over the need to end the division, and over the necessary grounds for dealing with it, the Palestinian factions and forces have met in Cairo on 9/11/2008 and reached an agreement over their national programme as follows:

– First: General Principles

1. Palestinian national reconciliation rises above and takes precedence over party-political and factional interests.

2. Maintenance of the geographic and political unity of the Palestinian territories, and opposition to their partition under any circumstances.

3. Dialogue is the only means of ending any internal disputes.

4. Shedding Palestinian blood is proscribed and domestic infighting is a criminal act. Incitement must stop, as well as violence and any means or measures that may lead to it.

5. Democracy is the only means for the transfer of power within the framework of respect for the sovereignty of law and order, and respect for legitimacy. Supporting democracy requires comprehensive political participation free from [prearranged] share-distribution.

6. Resistance within the framework of national accord is the Palestinian people’s legitimate right, as long as the occupation continues.

7. Acceptance of the main former points of reference: (The March 2005 Cairo Agreement; the May 2006 National Accord Document; the February 2007 Mecca Accord; President Mahmoud ‘Abbas’s 2008 initiative for comprehensive dialogue; and the Arab summits’ resolutions regarding ending the state of division.)

– Second: The convening parties that represent all Palestinian factions and political leaderships have agreed to end the state of division by agreeing to resolve the main issues in the following manner:

8. The government

The formation of a national accord government with the specified tasks of lifting the [Gaza] siege, facilitating the Palestinian people’s daily lives, preparing for new presidential and legislative elections, and supervising the reconstruction of the security apparatuses.

9. The security apparatuses

The Palestinian security apparatuses are to be rebuilt on professional and patriotic principles, free from factionalism. These apparatuses must alone be in charge of the task of defending the homeland and its citizens, with all that this requires in terms of Arab aid necessary to complete the reconstruction and reform process.

10. The elections

Presidential and legislative elections are to be held simultaneously at an agreed time. The electoral law is to be reviewed consistent with the homeland’s interest.

11. The PLO

The development and revitalization of the PLO, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, as stipulated in the March 2005 Cairo Agreement, to include all forces and factions, and the preservation of the PLO as a collective national framework and supreme political authority for the Palestinians. The election of a new National Council [PNC] both inside and outside [Palestine] wherever this is possible.

– Third: All factions and political forces of the Palestinian people have agreed to commit to the requirements of the coming phase in the following manner:

12. Preserving the tahdi’a [lull or calming down] within the framework agreed by the Palestinian factions and forces at their meeting in Cairo on 29 and 30/4/2008.

13. The provision of the appropriate domestic climate for ensuring the success of the phase that will follow that of comprehensive dialogue; full implementation of all the requirements of this phase and what it implies regarding the inevitability of ending all domestic actions or measures that may harm the effort exerted to end the state of division; and the need to interact positively with the requirements of domestic reconciliation.

14. Agreement on forming the committees that will assume the task of discussing the necessary details and mechanisms governing their activity, so as to implement what has been achieved, within a framework for dealing with all issues related to the dialogue and reconciliation (the government committee – the elections committee – the security committee – the PLO committee – the internal reconciliations committee). These committees should begin their activities immediately after the end of the comprehensive dialogue meetings. There is no objection to Arab participation in any of these committees, if the factions were to ask for it.

– Fourth:

15. All the Palestinian people’s factions and forces have agreed that management of the political negotiations [with Israel] comes under the authority of the PLO and the PA President, based on the principle of upholding national aims, and provided that any agreement in this regard be presented to the National Council [PNC] to be ratified, or for a referendum where possible.

– Fifth:

The convening parties have agreed that the national project in all its clear horizons, legitimate aspirations, and ambitions that are not unachievable, requires that good intentions and genuine will be transformed into a programme for action that is implemented within a framework of responsibility, conviction, and commitment to future generations who will hold us accountable for the responsibility that we have assumed; these generations who have a right to live in stability and prosperity in the shadow of their independent state.”

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