In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Statement by the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestinian Central Council (PCC) has convened a series of meetings within the framework of its Extraordinary Session, which began on 27 April 1999. President Yasser Arafat delivered, before the PCC, a comprehensive report in which he reviewed the political situation, in all its aspects, and the main tasks to be fulfilled in the Palestinian arena, foremost of which is completion of the establishment of the independent State of Palestine, with Holy Jerusalem as its capital.
President Arafat reviewed the peace process on the Palestinian and other Arab tracks launched at the Madrid Conference on the basis of the principle of land for peace and the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242, 338 and 425. He affirmed that the Government of Israel bears responsibility for the total stalemate at which this process has arrived. This is so because this Government has reneged on the commitments that it undersigned; has pursued an aggressive policy that targets the Palestinian people, their land and rights; has rejected all agreements, conventions, and customs; and has ignored the unanimous international position in support of the rights of the Palestinian people as a basis for the peace process and a fundamental condition for its progress and success as well as for the stability of conditions in the region.
Having heard the reports of the political leadership on the political situation, and in an atmosphere permeated by the spirit of democracy and responsibility, the members of the PCC discussed all options available under the important circumstances. They expressed total unanimity that the State of Palestine, with Holy Jerusalem as its capital, is an existing fact on the basis of the natural right of the Palestinian people to establish their own state and on the basis of United Nations General Assembly resolution 181 of 1947 as well as the Declaration of Independence of 1998. This total unanimity demonstrates as well that the Palestinian people, with all their sacrifices, ongoing steadfastness and struggle, are the primary builders of this State. They are its decision-makers, and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), with its national and democratic institutions, is the supreme authority of this non-negotiable and irrefutable national decision.
The PCC was also unanimous with regard to the fact that the current Israeli policy, based on the building of settlements, expansion, the denial of the peace process and freezing it, and the violation of the national and human rights of the Palestinian people, will not diminish our peoples determination to achieve their goals. Such an Israeli policy will not deter the Palestinian political forces of all leanings from confronting that policy. It will not deter them from mobilizing all political and popular capabilities to safeguard the Palestinian land, the Palestinian human being and Palestinian rights on the solid basis of national unity and the just and legitimate struggle to achieve the one national goal: the goal of ending occupation, of exercising self-determination, and of solving the issue of the refugees on the basis of United Nations General Assembly resolution 194 and relevant resolutions of international legitimacy.
The members of the PCC appreciated the presence of the brothers from Hamas and Jihad in the meetings of the Council. They also appreciated their assurances that this initiative is a clear message that our people are united in the face of difficult circumstances and that hoping for divisions among our people is futile.
The PCC is unanimous that the Palestinian people will not give up on the option of peace as a strategic choice supported by all states the world over and reaffirmed as one of the fundamentals of regional and international stability.
The PCC highly appreciated the positions of the fraternal Arab, Islamic and African States, the countries of the Non-Aligned Movement, Russia, China and many other European and Latin American States, who have been at the forefront of fully recognizing the independent State of Palestine with Holy Jerusalem as its capital.
The PCC appreciated as well the positions of the European Union, Norway, Japan and Canada, who have all supported the peace process and declared their recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the establishment of their State as a legitimate, unconditional right that cannot be vetoed. Their positions were also accompanied by significant positions on the issue of Jerusalem and sovereignty thereupon.
The PCC received with great interest the letter sent by President Bill Clinton, in which he reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to realization of the goals of the peace process, as represented in the implementation of resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of land for peace, as well as his support of the aspirations of the Palestinian people to live freely on their land and his acknowledgement that the settlements constitute a destructive factor to the peace process.
The PCC highly appreciated the extensive movement undertaken by President Yasser Arafat, particularly his indefatigable and effective efforts on the Arab and international levels, which resulted in a qualitative development of the positions of all states the world over vis-à-vis the State of Palestine, in solidifying its international legitimacy, and further developing its current and future relations.
The PCC gave great attention to the passage of the five-year term set in the Agreement on the Interim Period without the fulfillment of the requirements of this period, especially the Israeli withdrawal from the land and the conclusion of the final settlement between the two parties. The PCC was unanimous that the reasons for this situation are basically the policies and positions of the Israeli side, which bears full responsibility for the freezing of the peace process.
Consequently, the PCC calls upon the international community, the United Nations, and particularly the sponsoring and signatory States to the agreements, to work to force Israel to carry out its commitments in accordance with the agreements signed between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in order to implement Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the other relevant resolutions of international legitimacy.
At the end of the meetings held by the PCC over a three-day period, it decided the following:
First: The meetings of the current session of the PCC will be considered ongoing until the Council reconvenes in a general session during the coming month of June.
Second: It decided to continue taking the steps and measures necessary for the completion of the elements and institutions of the State, consecrating the sovereignty by forming a number of working committees, including the Special Committee on the proposed constitution of the State. In this regard, the PCC welcomes the acceptance by Dr. Issmat Abdul Majid, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, of the Palestinian request to form a higher Arab Committee under his chairmanship to help in formulating the proposed constitution.
Third: The PCC requests the Executive Committee to study the letters of the sponsoring States and to deal with them in a manner that realizes the supreme interests of the Palestinian people.
Fourth: The Council reiterates the central importance of the City of Jerusalem. It reiterates that all measures and arrangements taken and still being taken by Israel, the occupying Power, in Jerusalem and elsewhere, are null and void and illegitimate and must be ceased and their results must be retracted. In this regard, the Council reaffirms the relevant United Nations resolutions. It highly appreciates the recent position of the European Union on Jerusalem. The Council further appreciates the firm positions taken by the Arab, Islamic and Non-Aligned States on Jerusalem.
Fifth: The Council calls upon all the forces of our people to confront, with all national energies, the policy of settlement, the usurpation of land, the destruction of homes, the building of bypass roads and the racist judaization actions being carried out in Jerusalem and throughout the Palestinian Territory. On the basis of international law and the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council, the PCC reaffirms that these hostile policies and practices are null and void. The Council requests the Executive Committee to adopt the necessary measures to confront this danger. Further in this regard, the Council welcomes the convening of the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention on 15 July 1999. It calls upon this conference to adopt the measures established in the Convention to bring about Israeli compliance in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Sixth: The Council salutes the steadfastness of our heroic prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails. It reaffirms is determination to have them released and to put an end to their suffering.
Seventh: The Council reiterates the importance of strengthening the march of building our national homeland, the consecration of the rule of law, promoting democratic practices and building the institutions of civic society.
The PCC salutes the steadfastness of our great people and their widespread support of their national leadership. It calls for more vigilance and readiness in these historic moments in the march of the struggle of our people. With great confidence, the PCC reaffirms that dawn will break and that victory is near.
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
We will, without doubt,
Sadqa Allahu Al Athim
(The Quran, Sura 40, Verse 51)
Gaza: 29 April 1999