Almost one year has passed since Dr. Sari Nusseibeh, then newly appointed head of the PLO's Jerusalem portfolio, spoke out - in front of an Israeli public at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem - for the need of the Palestinian leadership and people to repudiate the right of return of Palestinian refugees as enshrined in international law and affirmed by UN Resolution 194. Since then, Dr. Nusseibeh has become the "favorite Palestinian" of all those who seek to protect the privileges of a discriminatory ethnic Jewish state at the expense of Palestinian rights, international law and Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation and peace. He has, however, not succeeded to convince the Palestinian people.
As hopes for Palestinian independence continue to be crushed and shelled by the ever more aggressive Israeli military occupation in 2002, and while the people of the region are threatened by yet-another round of US-led war against Iraq, Dr. Sari Nusseibeh continues his efforts unabatedly. The month of September heralded his "agreement" with Ami Ayalon, the former head of the Israeli intelligence service (Shabak) which, among others, provides that in exchange for the complete dismantling of Israeli settlements in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories, "Palestinian refugees will return only to the State of Palestine; Jews will return only to the State of Israel." In the month of October, Palestinians back home are hearing about Dr. Nusseibeh's international speaking tours in Chicago (Temple Shalom) and elsewhere, which serve to promote the "agreement" between the Palestinian academic turned official and the Israeli intelligence expert. Used to being not consulted, Palestinian community leaders and political activists were stunned even more, when they suddenly received hand-delivered personal letters signed by Sari Nusseibeh and asking for their endorsement of the Nusseibeh-Ayalon position. (A copy of this letter was received by BADIL).
BADIL Resource Center shares the outrage and concern of the Palestinian refugee community organizations about this latest initiative, which undermines Palestinian rights and the Palestinian consensus and misleads Israeli and international public opinion about the requirements for a just peace and reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinian people. (Attached below: yesterday's response by the FATAH movement)
Statement Issued by the Palestinian National Liberation Movement FATAH, West Bank:
Our Heroic People,
The People of the Struggle and the Martyrs,
Those holding the torch in the time of apostasy and defeatism,
The beginning of the third year of our blessed Intifada is accompanied by a wave of plots that aim to harm the national Palestinian project and the symbol of our leadership, President Yasser Arafat (Abu 'Ammar). While the tanks and bulldozers of the Zionist occupation were besieging Yasser Arafat in his presidential compound in Ramallah, others were busy whispering behind the scenes, thinking that this was their historic opportunity to get rid of the leadership of the Palestinian national struggle under the guise of vague pretexts and excuses. Several figures, among them Sari Nusseibeh, rushed to take the initiative and disseminated a so-called "Public Poll" and a "Preliminary Political Document" throughout the districts of our homeland. These papers carry the signature of Sari Nusseibeh and reflect his earlier agreement with the torturer Ami Ayalon, the former head of Israel's intelligence (Shabak). The ideas presented in the context of this initiative cross the red lines of our national consensus and violate our national principles.
We hereby re-affirm that no one has the right to volunteer compromises on issues of national interest and concern, such as the right of the refugees to return in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and the right of our people to establish its Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital on the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967.
Therefore, we call upon our people, its national leadership and its institutions to stand up strongly against such political heresy. We strongly warn anyone who accords himself the right to cross the national consensus and re-affirm that only the legitimate leadership is entitled to draw the strategies of the Palestinian struggle for independence.
Power and Glory for the Loyal Martyrs
All the freedom for our prisoners in the occupation jails
Long live a Free Arab Palestine
FATAH Movement, West Bank Region
2 October 2002
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