Marwan Barghouthi, the Palestinian resistance leader currently in Israeli prison, made a statement to the opening session of the Palestinian Parliament Saturday, asking for Palestinian internal unity and reiterating the right to resist the illegal (by International Law) Israeli military and economic occupation of Palestine.
His statement read:
"The brothers and sisters in the Palestinian Legislative Council, May God keep you, the brothers and the sisters who represent both the nationalist and Islamic powers.
"Our great Palestinian citizens:
"It is my honor and pleasure to speak to you through this humble message on this honorable and historic day, knowing that God will guide you to success in your tasks.
"The noble deputies:
"On this occasion I begin with the verses of glorification and reverence to our great nation, those killed in its defense, and to the highest of them all, President Yasser Arafat, the great Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the leader Fathi Al Shaqaqi, the great leftist Abu Ali Mustafa, leader Abul Abbas and doctor and leader Thabet Thabet and all the other great people who were killed by the occupation while defending our homeland.
"Our Legislative Council meets today to fulfill the will of our great nation that exercised its democratic right in an unprecedented model in the history of our nation, including its numerous holy sites.
"The policy of blockades, starvation, assassinations and detentions cannot break the will of the Palestinian people.
"I take this occasion to bestow great thanks and pleasure for all of these achievements and that of the elections, and for our brother and President Mahmoud Abbas. He created initiatives during a trying time in order to revive our people and the Fateh movement from a crisis of national identity within the confines of our current revolution.
"I also must thank the National Authority, and its security and civil institutions, along with thanking the first Legislative Council, and the Central Elections Commission and its crew.
"The noble deputies:
"I call on the new Legislative Council to put the issue of Jerusalem, its protection, its rescue, the support of its enterprises, a refusal and resistance of its Judaization atop the priorities. Whatever budget or work is required to save Palestine’s heart must be spent.
"The first task and the main criterion to the second Legislative Assembly is also the battle for freedom and independence for Palestine, an end to the Israeli occupation, the return of all refugees to their lands, and freedom for all prisoners.
"And the second task and that should be our in front of our eyes is that we achieve and maintain true Palestinian unity. This is not only for us here, but for our national homeland, the exiles, and our ability to democratically coexist. We must remember the holiness of Palestinian blood and it must never be shed among us.
"And the third task is to demand that our Council stand by its decision and right to resist until this occupation leaves. We must achieve our national rights and then we may stop resisting, but not until then. But we must be unified in this.
"The fourth task is to respect the basics, rules, facts, and conditions of the democratic political regime. This includes the Palestinian Basic Law and its application, working for public freedom of speech and information, women’s rights, freedom of opinion and belief, freedom of the press and the individual freedoms that the Basic Law reinforces.
"The fifth task is to guarantee a basic change in PA organizations and its civil institutions, and fight the management, financial, security, and political corruption, and judge the ones who have committed illegal acts, such as those who stole public funds."
"The sixth task which our nation faces is to establish law and order and end the security chaos which threatens Palestinian society and works against the national benefit.
"The seventh task is to reconstruct the national economy and to make it suitable for needed local, Arab, and international investment.
"The first step is to fight poverty and unemployment, and to ensure that when our children graduate from High School or University, that there are jobs available to them, despite Israeli closures and restrictions.
"The noble deputies:
"We aspire to creative cooperation between the deputies and the different blocs for the sake of achieving what our great nation, which granted us this privilege and confidence, want of us. We will not be arbitrary, which is a major obstacle for democracy. We will be fair and work as partners as we were raised to be: partners in the field, and partners in the Parliament."
"From my cell I heed that call to the venerable council that the year of 2006 is the year of liberation of all prisoners and detainees.
Marwan Al Barghouti
From Hadarim Prison / Cell Number 28."