President Mahmoud Abbas at the opening session of the Central Council meeting in Ramallah. (WAFA Images / Thayer Ghanayem)
RAMALLAH, Sunday, October 28, 2018 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday during the 30th Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council session held in Ramallah that "the phase we are going through may be the most dangerous phase that the Palestinian people have ever experienced," stressing that "we are facing a historical moment; either to be or not to be."
"We are embarking on very difficult and important decisions," he said.
The president called on the Palestinian people to unite behind the PLO, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, in all their places of residence, stressing that, "we will remain steadfast on our land and adherent to our national rights and constants and will not repeat what happened in 1948 and 1967."
Abbas reaffirmed that there is neither a state in the Gaza Strip nor a state without Gaza, stressing that East Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state, and not some place in East Jerusalem or that Jerusalem is capital of two states.
Abbas stressed that Palestine and Jerusalem are not for sale or bargaining, rejecting the establishment of a Palestinian state with temporary borders.
He affirmed that stipends paid by the Palestinian Authority (PA) to Palestinian prisoners in Israel and the families of those killed by Israel are a red line, stressing the illegality of all Israeli settlements.
Abbas reiterated his rejection to US President Donald Trump’s so-called "Deal of the Century", stating that: "If the Balfour declaration has passed (100 years ago), the Deal of the Century will not pass."
Following is an unofficial translation of the speech of President Mahmoud Abbas at the opening session of the 30th meeting of the Palestinian Central Council:
The stage we are going through may be the most dangerous stage in the life of the Palestinian people because we are going to make decisions that are very important, very difficult, and I do not think we have been through like this. We may have gone through dangerous stages but not more dangerous than this stage. We passed a difficult phase in 1984 when we lost the quorum in the Executive Committee, and we were about to collapse. We searched at the time for a place to hold the National Council and found only Oman. We looked for members to complete the quorum and had a great difficulty finding them. The PLO almost ended, but thank God, with your efforts and the leaders, the martyrs of the Palestinian people who passed, we were able to overcome that stage. Can we overcome it now as we are being besieged from all sides, from all fronts? It depends on us all.
And here I wonder why the absence from this Council? Why there are 30 people - maybe a little less - because there are those who missed with an excuse - but there are those who missed without excuse. Why? I do not know. You are a member of the Central Council and a member of the National Council. This is a mandate, not an honor. You could apologize and do not attend and not be in this important place of the Palestinian people. Then you are absent? Why? I do not know. Just decided to miss because he "does not like the situation." Why? No one knows.
They hold meetings here and there, issuing statements here and there. It is important that they come to say what they want. There is no prohibition on any one of them to say what he wants. We have more freedom than any country in the world. Why do they go to this cafe or forum or club to say, "We are boycotting the Central Council?" Best of all, sir, to leave this place for good. Do not be in this place. Leave it for others who can take responsibility or want to take responsibility. But you are a member of these institutions and then you say: I do not come! Today my mood does not allow me to attend. The boat is sinking while you watch. Do you agree with those who want this boat to sink? Are you conspiring with them? Are you waiting for some of the results of their dirty work that they conspire against us? Or are you patriotic? The patriotic comes to say his word and say his opinion freely, but within the framework of the institution.
This institution is not an honorary post for anyone. If you do not want it, you can leave it and say I do not want to bear this responsibility in these days. As for this position, I think it is a disgrace for those who lag behind. We know the difficulty and danger we are facing from all sides. We are still going through this phase to this day. The conspiracy is not over, although we have stood firm and remained steadfast and have declared our absolute rejection of the deal of the century. But you have to be with us; you have to be with your family, not like what happened when I went to the United Nations to reject the deal of the century than one Hamas official says: "Abu Mazen does not represent us." Does not represent you in what? In what you said? In what I will say? Then you are with them. Therefore, I am very sad about this situation. We have an opposition and we have a government and we have everything. We have those who want and those who do not want; who agree and who disagree. But you have to come here, not to shout from the end of the world and say: I do not like this and I‘m not coming to the Central Council.
I appeal to our heroic people and I call on you all to unite behind the Palestine Liberation Organization, our sole legitimate representative. Let us all stand in the trench defending our dreams and hopes and strengthening our steadfastness and our constants - the constants of the martyrs, tens of thousands of martyrs. What would you say to them? They died for this cause. What are they going to tell them? The prisoners and the wounded and the thousands of disabled people here and there.
Yes, we will remain steadfast on our land, adhering to our rights, steadfast in our principles, and no force will be able to move us from this land. We will not commit the crime of 1948 and of 1967. What happened in these two times will not be repeated.
Young people, hold on to your hopes and dreams, to a better future without occupation, to the Palestinian state and Jerusalem the capital, not the capital in Jerusalem or Jerusalem as the capital of two states. Pay good attention to these conspiracies. We are people whose will is not going to be broken, and no one will be able to kill our aspirations.
I urge you to hold on to unity, unity and unity. I speak to Gaza and tell them unity is much more honorable than this position you are in. You stand with the ideas of the enemies who want to tear us apart and want to establish a semi-state in Gaza and autonomy in the West Bank. This is the Balfour Declaration, which I never stop talking about. Since that time, 100 years ago, to this day they keep trying, and now it is time to apply it through the deal of the century.
I urge you to stick to unity and adhere to building and stay away from destroying and adherence to values and the group and not the division, and renew my call to everyone to rise above the wounds and heal ourselves, to walk together towards the state, Jerusalem and return.
East Jerusalem is the capital of our state. We will not accept a capital in Jerusalem or the capital of two states because they are fooling us. Those who say Jerusalem capital of two states say that Jerusalem is capital of Israel and Abu Dis is our capital. With respect to Abu Dis or Qalandia, no. Jerusalem, which was occupied in 1967, is our capital, every meter and centimeter of it.
I will say it loud, Jerusalem and Palestine are not for sale or bargaining. I renew our firm position of no state in the Gaza Strip or a state without the Gaza Strip. We categorically reject the state with temporary borders. I think you remember it, and I say frankly now, and now the time of frankness: Yes, it was offered to us and we rejected it and when Hamas accepted it when it heard it.
I remember that we were in Damascus and met Khaled Meshaal. I say it now, on the air, we talked and then he told me that we hold a press conference and I told him no problem, but on the condition that you go out first and say I‘m not with the state with temporary borders. We argued and argued and argued and I refused until he said after we came out that we reject the state with provisional borders. But the truth is that what is being applied now is the state with temporary borders.
I say to all that the stipends of our martyrs, prisoners and wounded are a red line. They are trying by all means and pressure by all means and are still pressing that it is not permissible to pay him, even if it leads to the deduction from our own money they hold. The money we pay to the martyrs is a red line from 1965 until today. This is a sacred matter for us and the martyrs and their families are sacred, and the wounded and prisoners, we must pay them if we have one penny left. It is for them and not for living.
I say to all the conspirators: Do what you want and decide what you want. Our people will remain steadfast and continue on their path towards freedom and independence, holding on to their rights generation after generation. All that you do will not extinguish the flame of faith in our hearts and that the continuation of occupation, settlements, killing and Judaization will not discourage our resolve and weaken our will. Settlements, from the first stone until the last one, are illegal. They can do what they want. This is our land so let them leave it. This was given to us by the international legitimacy. We will not accept anything less. The settlements from the first stone are illegal, not today and not a month ago. Settlements are illegal. We are Canaanites and owners of this land. We were born here and will live on it and we will be buried here in its holy soil. I mean, we will not leave it at any cost.
Let the world know that no one is born or will be born who will concede our rights and our constants approved by the international legality. We have already made decisions in our previous councils regarding the United States, the occupation and Hamas, and the time has come to implement them. They have not left reconciliation a chance, and they have left no way to reach a reconciliation or settlement. We are no longer able to tolerate it but they are dangerous decisions and every person must put his hand on his heart and his conscience and not be subject to blackmail, bargaining, pressure, or to anything. You are in facing a historic moment that you must pay attention to: to be or not to be. So what would you choose?
They are still talking about the deal of the century. We will prepare you a deal of the century, after two months. What was left of this deal? You swallowed Jerusalem and you moved your embassy to it. The refugees and their right you ended and closed UNRWA and said with all brazenness that the number of refugees is 40,000. Where did you come up with 40,000? The refugees who left Palestine in 1948 and 1949 were 950,000 and they are now 6 million so that you will say that the refugee issue is over. But we say the refugee issue has not ended.
Anyway, if the Balfour Declaration has passed and you read that it was the beginning and every day we see the lines of the Balfour Declaration before us. I would like to talk a lot about the Balfour Declaration to tell you that this promise is the basis of the problem. If the Balfour Declaration has passed, the deal of the century will not pass.