Ramallah: The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is determined to go on with its non-violent public resistance, using all its capabilities to implement this strategy and enhance its projects all over the Palestinian territories, said a top Palestinian official.

Dr Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Prime Minister, said that none of the Palestinian lands within the 1967 borderlines are disputed territories. Instead they are all occupied lands on which the Palestinians will set up their independent state.

Dr Fayyad was speaking on Wednesday at the 6th Annual Bilin Conference on Palestinian Non-violent Resistance, which is named after the murdered Italian human rights activist Vittorio Arrigoni, and attended by several members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), including Israeli figures.

Dr Fayyad said the Palestinian non-violent resistance clearly shows the love of the Palestinian people for their land and way of life, and the sacrifices they are ready to make to preserve it. He said the non-violent resistance has become a key episode in the history of the Palestinians' struggle and quest for liberty and freedom.

The resistance has also proved how vehemently the Palestinians are against the Israeli occupation, with its segregation barrier, colonial activities, and daily aggression against the Palestinian people.

"The non-violent resistance has revived the Palestinian national struggle and separated it from terrorism," he said.

"This kind of resistance has opened up international doors for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and increased international sympathy towards the Palestinian cause," he said. "It has accomplished many successes on the ground and has become a national condition for the Palestinians, with the number of participants increasing daily.

"The PNA is ready for the creation of the Palestinian state but the continued Israeli military occupation is the only obstacle on the way to reaching that goal. It is time, therefore, for the international community to act and take solid steps to force Israel to stick to international law and international resolutions so that they end the occupation and pave the way for the creation of a Palestinian state."


A monument to the martyrs of the ISM


Dr. Fayyad announced that the PNA will set up a monument in the heart of the city of Ramallah in honour of Arrigoni, the murdered Italian human rights activist, as well as for many other martyrs of the ISM. The monument will later be moved to the eternal Palestinian capital of East Jerusalem.

He strongly condemned the murder of Arrigoni and denounced all attempts of some Islamic groups to use Islam as a cover for such brutal crimes.

A delegation from the Jordan Valley areas attended the conference and asked for a school to be set up in Al Uja town named after Arrigoni. Dr. Fayyad officially approved the demand. The delegation also announced the Friends Meeting House will be named after Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer in Rafah Camp of Gaza in 2003.

Cindy Corrie, Rachel's mother, told the conference that her court case against the Israeli Ministry of Defence was proceeding, with an indictment list to be announced shortly by the court in Haifa.

She has accused the Israeli Ministry of Defence of violating human rights, and said many Israeli activists were giving the Corrie family a helping hand with the court procedures.

Maxwell Gaylard, Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the conference that the PNA has been successful in all joint programmes and is ready for the setting up of a Palestinian state.

He added that Israel should give up its occupation of the Palestinian territories to give the Palestinians the chance to create their own state, and stressed that Israeli colonial activities in the Palestinian territories go totally against international law. Such activities should be halted, and the Palestinians and Israeli should resume their direct peace negotiations.

"We in the UN fully respect the Palestinian right to present their dissatisfaction in non-violent ways," he said. "We fully encourage the Palestinians to go on with their non-violent resistance to end the Israeli occupation of their lands and set up their viable state and secure the safety and security of the Palestinians," he said.

"The non-violent resistance is the real demonstration of the Palestinians' basic right to liberty and freedom. It is essential that Israel respects your right of non-violent resistance. We in the UN carefully monitor the peaceful demonstrations of the Palestinians," he said.



The Oliva launched in Gaza


Via a video conference from the Gaza Strip, the 6th Annual Bilin Conference on Palestinian Non-violent Resistance launched the "Oliva", a human rights monitoring boat, from the port of Gaza into Palestinian waters. International activists will accompany Palestinian fishermen and document violations committed by the Israeli marine forces.

Jaber Weshah, the Palestinian Coordinator of the Oliva from Gaza, told the conference that since the Israeli started their Operation Cast Lead, they have been restricting access to the sea for Palestinian fishermen and many of them have been killed by the Israelis forces.

Palestinian fishermen have been unilaterally confined by the Israelis to three nautical miles, whereas according to the Oslo Accord, a 20-mile limit was agreed upon.

Weshah said Arrigoni was one of the key activists working on the launch of the Oliva and was supposed to be a member of its crew. He asked the PNA to name Gaza Port after Arrigoni to honour his memory.