Statement issued Nov. 24, 2007.

The Palestinian People’s Party Politburo held a meeting which discussed the current political developments and the American call to hold the international meeting in Annapolis. The Politburo decided at the conclusion of its deliberations that the criteria and position regarding the Annapolis Conference shall be determined based on the extent of the international community’s involvement in an active and effective role, to force Israel to reconsider its intransigent positions that reject launching a serious negotiations process leading to the end of the military and settlement occupation in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, including Jerusalem which is the capital of the future Palestinian state, and to find a just solution to the Palestinian refugees’ cause on the basis of UN Resolution 194.

The Palestinian People’s Party Politburo warned of attempts to transform Annapolis into an ordinary ceremonial meeting or a kind of tourist winter trip in Washington or an occasion to take a group photo and talk to each other. The Politburo also warned of attempts to use the meeting as an arena for free-of-charge “normalization” or a cover-up for Israeli aggressive and expansionist measures and schemes, including the policy of evasion and stalling and setting unfair security conditions on a just political settlement.

The Politburo affirmed its support for the Palestinian position in confronting Israeli pressure and dictates. The Politburo commended the position of the Arab foreign ministers who stressed their commitment to the terms of reference for the peace process, mainly the international legitimacy resolutions, in particular UN Resolutions 1515, 1397, 194 and the Arab Initiative, and who stressed that their presence in the Annapolis meeting comes in the context of those commitments and comes in order to support the Palestinian position towards launching a serious negotiations process that can lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the coming year.

The Politburo pointed out that the Israeli government continues to set impossible conditions in the path of a political settlement, leading to the failure of the previous negotiations and to the continuation of occupation and its measures, imposing new facts on the ground. This raises serious doubts about the chances of launching a serious negotiations process after Annapolis. The Israeli positions and measures also reveal the absence of a serious Israeli government commitment to discuss the core issues, especially the borders, Jerusalem, the settlements and the right of return for the displaced and refugees. The same applies to the issue of withdrawal from the Golan Heights and Shabaa Farms. Israel holds full responsibility for the current stalemate.

The Politburo stressed that Israel will not reconsider its policies and measures unless it is subjected to serious pressure that must be exercised by the Arab countries and the international community so that it abides by the international legitimacy resolutions and the terms of reference of the peace process. Israel needs such pressure for it to give up the policy of imposing new facts on the ground and the occupation’s unilateral solutions.

The Politburo said the activation of international solidarity and pressure campaigns on Israel are two necessary conditions to launch a serious negotiations process to end the occupation and to meet the aspirations of our people for liberation and independence. This requires a negotiations plan that starts with the halt of aggression, the freezing of all settlement activities and dismantling of the settlement outposts, the end of all land confiscation operations, opening bypass roads and the removal of military checkpoints. Such a plan needs supportive popular moves on the internal Palestinian front, in addition to concrete and effective Arab support and comprehensive international sponsorship.

The Politburo noted that this will reinforce the status of the Palestinian negotiator who needs to pose all the core issues, such as the borders, Jerusalem, the dismantling of settlements and the return of the refugees and displaced. The Palestinian negotiator needs to defend these issues with full force and needs to frustrate Israeli attempts and pressures, such as demanding recognition of Israel as a Jewish state or rejecting negotiations over Jerusalem, the refugees and full withdrawal and counting on the time factor to consolidate the new status quo.

The Politburo said preparing for the post-Annapolis phase is of no less importance, stressing the need to focus on the internal Palestinian front and reinforce Palestinian steadfastness and end the coup in Gaza as these are basic internal Palestinian tasks.

The Palestinian People’s Party Politburo called for the formation of an Arab-international committee to follow up the negotiations process and supervise it, exert pressure on Israel to meet its conditions and force Israel to abide by a specific timetable to conclude the negotiations.

The Politburo of the Palestinian People’s Party