By Khaled Abu Toameh, September 2, 2004.
Comment of the Likud of Holland: this article gives a good picture of
how the Arafat dictatorship makes democracy impossible.
The Palestinian Legislative Council Wednesday
stepped up its pressure on Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to
implement long-awaited reforms by suspending its sessions for one month.
The move is regarded as a serious embarrassment for Arafat, who is under
heavy pressure to make real changes and fight corruption.
PLC Speaker Rouhi Fatouh announced that all open sessions will be suspended
between September 7 and October 7 to protest against Arafat’s refusal to sign
12 laws passed by the council and calling for major financial and security
reforms in the PA.
“The council has decided to suspend its open sessions waiting for the
executive authority to approve its laws and decisions,” Fatouh told reporters in
Ramallah. “We are worried because no one is taking the council’s decisions
seriously,” he added.
The PLC was planning to suspend its activities last month, but called off the
decision after Arafat promised to implement reforms and put an end to
Palestinian legislators said they are frustrated with Arafat’s “empty promises”
to the council and threatened to escalate their campaign after the one-month
strike. Some legislators are pushing for a collective resignation of all the PLC
members if Arafat refuses to comply.
“Arafat is not serious about reforms,” one legislator told The Jerusalem Post.
“He doesn’t want to share powers with anyone or get rid of the corrupt officials
around him. Who needs a parliament under such circumstances?”
Another legislator complained that Arafat is treating the PLC members as if they
were his subordinates. “He believes the council’s role should be a rubber stamp
for his decisions and policies. He wants us to behave as if we are on his
Last month, the PLC voted 31-12 in favor of a report by a 14-member
parliamentary committee entrusted with overseeing the implementation of
reforms in the PA.
The report calls for the prime minister and interior minister to be
empowered to revamp dozen or so PA security forces and make them
answerable to the cabinet.
It also calls for new elections to pave the way for representatives of the
young guard among the Palestinians to replace veteran and corrupt officials.
In a speech before the council two weeks ago, Arafat admitted to “mistakes”
and voiced support in principle for reforms. However, he has refused to sign a
“presidential decree” to ratify the council’s laws, arguing that his speech is
Some reform-minded legislators complained during Wednesday’s session that
the PA-controlled media is imposing a blackout on their activities and
Legislator Jamileh Saydam accused the Palestinian media of bias toward the
PLC activities, saying only a limited number of her colleagues are receiving
Fatouh told the council that he agreed with the complaint and that he
too is being discriminated against by the Palestinian media.
Legislator Mufid Abed Rabbo said the Palestinian media are involved in an
attempt to prevent the views of the council members from reaching the public.
Legislator Abdel Jawad Saleh condemned the media restrictions as a
violation of basic human rights. “This is a crime against our people,” he said. “It
is designed to prevent the people from learning about the various views in the