Arafat: Just Peace Comes Only by Ending Occupation, Settlement
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said Tuesday that a just peace that guarantees security for both the Palestinians and the Israelis could be ensured only when Israel ends its occupation and settlement activities in the occupied territories.
In a recorded speech on the 53rd anniversary of the Nakba, or catastrophe, marking the loss of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel, Arafat called on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities and work to end the plight of his people, against whom Israel is using excessive force and an economic siege.
The president repeated accusations that Israel has used poisonous gases and internationally prohibited weapons in its attacks on “peaceful residents.”
However, “the Palestinian people will not accept this ‘black destiny’ and will stand up to the great conspiracy.”
Arafat said the report drafted by the US-led Mitchell committee on ways to bring a halt to the violence, and the Egyptian-Jordanian peace plan, can serve as a platform to restart peace negotiations.
Arafat reiterated that the UN resolutions 242, 338 and 194 should be fully implemented as the only path for a comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.
The resolutions call for Israeli withdrawal from the lands occupied in 1967, and the return of the four million Palestinian refugees to their lands from which they were displaced in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.
The Palestinian TV and Arab satellite channels showed footage of thousands of Palestinians gathering in the centers of Palestinian towns to mark the Nakba. According to schedule, sirens sounded at midday and demonstrators stood silent for three minutes in the memory of martyrs who have fallen during the struggle against the occupation.
Later, renowned Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish delivered “a message to the world” on behalf of the Palestinians.
“We are still living the Nakba after 53 years…we have not forgotten,” he said in the televised speech.
“But the makers of the Nakba have not been able to break the will of the Palestinians ...or falsify the truth,” he added, reiterating Arafat’s statement that international legitimacy should be implemented to achieve peace -- Albawaba.com