Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition is concerned about the short- and long-term impact of the current Palestinian infighting especially with regards to achieving the goals of return and self determination. The Israeli occupation and oppression of Palestinians, including denial of the rights of return and self determination, are ultimately responsible for this turn of events. However, we believe the Palestinian leadership, especially President Arafat, must deal with corruption within the PA’s institutions and develop democratic processes even under the strains of occupation. Recent reports about the cement scandal are the latest in a series of crimes by high-ranking Palestinian officials which harm the Palestinian cause.
Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, urges all Palestinians and especially those in the Palestinian Authority to:
a) End violent confrontation between Palestinians. Intra-Palestinian infighting benefits Zionist colonialism.
b) Undertake immediate measures to put an end to nepotism, paternalism and patronage within the Palestinian government.
c) Bring all those involved in corruption and abuse of public trust to justice.
d) Embark on a process of internal dialogue in order to elect a unified national leadership representing the totality of the Palestinian people. The new leadership must immediately embark on a process aimed at restructuring and reforming official Palestinian institutions, thereby making them more democratic, transparent and accountable. Simultaneously, the unified national leadership must also undertake the task of organizing and overseeing national elections, both within and outside Palestine.
19 July 2004