President Arafat addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos
Hereby is the full text of the speech:
Ladies and Gentlemen, leaders and members of the participating delegations
Ladies and Gentlemen
Allow me first, Mr. President, to convey to you, a special greeting on convening this important economic forum. I would like to express to you, as well, our sincerest thanks and our deepest appreciation for your kind invitation to this gathering in this year. I highly appreciate the efforts you have undertaken in the planning for and the organization of bringing together this important number of experienced personalities and decision makers the world over.
For years, we have participated in your Forum. We are doing it today, because we believe that the Davos Forum is important and because it contributes to comprehensive economic and social development on the regional and international levels. It is a forum where the horizons of positive and constructive cooperation as well as, the interaction among the economies of the various countries take place. This happens through developing economic and trade relations based on participation, exchange of experiences and mutual benefit to the best of the common interests of the countries and institutions participating in this Forum. This is done in a way that creates a positive economic atmosphere among states, delegations and institutions. This in turn, fosters the already existing economic and trade relations and founds for new horizons of economic and trade cooperation and exchange, and contributes, in a valuable manner, to the development and growth of the world economy as a whole. It leaves good repercussions on the levels of income for individuals and societies.
When we talk about economics, there is no way but to talk about politics because of its great influence on economics. The relationship between the two is a dialectical one. The influence of the political situation on the life and economy of any nation, people or country is a huge one - indeed it is quintessential and decisive.
You know, ladies and gentlemen, how many tiring efforts we have undertaken, to raise our Palestinian economy that was handed over to us totally destroyed by the Israeli occupation. There were no institutions and no infrastructures. The whole economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory poured into the Israeli treasury. There was no existence of any projects or institutions for the development of the Palestinian economy and society. Israel was set on exploiting all of our economic and natural resources in the interest of the economy of its occupation. This left negative repercussions and destructive consequences on our economy.
Over seven years of hard and continues labor, we worked to create an economic environment conducive to investment, development and growth.We made big efforts to establish our institutions and the necessary infrastructures. From here, I would like to thank all our brothers and friends, for the help they have extended to the Palestinian people. It is a help that assisted us in making the projects of economic development and growth succeed, despite what we faced in terms of obstacles, impediments and difficulties, which Israel had, and still does, put in the face of our developing economy.
Israel has delayed the operational functioning of the airport. It has not allowed us to start building the seaport. As you know, these two, the airport and the seaport, are important and vital institutions. In addition, Israel has obstructed other projects, important to our economy and to our people e.g. the electricity and water and other projects. The Government of Barak, as well as the preceding Government of Netanyahu, practiced the policy of economic strangulations, closures and siege, as well as starvation and collective punishment against our Palestinian people.
The current Government of Israel is waging, for the last four months, a savage and barbaric war, as well as, a blatant and fascist military aggression against our Palestinian people. In this aggression it is using internationally prohibited weapons and ammunitions that include in their construction depleted uranium. In addition, Israel is laying against us total siege, indeed, worse than that, it is imposing this siege against every village and town. It is prohibiting the freedom of movement and travel of our people. It is jeopardizing the basic human rights of our Palestinian citizens, dismissing our workers, closing our factories, destroying a number of these, so much so that 90% of our workers are forcibly unemployed, destroying our farms and fruit trees and prohibiting export and import, indeed it is forbidding us to receive, from brothers and friends, donated provisions. All this is in violation of all resolutions of international legality, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Human Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the Protection of Civilians in Times of War.
Have you seen a more ugly policy than this policy of collective punishment or more destruction in the contemporary age? Israel is putting all of our people in confrontation with this dangerous military escalation, and its occupational, settlement, aggressive and armed expansionism as well as in confrontation with its dreams of achieving territorial and regional gains at the expense of our people, in a manner, which is in contravention of international legality and the rights of our Palestinian people to their land, Christian and Islamic holy places and to their natural resources.
Ladies and Gentlemen, leaders and members of the delegations,
Whoever wants really to achieve peace and seeks it with belief and sincerity, does not resort to killing, persecution, assassination, destruction and devastation as the Government of Israel and its army of occupation are doing to our people these days and since four continuous months. The number of Palestinian martyrs has exceeded the four hundred. The number of injured persons has exceeded seventeen thousand, of whom 5439 are children. These are the human losses and damages. The grand total, so far, of the economic and financial losses in all sectors, as a result of destruction caused by the Israeli occupational military machine, to the infrastructures and to public and private property and other losses is US $ billion 2,4 including the heavy losses inflicted on the Palestinian farmers as a result of cutting more than one hundred thousand trees and leveling of 10000 dunums of land (1 dunum = 1000 m2). This, of course, leaves destructive consequences on the livelihood of the Palestinian citizens and the Palestinian investment. Added to these losses should be those caused by the Israeli shells, from tanks, artillery, planes and rockets, to the buildings, establishments, installations and institutions, such as schools, colleges, churches and mosques.
This is a very short resume? of what has befallen our society in terms of dire human and material losses and as a result of the situation of total siege and closure. As a result, the percentage of those who are living under the lineof poverty has risen to 75% and general national income has decreased sharply in millions of US dollars annually.
While we confirm to you, dear friends once more, our adherence to a comprehensive, just and permanent peace, the peace of the brave, as a firm strategic choice of our Palestinian people, we look up to you, and to the United Nations and to all justice-, freedom-, peace- and democracy – loving forces the world over, and to all brothers and friends, to approach the vital and influential international forces in the world, so as to bear their moral and human responsibilities in order to work in sincerity, objectivity, neutrality and fairness, to find a quick and just solution to the Issue of Palestine, in accordance with the spirit of right and justice and the international resolutions related to Palestine.
You know, ladies and gentlemen, that we have made great concessions and sacrifices in order to achieve comprehensive, just and permanent peace. Yes, indeed, we have accepted less than one quarter of the total area of historic Palestine. We accepted, at the Madrid Peace Conference, the principle of land for peace on the basis of [UN] Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 which call for the withdrawal of Israel, the occupying power, from all Arab and Palestinian occupied territories, including Holy Jerusalem, to the fourth of June border lines; the dismantling of every thing the occupation has built in terms of settlements and settlement structures that have no basis of legality; and the implementation of [UN General Assembly] Resolution 194 on the Palestinian refugees. We have achieved, as well, peace agreements with my late partner Yitzhak Rabin, in making the peace of the brave, which guarantees us the establishment of our independent Palestinian state, with holy Jerusalem as its capital.
We look forward to the whole international community, the United Nations Organization and the vital and influential international forces, to work for ending this Israeli war and aggression against our unarmed people; a war and an aggression which constitute a flagrant and blatant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the Protection of Civilians in Times of War. We ask for the provision of international protection for our people immediately, the lifting of the siege and closure and the ending of this escalating military aggression.
Our Palestinian people, ladies and gentlemen, look up to you to help them in realizing their inalienable legitimate national rights so as to be able to march forward on the road of development and construction of their homeland, to catch up with the developed and advanced course of international economy, and to live with dignity, freedom, sovereignty and independence in their homeland, Palestine, like all other peoples and states in the region and the world, in a framework of confidence, mutual respect and good neighborliness with their surroundings.
Finally, we reiterate our thanks to you, Mr. President, for inviting us, and for giving us the opportunity to address this august Forum. We wish you success and good luck in realizing the noble aims of this meeting. We express our sincere hope and firm desire to have the honor to invite you all on a very close day, God be willing, to convene your Forum in Holy Jerusalem, the capital of the independent State of Palestine.
Peace be with you all
Quelle: Palestinian National Authority
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