palestine liberation organization

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The following press release appeared in WAFA (The Palestinian News and Info Agency) today.

It is tragic that incidents like this happen without arousing international ire.

Presumably these ‘lawmakers’ are being detained without being charged. Such intimidating practices are hardly fitting for a state that calls itself democratic.  Arresting those who construct laws is like burning books. It is a rejection of civilisation.

Father Dave

Soldiers and Border Police v.s. Children

Soldiers and Border Police v.s. Children (photo: Palestinian Solidarity Project)

PLO Condemns Israeli Arrest of Lawmakers

RAMALLAH, February 4, 2013 (WAFA) – The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) condemned Monday in a statement Israeli arrest of West Bank lawmakers.

Israeli soldiers arrested early Monday three lawmakers from the Change and Reform Bloc in a wide arrest campaign that included more than 20 people. A total of 16 lawmakers are currently held in Israeli jails, mostly held in the illegal administrative detention policy.

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi, herself a lawmaker, accused the Israeli government of breaching international law by arresting lawmakers.

“Israel is deliberately breaching international law and conventions relating to the immunity of democratically elected Palestinian officials,” she said.

Ashrawi accused Israel of attempting to undermine Palestinian reconciliation efforts with its incursions and arrests in the West Bank.

“It is apparent the Israeli government is implementing a policy of intimidation and power politics to meddle in Palestinian domestic affairs and to undermine reconciliation efforts,” she added.

“With such arbitrary arrests, Israel has violated international law and the most basic norms of human rights. Israel is not above the law,” she said.

“Therefore, we call on all parliaments – Arab, European and international – to hold Israel accountable and to ensure the release of Palestinian lawmakers. It is high time the international community put an end to Israel’s impunity and its illegal occupation of Palestine and the Palestinian people,” concluded Ashrawi.

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This news has come from my dear friend, Father Labib of San Francisco. It is good to see the church attempting to broker peace.

Holy See Meets With Palestinian, Israeli Representatives

Negotiations Continue

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2012 (Zenit.org…).- The Vatican is continuing its diplomatic efforts with representatives both of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

On Friday, a Vatican communiqué reported on a meeting between Holy See and Israeli representatives. And today, a communiqué noted a meeting with Vatican officials and representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

The Friday note reported that the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel held its plenary session at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs last Thursday, to carry on negotiations related to the Fundamental Agreement, article 10 paragraph 2, dealing with economic and fiscal matters.

Present at the meeting was Monsignor Ettore Balestrero, under-secretary for Relations with States, and Daniel Ayalon, Israeli deputy minister for foreign affairs. The statement said that “the negotiations took place in an open, friendly and constructive atmosphere. Substantive progress was made on issues of significance.”

The parties agreed on the next steps toward the conclusion of the Agreement, and to hold their next plenary meeting June 11 in the Vatican.

PLO

Then, today, a joint communiqué following a bilateral meeting between the Holy See and the Palestine Liberation Organization was released. The Saturday encounter was co-chaired by Monsignor Balestrero and Minister Ziad Al-Bandak, the Palestinian President’s advisor for Christian relations.

“The Palestinian side handed to the Holy See delegation the response to the draft agreement proposed by the Holy See in the previous meeting, and the talks took place in a positive atmosphere to strengthen further the special relations between the two sides,” the statement said.

They also agreed to set up technical teams to follow up on the draft, in preparation of the plenary session in the Vatican in the near future.

The Holy See delegation was composed of Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine; Monsignor Maurizio Malvestiti, under-secretary of the Congregation for Eastern Churches; Monsignor Alberto Ortega, official of the Vatican’s Secretariat of the State, and Monsignor Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, counsellor of the apostolic delegation in Jerusalem.

For the Palestinians those present at the meeting were: Dr. Nabil Shaath, member of the Fatah Central Committee; Dr. Bernard Sabella, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council; Mr. Issa Kassissieh, deputy head of the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department, and Mr. Wassim Khazmo, policy advisor at the PLO’s Negotiations Support Unit.

In 2000 a “Basic Agreement” was formulated between the Holy See and the PLO. It covered matters such as freedom of religion, human rights, freedom of Church institutions and their legal, economic and fiscal status in Palestinian-ruled areas. The Agreement soon ran into difficulty because of the Intifada that followed soon after.