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Democracy is the Key to Restoring National Unity

Perspective from Mustafa Barghouthi

Tuesday 10 June 2008

PNI leader, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi MP, today welcomed steps towards restoring national unity currently being taken by President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leaders, and stressed that this new initiative cannot be missed. He underlined that the democratic process - free and fair elections, respect for the separation of powers and the rule of law, and the equality of all Palestinians before the law - was the key to restoring national unity.

Dr. Barghouthi stressed the need for national unity to end divisions on the Palestinian street and between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to lift the Israeli siege on Gaza, and to protect the Palestinian national cause.

He pointed out that national unity was of greater importance now than ever before in the face of increased Israeli military attacks since Annapolis, together with the ongoing siege on Gaza, the continued expansion of settlements and construction of the Apartheid Wall, and in light of recent threats by Israeli leaders to launch a wide scale military attack on the Gaza Strip.

Dr. Barghouthi emphasized that the political platforms of Palestinian factions and parties were not incompatible, and that a consensus had been reached before under the Arab Initiative, and under the programme of the National Unity Government, which provided a combination of national goals, respect for the rights of the Palestinian people to independence and self-determination, and flexibility.

The MP said that all parties should work towards the formation of another agree-upon unity government to restore the union of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the unity of Palestinian institutions, to rebuild the security forces on a professional, not factional basis, and to prepare for free and fair democratic elections at the earliest possible date.

He explained that in order to achieve this, Palestinians must immediately begin comprehensive dialogue and the implementation of the Cairo Agreement to rebuild the Palestine Liberation Organization on a democratic basis, so as to ensure the formation of a unified national leadership.

He made reference to the success of the Lebanese model in achieving national unity, which illustrates that when people unite, no outside force can break the national consensus.

Dr. Barghouthi also called for reviving the role of, and unifying the Palestinian Legislative Council, which he said must not be part of the process of division. He stressed the importance of the efforts of all the parliamentary blocs and lists in reinstating the role of the PLC to restore its function and ability to exercise a full legislative and supervisory role, which has been all but lost in recent months.

The MP ended by calling on the Palestinian people to work together so as not to lose sight of this positive opportunity to achieve national unity.

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