The ministerial statement of the new government as read by
PM elect Ismail Hanieh in front of the PLC

March 27, 2006

The following is the unofficial translation of major excerpts of the ministerial statement:

In the name of God, the Compassionate and the Merciful,
We thank God and Peace be Upon the Prophet and all prophets and their followers,
Honorable brother Speaker of the PLC,
Honorable ambassadors and consuls and representatives of the countries and the international organizations,
Dear guests,
Dear audience,

I was hoping that this council would convene under better conditions and that we could meet all in Jerusalem, the capital of our independent Palestinian state, but this condition where the various parts of our homeland are fragmented gives a clear proof on the harshness and oppression of the occupation; we can see how the occupation is launching a vicious war against our unarmed people and we can see how they incite against their democratic choice and how the occupation insists on keeping the region in this vicious circle of this bloody conflict.

Your dignified council convenes today to witness the birth of a new Palestinian government which is the tenth government as the occupation and aggression continue and as the numbers of martyrs and injured increases along with the continuation of the policies of assassinations, arrests, and siege and the land confiscation and the construction of the apartheid wall and the Judaization of Jerusalem and the continuation of the digging works under the Blessed Aqsa Mosque and the continuous threats to break into it and the expansion of settlements and the schemes to annex the Jordan Valley and depriving our people from continuity even inside the Aqsa Mosque and this was consolidated through the transforming of Qalandia Checkpoint into a border crossing, and the occupation reached its climax in aggressions when they broke into Jericho Prison and abducted the strugglers Ahmad Sa'dat and Fouad Shobaki along with their detainee brothers there, resulting in number of martyrs and injured, in addition to the total destruction of the Muqata building which came as blatant violation to the signed agreements.

We are confident that the occupation is performing all these escalations to throw them in the face of the new government in order to send a message to the Palestinian people saying: "You made the wrong choice and you must be punished". This regretful position is taking place in front of the whole world and we warn of such policies. The great Palestinian people must not be punished because they exercised their right in choosing their leadership through free and democratic elections that were witnessed by the whole world which vouched for the integrity of the Palestinian elections, and all those who fall under the illusion that exerting economic pressure will weaken our government or will affect the steadfastness of our people are mistaken. This government will lead its people towards free and dignified life depending on God (We have nothing but to depend on God who led us in our path, and we will remain patient in front of all the harm and in God we trust verse from the Holy Quran)

We salute our martyrs, namely late president Yasser Arafat and Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, and Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantisi, and Dr. Fathi Shiqaqi and Comrade Abu Ali Mustafa, and Brother Abul Abbas, and we salute our injured people and our heroic detainees who are behind the bars in the occupation prisons and detention centers, and all support and appreciation to their patient families. We salute also our strugglers and the leaders of Palestinian national action in the various factions inside the prisons and we promise them as we promise all our male and female prisoners (Palestinians and Arabs) that we will not forget them and their sacrifices wont be wasted and we will work tirelessly to secure their release with dignity so that they can participate with us in achieving freedom to our people and in contributing with us in the process of the construction and building and development and reform and change.

We also salute and praise our great Palestinian people inside and abroad and inside the Diaspora camps and to our Palestinian communities all over the world.

Brother Speaker of the PLC,

My brothers and sisters members of the PLC,

I am pleased to present to your dignified council my program hoping that you grant my government the vote of confidence so that it can get started in implementing its program which it promised to its people to protect their higher national interests and to regain their stolen rights and to achieve security, prosperity and the aspired reform.

Before starting to talk about the major aspects of the government program, I am glad to extend to his Excellency Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), the President of the PNA and Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee, to whom we offer all respect for his leading role in holding the legislative elections and in reinforcing the pillars or Palestinian democracy. He made sure to protect the political pluralism, and the days that accompanied the recent Palestinian elections came with excellence and surprised the whole world and reflected the civilized image of the Palestinian people.

I would like to stress on our respect to the constitutional relation with Mr. President and its consolidation to serve the interests of our people and to protect their legitimate constants, with commitment to handle the policies and the positions through dialogue, cooperation, and continuous coordination between the Presidential institution and the government and the rest of the national institutions, mainly the PLO, on the basis of mutual respect and protection of the constitutional and functional authorities at all levels.

Allow me also to extend appreciation to our great people who granted us this high trust and confidence and who are holding high hopes on us. We promise that we won't disappoint you and that we will exert all efforts to alleviate the suffering of our people and achieve their aspirations in terms of freedom, independence, progress and prosperity.

These steadfast people who were creative in resisting the occupation and they were an example in sacrifice, patience and steadfastness and the creativity of our people will show God willing in the building and construction and in reinforcing the democratic choice which is supposed to constitute a model for all honest and free people in the world.

We also thank the heads and members of the previous governments and to the government of Ahmad Qurei' (Abul Ala) who expressed interest and cooperation towards smooth transfer of authority and in helping its various duties and we also thank the former ministers and PLC members and brother Rawhi Fattouh, the former PLC Speaker.

Brother Speaker of the PLC,

Dear brothers and sisters members of the PLC,

There are serious tasks that the government has to work on at the internal and external levels and performing these tasks requires diagnosing the past period and reading the reality in order to reinforce the successes and rectify the process.

The main challenges and issues and tasks that await our government are the following:

First, the occupation and its ugly measures against the land, the human being and the holy sites and the potentials.

Second, to provide security and end the chaos inside the Palestinian arena

Third, the hard and difficult economic conditions that the Palestinian people are suffering

Forth, reform and fighting administrative and financial corruption

Fifth, arranging the Palestinian internal front and formulating the Palestinian institution based on democratic principles that achieve political partnership

Sixth, to reinforce the status of the Palestinian cause in its Arab and Islamic depth

Seventh, to develop the relations with the regional and international surroundings in a manner that serves the higher interests of our people.

Having said that, we stress on the following:

First, to protect the right of our people in defending themselves in confronting the occupation and removing the settlements and the apartheid wall and to continue their struggle towards the establishment of the independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty with Jerusalem as its capital and to reject the partial solutions and the temporary borders and the status quo policy and any scheme that harms our rights and interests, such as the disengagement plan that aims to transform our homeland into cantons that will close the path in front of the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. We also stress that we cling to the right of the Palestinian refugees in return and compensation and we consider that as an individual and collective right that cannot be conceded and to work on liberating the prisoners and confront the occupation measures on the ground in terms of assassinations, arrests and incursions and to defend Jerusalem that is being subjected to the largest process of Judaization and to confront all attempts to annex the Jordan Valley and to expand the settlements, and we will also work on confronting the collective punishment measures and reject the occupation measures of seizing our funds.

Within this context, the government will deal with the agreements that were signed by the PLO and the PA with a high degree of responsibility and in a manner that serves the interests and constant rights of our people.

Moreover, the government and its specialized ministries will care for the interests and needs of our people and the mechanisms of movement that have direct contact with the occupation in all economic, commercial, health and labor aspects. The government will deal with the international resolutions that relate to the Palestinian cause with a high degree of national responsibility in a manner that protects the rights and national constants of our people.

Second, providing security to the citizens in their lives and properties and to protect the embassies and headquarters of the international institutions and those working inside them and our foreign guests. This is a task that cannot be postponed and we will deal with these issues with wisdom and firmness though the rule of the law and ethical values of our people and through responsible cooperation among the various forces of our people and there is no doubt that these security violations are not part of the behavior of our people who registered chapters of pride and dignity that is a source of pride for the nations of the earth and this of course requires handling these specific violations because they present a distorted image and causes harm to our national interests.

Within this context, the government will work on developing the performance of the security services and reinforce their role because they are responsible for protecting our people and their security and they are also responsible for the protection of the rule of the law and enforcing security and provide security to the citizen without violating the citizen's constitutional rights or humiliating the citizen's human dignity or interfering in the citizen's civil life.

Third, my government which adopts the strategy of reform affirms to your council and to our people who gave us their confidence and we say to all of you that we will remain loyal to this trust and the citizen will feel the work of the government through real achievements on the ground in the fields of administrative and financial reform through effective monitoring and cooperation with the PLC in issuing laws that reinforce reform and fight corruption.

The government will make sure it responds to the urgent needs of the citizen in the various fields through planning and initiative and in defining the priorities of spending and in launching creative initiatives and maintaining the utmost level of credibility and making use of the experiences of others in the field of institutionalizing the society and issues of democracy and human rights and public freedoms taking into consideration our Palestinian, Arab and Islamic unique case which also takes into consideration the political, social and historical realities of our people.

Within this framework, the government will seek to fight corruption and reinforce the values of integrity and transparency and moving away from exploiting public funds. We will give the matter of administrative development a social and societal dimension that establishes for a new concept. We are in need of formulating a societal Palestinian strategy towards administrative development and to adopt a sound working mechanism based on concepts of modern administration which will assist to implement this strategy according to the needs and requirements of the Palestinian society.

Fourth: the government which came through the democratic choice and free elections is committed to protect the Palestinian democracy and to maintain this democracy and peaceful and smooth transfer of authority and to consolidate political partnership and pluralism since this is the sound option to secure the soundness and stability of our political system.

We realize that reinforcing Shura (consultation) and democracy requires working on enforcing the rule of the law and getting rid of the tribal, family and partisan considerations so that we can reinforce the principle of equality among the citizens in rights and duties.

The government will work on protecting the constitutional rights of all citizens in a manner that honors and respects the rights and freedom of the Palestinian human being.

The government will also work to see the Palestinian woman assume the status that meets with its major sacrifices and that can secure for her participation in the decision making process in our ministries and national institutions.

The government promises to protect the rights of the citizen and reinforce the principle of citizenship without any discrimination on the basis of political belief or affiliation, and we will work together to fight political and job exclusion and we will end the injustice felt by the citizen as much as we can (my people, I banned injustice on myself and you are banned to exercise it on yourselves verse from the Holy Quran)

Building the state of law reinforces democracy in the Palestinian society and assists the support to their steadfastness in defending their rights and freedoms. The rule of the law gives the judiciary system the leading and basic role to secure that justice is achieved and to respect the human rights of the citizens and to defend their basic freedoms. Therefore, the members of the judiciary system and judges and attorney generals constitute an integral part of the work of the executive authority in reinforcing the rule of the law and reinforcing democracy and this requires the independence of the judiciary system and its performance with high degree of responsibility and professionalism. The independence of the law and its objectiveness and professionalism can allow the prevalence of security in the society and can constitute a safety valve to achieve justice.

Fifth: reforming the financial system and transferring all revenues of the PNA to the general treasury and reinforcing the principle of transparency and determining the priorities of spending are tasks that cannot be postponed and we seek to work on them as part of an integrated Palestinian economic vision and we will prepare ourselves for this in a good and creative manner and we will work within the following areas:

a- to work on securing a free dignified life for the citizen and maintain the legitimate gains that have been achieved and secure the payment of salaries of the employees and military personnel and civil servants and the financial allocations to the social affairs and the families of martyrs, prisoners and injured and the disabled.

b- to give priority to upgrading the national economy and set up policies and programs that can handle poverty and unemployment through reinforcing self potentials and promote productive economic sectors along with maintaining the support to the national products with all possible means, in addition to developing the economic and commercial relations with the Arab and Islamic world and encourage direct relations with the EU and the rest of the world.

c- to move to protect the consumer and promote the private sector and provide the appropriate atmosphere for its activities. Moreover, laying the sound regulations between the government work and its official institutions and the private sector institutions constitutes an important guarantee to attract investment into Palestine and the government will provide the proper atmosphere and climate of protection and stability for the investment projects.

Allow me from this podium to extend an appeal to the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic businessmen and I invite them to our homeland to explore the chances and opportunities of investment in the various fields and we promise them that we will offer all possible assistance and the investment climate and security and economic protection through legislating the proper laws, and we are looking forward to their participation and contribution in alleviating the suffering of our people and in supporting their just cause and in reducing the severity of the economic crisis so that they can contribute in finding jobs for the sectors of the youths, and male and female graduates.

We reiterate here that investment is one of the basic pillars of sustainable development and the donations and assistance won't achieve the goal although these are important at this phase one of the main priorities of our economic program is to encourage investment in Palestine. our government will be ready to discuss all details pertaining to the provision of the necessary guarantees needed for external investment and we say here that it is better to see the Palestinian national funds return to the homeland to contribute in activating the wheel of construction and development and our government will work on urging the financial institutions and banks working in Palestine to invest in deposits and funds inside Palestine and we will assist them in providing the best investment climate to achieve financial revenues.

We will provide two guarantees to all donors:

First: all funds to be offered to our people and PNA will go to the place to which they were allocated and will be spent on the projects and in the fields that will be adopted and financed and will go nowhere else.

Second: our government will provide all necessary guarantees and mechanisms to all donor countries to monitor the spending process and make sure that the money is spent in the right manner and in line with the plans, programs and projects.

I say here that the hasty statements and decisions issued following the elections, especially by the US Administration that threatened to halt the assistance to the Palestinian people are unjustified at all and do not serve stability in the region and we demand from the international community to reconsider its position towards the new government and respect the democratic choice of the Palestinian people and support their aspirations in freedom, independence and end of occupation and to redirect their pressure towards the occupying force instead of exerting pressure on the Palestinian people who are under the occupation.
The US Administration which calls for spread of democracy and respect of the options of peoples is called on to reinforce the Palestinian option and not besiege it through threats and it should honor its promise with regards to the establishment of the independent Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital.

Our government will work on holding sound and strong ties with the various countries of the world and with the international organizations including the UN, and the Security Council and the international organizations towards achieving world peace and stability. The EU has offered a lost of assistance to our Palestinian people and has supported their right in freedom and independence and has had serious positions in launching criticism to the polices of occupation; therefore, we are interested in a strong relation with the EU, but we expect from the EU to reconsider some of its policies in dealing with the conflict in the region and we expect from the EU a larger role in exerting pressure on the occupation authorities to withdraw their troops from the occupied Palestinian territories and in ending the repeated aggression against our people.

Our government is waiting from the international community, especially the Quartet Committee, to side with the values of justice and fairness in order to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region and not be biased to any party at the expense of another party and to stop threatening to impose sanctions on the Palestinian people because of their democratic choice. The government praised the position of Russia in the Quartet Committee which chose the path of dialogue instead of the language of threats and our government is ready to hold dialogue with the International Quartet Committee and seek all means to end the conflict and establish calm in the region.

Our message to the world on this day is that it is high time to establish justice with regards to the Palestinian cause and regain the rights and end the injustice against the Palestinian people for the last six decades and our people are the people with the strongest need for peace, security and stability. Our government will exert all possible efforts to achieve a just peace in the region and a peace that can end the occupation and regain the rights; we have never been lovers of war or terrorism or bloodshed.

Allow me to read the names of the members of my government:

1- PM and Minister of Youth and Sports Ismail Abdul Salam Ahmad Hanieh

2- Deputy PM and Education and Higher Education Minister Nasser Eddin Mohammed Ahmad al-Sha'er

3- Finance Minister Omar Mahmoud Matar Abdul Razeq

4- Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahmoud Khaled al-Zahhar al-Zahhar

5- Minister of Interior and National Security Saeed Mohammed Sha'ban Siam

6- Minister of Justice Ahmad Abdul Hamid Mubarak al-Khaldi

7- Culture Minister Atallah Abdul Al Mohammed al-Sabeh

8- Information Minister Yousef Musa Mohammed Rizqa

9- Health Minister Basem Naim Mohammed Naim

10- Planning Minister Samir Abdullah Saleh Abu Eisheh

11- Local Governance Minister Issa Khairi Issa al-Ja'bari

12- National Economy Minister Allaedin Mohammed Hussein al-'Araj

13- Minister of Public Works and Housing Abdul Rahman Fahmi Abdul Rahman Zeidan

14- Transportation Minister Ziad Shokri Abed Rabbo Thatha

15- Telecommunication and Technology Minister Jamal Naji Shehadeh al-Khudari

16- Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs Nayef Mahmoud Mohammed al-Rjoob

17- Minister of Agriculture Mohammed Ramdan Mohammed al-Agha

18- Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Joudeh George Joudeh Morqos

19- Minister of Labor Mohammed Ibrahim Musa al-Barghouthi

20- Minister of Social Affairs Fakhri Fahed Musa Turkman

21- Minister of Prisoners and liberated Affairs Wasfi Mustafa Izzat Qabha

22- Minister of Women Affairs Mariam Mahmoud Hasan Saleh

23- State Minister Atef Ibrahim Mohammed Udwan

24 State Minister Khaled Ibrahim Ishaq Abu Arafeh

Chief of the Cabinet Mohammed Awad