LAST Thursday two leaders from the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fatah, and the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, underlined the need to strengthen national unity and expedite the formation of a national unity government to extricate the Palestinian people from the circle of the international siege imposed on them.
Speaking on the ‘Red line’ programme, which is aired by the Palestine Satellite Channel every Wednesday, Azzam al-Ahmad, head of the Fatah’s parliamentary bloc, described the attempt on the life of Abu-Ali Shahin, a member of the Revolutionary Council of Fatah, as dangerous, noting that there have been a series of similar attempts against national leaders and figures.
He said that the fact that this incident coincided with the ongoing national dialogue on forming a national unity government could have consequences, stir emotions and create a crisis of confidence.
He demanded that everyone be clear in denouncing this heinous crime and underlined the need for joint action to reveal the perpetrators of this crime, which is alien to Palestinian society.
He said: ‘There is a law in the Legislative Council, which should be respected.
‘The council was scheduled to hold a session to listen to the report of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya. The session was suspended, but not cancelled.
Al-Ahmad stressed the legality of this session and the fact that it has priority over other sessions.
He noted that 32 Legislative Council members submitted a plea to be able to interrogate the interior minister, saying this has a priority and a clear text.
He said: ‘No one is superior, neither the prime minister, nor any minister, nor any Legislative Council member; they are all equal before the law.’
Al-Ahmad explained that the agreement among the factions provided for the formation of a national unity government, stressing that Fatah supports the formation of a national unity government based on the national accord document, which was unanimously adopted by all factions and the civil society.
Al-Ahmad said that it was agreed not to include renowned politicians in the next government, and include instead professionals in order to lift the siege against the Palestinian people and ensure that the government is internationally acceptable.
He denied that this government is a technocrat government, saying it is a national accord government, which involves the national blocs, parties and qualified people.
He said: ‘We should act through a national spirit, especially since 71 per cent of Palestinians are living on the poverty line.
Al-Ahmad added: ‘We have to stay away from an organisational government, and think of the interests of our people and of how we can ease their suffering.
‘Everyone must pressure the president, the prime minister, Legislative Council and the factions to expedite the agreement process.
He noted that martyr President Yasser Arafat did not cede our people’s rights, that he was besieged in Ramallah, but did not give in an inch, and that he was besieged because of his position at Camp David.
He explained that the authority is founded on a legal basis; namely, agreements reached with the Israeli side under international sponsorship.
He said: ‘We must pursue a realistic policy that would fulfil the interests of our people, extricate them from the state of siege, solve the economic crisis and meet needs, open the door to the process of construction and development and overcome the state of stagnation our people are experiencing.’
He underlined the need for us to get closer to and trust one another, noting that the issue is not one of quotas and that what is important is to implement the slogan of a government that would lift the siege.
For his part, Dr Khalil al-Hayyah, head of Hamas’s parliamentary bloc, condemned the attempt by unknown gunmen in Gaza on the life of Abu-Ali Shahin.
He asked the Interior Ministry and the security agencies to find the perpetrators, put them on trial and take tough measures against them.
He said: ‘The Legislative Council was dealt a strong blow with the Israeli occupation forces’ arrest of its deputies.’
He noted that the Legislative Council had not offered what we aspire to.
He said: ‘Today’s session was held based on an agreement with the factions. We attended the session, which was successful.
He said that they want to involve all the national forces in the national unity government set to be formed. He said: ‘We want to agree on a general framework in their presence at each step.’
He said that through a continued dialogue with President Mahmud Abbas, the latest manifestation of which being the mediation role of Dr Mustafa al-Barghuthi, they agreed with the president on the formation of the national unity government based on the national accord document.
He explained that the factions would choose acclaimed members to participate in the government with the aim of lifting the international siege imposed on our people and securing the release of the detained deputies before the formation of the government.
Al-Hayyah stressed that the first steps to rebuild the PLO had been taken, saying that Ahmad Qurei went to Syria and met the factions there and that there was an agreement on holding a meeting early next month.
He noted that the Palestinian People’s Party and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine held a meeting with the prime minister on the formation of the government.
He said: ‘I want to assure all factions that they will be involved in the dialogue on the government formation, and we have to move forward in achieving our people’s interests.
‘Despite the unfairness of the siege imposed on us, we, Hamas, offered more than any sane person could imagine for the sake of our people’s interest.’
He said that it was agreed with President Abbas that all parties should deal with the next government.
He stressed that the Palestinian factions were one bloc; that there had been an agreement – based on the accord document – on the platform of the government, the national programme and the ministers; that it was not impossible for us to reach an agreement and that we reached an agreement in order to lift the siege.
Al-Hayyah went on to say that the national accord document had been signed in order to lift the unjust siege imposed on our people, and that we walk in parallel lines, which we will not allow to get entangled, for the sake our people’s interests.