GAZA WORKERS RALLY TO HAMAS – as Haniya calls to renew National Unity Government

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THOUSANDS of Palestinian professional workers have demonstrated their unequivocal support for the legitimate PNA government under Premier Ismail Haniya, and denounced PNA chief Mahmud Abbas’s ‘hasty’ and ‘unconstitutional’ decrees.

The professional workers support was evident by the massive rally they held in Gaza city where thousands of teachers, doctors, journalists, and engineers among other workers participated.

The workers urged Abbas to revoke his ‘arbitrary’ edicts, to respect the democratic will of the Palestinian people, and to stop circumventing the Palestinian legitimacy.

‘What the Palestinian people are facing now is indeed a coup against the constitutional Palestinian legitimacy as shown by Abbas’s illegitimate decrees that clearly violated the PNA basic law’, one of the speakers in the demonstration asserted.

Raising Palestinian flags, the workers highlighted the necessity of returning to the table of national dialogue among the Palestinian factions for the good of the Palestinian people, and to cut the road before Israel and the US’ conspiracies against the Palestinian national venture.

‘We are behind you Haniya. No coup against legitimacy is allowed’, the participants chanted in the rally.

A number of placards bearing written phrases like ‘Oh Allah make this place safe’, ‘Have a mercy on our people in the West Bank’, and ‘Yes…Yes to Haniya, we are clinging to our legitimate government’ were brandished by the demonstrators during the rally.

In the past few days, Abbas issued at least eight unconstitutional’ decrees in which he dissolved the legitimate PNA unity government and formed an emergency government without the mandated approval from the PLC, but it was blessed by Israel and the USA.

He suspended articles of the PNA basic law in an obvious step to condition the law to his own political desire.

Ismail Haniya began his speech by thanking the gathering crowd for their attendance which proved their keenness to protect the Palestinian legitimacy. He saluted the martyrs, the wounded, the detainees, and all Palestinians everywhere.

He said that he should begin by talking about ‘the core of the Palestinian problem’, namely the Israeli occupation, stressing that ‘the main conflict was, is, and will remain, with the Israeli enemy.’

He said that the measures taken by Israel following the events in the Gaza Strip, such as releasing the held tax revenues, tightening the blockade on Gaza, and "pouring money on the people of the West Bank,’ among others prove that Israel is ‘interested in deepening the crisis and widening the division’.

He said that the released tax revenues should reach all the Palestinian people without any discrimination and should not be used for ‘political blackmail’.

He warned against the repercussions of false expectations and hopes emanating from holding joint Palestinian-Israeli-Arab summits, saying that ‘America and the Israeli occupation will not give our people the rights we want on the negotiation and dialogue table,’ and stressed that ‘our rights, land, and homeland will not be restored except by steadfastness, firmness, and resistance.’

He talked about the ‘political pressure’ exercised on the Palestinian government and people following Hamas’ victory in the legislative elections and the formation of the PNA government, listing the economic blockade, the arrest of PLC members by Israel coupled by internal Palestinian attempts to hamper PLC work ‘under feeble excuses’, the internal ‘programmed act of mutiny’, the placing obstacles before the work of the government, the supplying of a certain trend inside Fatah with money and weapons, and finally the armed confrontations as part of these pressures.

He noted that the sole goal was ‘to either make Hamas lose its legitimacy and disappear from the political system or to fall politically by offering political concessions on the expense of the rights and constants of the Palestinian people.’

He talked about the Palestinian government’s efforts to confront the pressures and its refusal to surrender to the blockade through contacts with Arab, Islamic, and European countries.

He affirmed that the government ‘positively responded to all field initiatives to contain all conflicts and problems,’ thanking ‘the Egyptian security delegation for all the exerted efforts over the Palestinian arena.’ He affirms that to overcome the conflict, his government opted for ‘political flexibility’ in its political programme to find a common denominator and coexistence between the Islamic programme, which wants all of historic Palestine and the national programme, which views the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

He talked about the Mecca agreement and the way its files were handled, deducing that ‘there is a Palestinian trend which dealt with the Mecca agreement as a transitory stage and not a permanent reality.’ He said that he was warned by a senior Palestinian leader to ‘expect the worse’ because the Americans and the Britons do not approve of the Mecca agreement.

Haniya showed a letter he sent to President Abbas after observing certain practices on the ground which contradict the stipulations of the Mecca agreement and which indicate that the situation was moving towards a ‘planned explosion’, expressing concern over threats to the Palestinian political system, and urging Abbas to take the necessary measures.

He talked about the national unity government, saying that it was ‘run in a team spirit’ and noting that cabinet members were told not to let their political affiliations interfere in their duties as Palestinian ministers.

He said that some differences inside the government emerged but were handled with tolerance, respect, and prudence. He then talked about the incitement against the unity government and said that discrimination against Hamas ministers affected the government’s performance.

Haniya confirmed that no dialogue took place regarding the restructuring and reformation of the PLO. He says that the trend which foiled the Mecca agreement ‘wanted to achieve the American goal of bringing down the national unity government.’ He talked about Hamas’s endeavours to salvage the situation, including its visit to Cairo and the talks with the Egyptian officials.

Then he said that ‘it became evident that the course of bloody events was an exact implementation of the plan to overthrow the national unity government and the exclusion of Hamas.’ He talks about the goals of the Dayton plan.

Haniya confirmed that the problem is not with President Abbas or between Hamas and Fatah, but rather with a certain trend inside Fatah which seeks to secure personal interests and privileges.

He derided accusations that Hamas staged a coup against legitimacy, confirming that Hamas is part of the Palestinian legitimacy, a position attained through elections; thus stressing that what happened in Gaza was done to protect legitimacy.

He stressed that he will step down from office if the Palestinian people want him to do so.

On BBC reporter Alan Johnston, Haniya said that the announced stand of Hamas is the denunciation and condemnation of the abduction. He went on to say that he sent word to the abductors through messengers that they are mistaken if they think that the abduction serves Islam or the Palestinian cause, but rather harms them.

He added that it is not bravery to abduct a helpless unprotected foreign reporter.

He said that the British Government did not want the use of force to release Johnston because they feared for his life, so the PNA government followed other channels to secure his release. He reiterated that the continuing abduction of the British reporter is unacceptable.

Haniya assured the Palestinian and Arab Christians in Gaza that Hamas is committed to their well-being, explaining that the assault on a Christian school in Gaza was not done by any member of Hamas.

Haniya then read a 10-point message addressing the people of Gaza and reassuring them that ‘the siege will be removed sooner or later’, and that ‘nobody will be treated unfairly’ affirming the rule of law.

He added that he gave orders to the security bodies to launch operations against ‘the merchants of death’ and drug traffickers. He stressed that the safety and security of Fatah members are guaranteed, as well as those of Fatah institutions.

Haniya then said that they will seek to pay the salaries of the employees committed to their work, and that they will work on reinforcing the spirit of national reconciliation. He noted that the idea of restricting the carrying of weapons is being studied, pointing out that this does not include ‘the weapons of the resistance.’

Haniya added that they are committed to consolidating freedoms, and fighting lawlessness.

Ismail Haniya then read the proposals to end the current situation. The proposals state ‘respect for Palestinian legitimacies’ including those of the government and the PLC. He sought ‘a non-conditional dialogue’ and national unity as a must.

He announced rejection to dividing the homeland and called for ‘a government of national unity with national consensus’ in Gaza and the West Bank.

He affirmed commitment to the Mecca agreement and called for the restructuring the security establishment on national bases, ending the current practices in the West Bank, and for holding those who committed crimes during the clashes to account.

Haniya ended by welcoming the Arab League’s decision to form a fact-finding commission and announced his readiness to positively deal with it and also called for the ending of external interference in Palestinian domestic affairs.