83 Palestinian MPs voted Saturday for the Palestinian unity government, agreed upon over the weekend, while only 3 others voted against.

83 Palestinian MPs voted Saturday for the Palestinian unity government, agreed upon over the weekend, while only 3 others voted against.

Both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya, voiced Saturday their adherence to the international legitimacy with respect to the Palestinian-Israeli resolution.

The two leaders were speaking before the Palestinian Legislative Council’s session for vote on the new Palestinian national unity government, agreed upon over the weekend.

President Abbas called on the international community to lift the siege which has been imposed on the Palestinian people since last March, asserting that the new government deal marks a new era , which is ‘national unity’.

The President called on the Arab States league to work out possible mechanisms to implement the Arab peace initiative of 2002, ahead of the league’s summit meeting, slated late in March.

As for violence, which is one of the Quartet’s issues, Abbas stressed that the Palestinian people dismiss all forms of violence, assuring that he would employ all possible means at his disposal to release Israeli soldier Gila’d Shalit, captured last June in Gaza.

Abbas also voiced opposition to provisional solutions for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, extending his hand to Israel for a comprehensive just peace, based on international legitimacy.

At the domestic level, Abbas emphasized willingness to embark on social, economic and educational reforms.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, from his part, began his speech by hailing the Makkah deal that produced the first ever Palestinian coalition government, denouncing the Israeli detention of about 40 PLC members and politicians since last summer.

Citing his new cabinet’s platform, PM Haniya maintained that the key to security in the region is the end of Israeli occupation, jointly with Israeli recognition of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

Haniya affirmed that the would-be government would exert efforts, in coordination with the Arab states, to restore the Palestinians’ legitimate rights. This would include a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital on the 1967 borders as well as the return of Palestinian refugees to their homeland of historical Palestine, in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolution 194.

The Palestinian premier reiterated the Palestinian people’s right to all forms of resisting the Israeli occupation including the popular resistance.

He also expressed willingness to work on extending the current truce with Israel in Gaza to the West Bank and preserving the Palestinian national interests, in conformity with the
prisoners’ conciliation document, drafted several months ago by representatives of Palestinian prisoners in the various Israeli jails

Haniya also confirmed that negotiations with Israel are solely the responsibility of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The new cabinet members, including members of both Hamas and Fatah, will be sworn in later on Saturday before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza, while those in the West Bank will be sworn in tomorrow in Ramallah.