Six million Palestinians exiled in Arab states, Europe, the Americas and elsewhere, and Palestinian citizens of Israel, have remained stripped of their right to participate in Palestinian democratic decision making and are denied their right to return. (Arjan El Fassed)
Symbolic elections to the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the PLO’s exile parliament, will be held by Palestinian communities in Paris and Brussels on 25 January parallel to the Palestinian Authority’s second round of elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in the Israeli occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip (OPT). The symbolic elections aim to raise public awareness of the exclusion of over half of the Palestinian people from the internationally-sponsored process of Palestinian political decision making applied under the terms of the Madrid-Oslo agreements between Israel and the PLO.
The symbolic elections are an initiative launched by the global Palestine Right of Return Coalition and express the demand of the Palestinian exile for political participation, their right to return to homes and properties located in Israel and the 1967 OPT, and their right to self-determination under international law.
Palestinians in France are invited to cast their symbolic vote on Wednesday, 25 January, 10:00 - 17:00, in front of the Paris office of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), 9 Kepler Street.
Members of Palestinian exile communities and Right-of-Return Committees living in other European countries are called to case their vote at the same time in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
Paris and Brussels election events are organized by the Palestine Right-of-Return Confederation-Europe. International supporters of the Palestinian people, individuals and organizations concerned with building democracies worldwide, and the media are invited to join.
Participants in the symbolic elections will sign onto a petition, “Elections, Democracy and Right of Return for Palestinian Refugees,” which explains:
“On 25 January 2006, some 1.8 million Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, including eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip will have the right to vote for their candidates to the Palestinian Legislative Council, the parliament of the Palestinian Authority set up under the 1993 Oslo Accords.”  However, some 6 million Palestinians exiled in Arab states, Europe, the Americas and elsewhere, and Palestinian citizens of Israel, have remained stripped of their right to participate in Palestinian democratic decision making and are denied their right to return.” Prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, the PLO and its Palestinian National Council represented all of the Palestinian people in Palestine and in exile and were the sole institutions for political guidance and sovereign decisions of the national liberation movement.”
The petition concludes with a call for the implementation of Palestinian refugees’ right of return under international law and states, “We reclaim our right to vote for our representatives in the Palestinian National Council, the sovereign assembly of the PLO, our sole and legitimate representative.”