ARAFAT AND THE PLO,
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
1. A public statement released by the PLO's Palestinian Authority Council, concerning "American aggression against Iraq" (from the Palestinian Arab daily Al Nahar, Jerusalem, 5 September 1996):
The Palestinian Legislative Council, in its twentieth conference, which convened on the morning of the 4th of September 1996 in Ramallah, discussed the American aggression against the sister state, Iraq. Council members expressed harsh condemnation and accusation against this mighty aggression which the US conducted while ignoring the suffering of the Iraqi people, our brothers, as a result of the illegitimate siege imposed
The Legislative Council calls upon the Palestinian people and [all sons of the Arab nations] to stand consistently and comfortably by its sister state Iraq.
upon them for the past six years for invalidated reasons, and while ignoring the UN charter and international law, which guarantee freedom for [all] peoples, their right to sovereignty over their land, and unity of their nation.
The Legislative Council calls upon the Palestinian people and [all sons of the Arab nations] to stand consistently and comfortably by its sister state Iraq, [and provide] any form of financial aid and moral support, in order to help put a stop to the continuing aggression against it, so that sister Iraq can recapture her natural place in the taking of the national and pan-Arab responsibility.
2. Excerpts from Arafat's address to the First General Refugee Congress, convened in Gaza on September 17, 1996, in the presence of the PLO and Palestinian Authority council members:
Anchor: President Yasser Arafat stressed that the right of return of the Palestinian refugees is a sacred right. The president clarified [this] in his speech, during the First General Refugee Congress, which opened today at the site of the national council in Gaza, because the issue of the return of the refugees is both an Arab and national Palestinian demand.
Arafat: Palestine is for the Palestinians. And we say: the right of return, the right of return, the right of return, the right of return.
Yes, I say that so that it will be heard by the Far and the Near, and you know who I mean by the Far and the Near. Yes, the Far and the Near, who say 'no return of refugees'. No, the right of return is a right [which is]
sacred, sacred, sacred. Yes, a sacred right. Let this be heard by the Far and the Near.
Oh brothers, oh loved ones, yes brothers, our path is long and hard. But who has said that we have grown weary? As I have always stated, let me repeat: whoever among you has grown weary--go rest, [but] send me your children, in order for me to complete, through
The right of return is a sacred right. The right of return is the sacred right of every Palestinian refugee, brothers, the right of return is sacred...
them, my journey, to Jerusalem, to Jerusalem. Yes, brothers, and your children's children. Yes, Khattab, your children's children too--not only your children', without a doubt. May Allah bless you, Khattab.
I say this, brothers, yes. For this thing must be clear, brothers; [let it be] clear, and heard by the Far and the Near. And I am referring to he who said yesterday that there is no right of return. No, I tell him: there is right of return, there is right of return. The right of return is a sacred right. The right of return is the sacred right of every Palestinian refugee, brothers, the right of return is sacred...
Those refugees, brothers, are the core who stayed to preserve...For what did they try [to do to us]? That the refugees--and aren't half of the Palestinian people refugees, brothers, and [even] a bit more than half, if we calculate? Isn't it so, Khattab? If we calculate, it will come out to more than half.
I am saying these things because they thought they could split the unity of the Palestinian people, but thank God, brothers, that through your faith and patience, through your determination, and deep-rooted belief, brothers, we were able to preserve the unity of the Palestinian people. We did not allow a schism to come between refugee and resident, or any divisor--to become a divider--between Palestinians, but rather for a strong bond between refugee and resident, in order to give birth to this ingrained revolution, the greatest revolution of the 20th century, the greatest revolution of the 20th century, brothers. The greatest and longest of the 20th century.
- Hold the Date -
Americans For a Safe Israel
Sunday, December 15, 1996