Mahmoud Abbas: Faith in their rights gives strength to the Palestinians

From a campaign speech for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority, given at the West Bank city of Ramallah
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The Independent Online

The departure of Yasser Arafat was hard on us. Many believed that chaos would prevail after his death and there would be no discipline. But we disappointed them when authority was transferred within 48 hours. We have an authority that is in control through the law.

We know that the others do not want safety for us, but we are steadfast in our land. We do not demand more than our rights. We commit no aggression; we have accepted the international legitimacy [of two states] and we are committed to it. It is important that the other party commits itself to this as well.

Frankly speaking, we do not demand more than international legitimacy. This is why our position is strong. We are not strong militarily, nor economically. But we have a weapon. It is the faith of our people in this right that is the source of our strength. We have the right to get a state, like all other liberation movements in the world; but this state can not be a state that remains under the presence of settlements.

We want an independent state, a viable one, with territorial continuity. Israel should withdraw from all the land it conquered in 1967. This means no compromise on Jerusalem, nor on settlements.

Jerusalem is one of our our basic principles. You have heard about Camp David, when they offered us to get every thing over the Haram-al-Sharif, and they get the land underneath. We say every thing you occupied, nothing more, nothing less. Camp David failed, and Jerusalem was one of the reasons.

Also, the issue of refugees is very important. The other parties try to dwarf it. Our reference in this issue is the 194 resolution issued by the UN. It was included in the road-map, and adopted in the Security Council. We are sticking to it.

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