Fayyad: Freedom or Right to Vote

PA Prime Minister calls on Israel to give PA Arabs "freedom or right to vote", in what sounds almost a request for Israeli citizenship.

Elad Benari , | updated: 08:11

Fayyad, with Arafat on wall
Fayyad, with Arafat on wall
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority’s Prime Minister, publicly said on Friday that Israel should either give PA Arabs freedom or the right to vote, perhaps hinting that Israel should make PA Arabs full Israeli citizens.

According to a report in the PA-based Ma’an news agency, Fayyad made the comments during the weekly rally in the village of Bili'in, where PA Arabs and Israeli and international leftists have rioted nearly every Friday for years over the separation/security barrier which the IDF had set up in the area.

Ma’an reported that in his comments, Fayyad demanded either freedom or civil rights for PA Arabs and said Israel was no longer able to defend its “illegal occupation of Palestinian land,” adding the so-called occupation had become an “ethical burden.”

Fayyad also praised the “non-violent resistance movement,” saying: “The results of popular resistance may be slow, but they are guaranteed and the whole world is with us.”

Both Fayyad and PA President Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have made contradictory statements in the past over a third violent intifada, sometimes saying they oppose it and sometimes encouraging it.

Fayyad’s comments came as Israel began dismantling the Bili'in-area security/separation fence. The dismantling comes four years after the Supreme Court ordered the government to reroute the barrier and one year after an initial rerouting of the barrier.

Once dismantled, the IDF will rebuild the anti-terrorism barrier at a cost of some NIS 26 million, changing the territory belonging to the PA Arabs in the area.

Fayyad said in his comments that changing the route of the fence was the start of “the decline of the occupation which would eventually collapse.”

Meanwhile on Sunday, Palestinian Authority leadership officially decided that it will be turning to the UN General Assembly in September in order to achieve recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1949 armistice lines.

The decision was made during a meeting of PA leadership convened by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in his office in Ramallah.

Following the meeting, the PA leadership called in a statement on all countries to support its move, saying that it “encourages the efforts to resume negotiations” for peace with Israel.