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Friday, October 19, 2007

Palestinian Authority supports Onevoice effort

Better late than never... It is strange that other reports of this press conference did not note these remarks.
Ami Isseroff

Press Release
President Abbas Affirms OneVoice Mandate
Corresponds with his Platform
Saeb Erekat Explains OneVoice Palestine's Goals Align with President's Vision for Palestinian State
Singer Ilham Al Madfai Denounces False Reports, Emphatically Supports OneVoice
Ramallah – 18/10/2007 – In a press conference today, Dr. Saeb Erekat, Chief Palestinian Negotiator and Spokesperson of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, explained that President Mahmoud Abbas asked him to clarify that OneVoice Palestine is a non-governmental organization committed to upholding the vision of President Abbas. Dr. Erekat delivered his remarks in a press briefing on the recent visit of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Middle East.
"The president would like to say that OneVoice organization is an NGO that has every right to work," said Dr. Erekat.  Erakat explained the organization had sent invitations to a OneVoice Summit under the auspices of the President without receiving an official endorsement, but added that the OneVoice "political program, after Abu Mazen read it, reflects the President's platform and the Palestinian objectives." 
Erakat added, "[President Abbas] would like to reiterate his full support to those NGOs and civil society organizations that work for democracy, a culture of peace, and ending occupation on the basis of a two-state solution."
Dr. Erakat explained that a lot of "misleading information" had been provided about OneVoice.  He said contrary to what was widely spread, "[President Abbas] read the document of OneVoice and this document corresponds with his political program of ending the occupation that began in 1967 by having two states: a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital next to an Israeli state along the 67 borders and solving the issues reserved  to the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, borders, refugees and settlements consistent with  relevance to the security council international resolutions."
Today, renowned Iraqi recording artist, Ilham al Madfai, also re-affirmed his support for OneVoice, contrary to reports circulating that he had pulled out of the October 18th Summit in Jericho. "I have been very clear to all those who have been calling that I regretted not being able to participate in OneVoice Palestine's effort to raise the voice of the Palestinian people for an end to the occupation, and for peace in the region." Mr. Madfai added, "I call upon all boycott groups to stop threatening and intimidating artists and to respect the freedom of all."
Mr. Madfai explained he had received a lot of "threatening phone calls and warnings" from groups opposed to his visit but he cherished the day when all logistical and travel challenges, including procuring visas for al his crew and band, could be resolved to enable him "to sing with the Palestinian people and with the people of the world, a song of peace, justice, dignity, respect, and hope."
OneVoice Palestine is part of a movement of ordinary citizens that now surpasses 600,000 signatories not just in Palestine and the Arab world, but with citizens in solidarity across America, Europe and Israel, who agree on the imperative of ending the conflict and propelling and supporting their Heads of State to immediately commence negotiations, uninterrupted till the conclusion of a two state agreement.  The international movement does not take specific positions on the agreement that the Heads of State must deliver, emphasizing that is a duty of the political representatives, but it does empower citizens to propel and support their Heads of State towards the negotiating table.  In efforts to mobilize the moderate majority in Palestine and Israel, the OneVoice Movement has trained over 3,000 Palestinian and Israeli youth leaders.  Specifically, OneVoice Palestine has trained 1,800 Palestinian youth leaders and has offices in Gaza and Ramallah.
OneVoice Palestine's Honorary Board includes the Chief Islamic Justice, Sheikh Taysir al Tamimi, the son of President Abbas, Yasser Mahmoud Abbas, Dr. Saeb Erakat, and a dozen more Palestinian dignitaries, scholars, and religious leaders.
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