Arafat to Make ‘Important Speech’ to Palestinian Parliament Saturday
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat will make an "important speech" Saturday, outlining the policies of the Palestinian Authority following the investiture of hardline Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a senior Palestinian official said.
Arafat will make the "important speech" at a meeting of the Palestinian parliament in Gaza City early Saturday afternoon, Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Zaccaria el-Agha told AFP.
Palestinian parliamentary affairs minister Nabil Amr said: "This meeting is very important, because we will present to the entire world a message about a peace of the brave, a just peace founded on mutual respect."
The occasion is the first meeting of the parliament since the Palestinian intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation broke out late last September.
Among other business, the body will elect its president, vice president and secretary general.
Ahmed Qorei has headed the legislative body since he was first elected in 1996.
Despite the Israeli blockade in the West Bank, the Israeli authorities have authorized members of the parliament living there to travel through Israeli territory by taxi to Gaza.
However, two men have not received authorization.
One is Marwan Barghouti, who represents Ramallah and has been frequently accused by Israeli authorities of fomenting violence during the more than five-month Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation.
The other is Abbas Zaki, who represents Hebron. Along with Ramallah, Hebron has been one of the leading hotbeds of violence during the Intifada -- GAZA CITY (AFP)