AMMAN: Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday signed a presidential decree guaranteeing a minimum of seven parliamentary seats for Palestinians of Christian faith. Palestinians in the occupied territories should choose 132 lawmakers on the basis of proportional representation.
Former Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun told Arab News that the new legislative council must reflect the diversity of Palestinian society in order to include a plurality of Palestinians, saying: “The next elected council must reflect the experience. broadest national vision and representation of all of our society, including Palestinian women and Christians. “
Ramzi Khoury, head of the Senior Presidential Committee for Church Affairs, welcomed the move, saying it was the first time the quota was unlimited.
“The fact that the decree calls for a minimum of seven members is welcome as it gives Palestinians from all walks of life the opportunity to compete with the opportunity to elect more people than the minimum quota,” he said. at Arab News.
The Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, Sebastia Atallah Hanna, told Arab News Palestinians welcome the move.
“We generally want the next Palestinian Legislative Council to bring new blood, and we hope that they will be chosen on the basis of their qualifications and abilities.”
Nashat Filmon, director of the Palestinian Bible Society, said it was good to have guaranteed representation reflecting the Palestinian Christian presence in the cradle of Christianity.
“I would like the representatives in the Palestinian Legislative Council to focus on the living stones, the Christians of Palestine, and not just the physical stones which represent the history of Christianity in Palestine,” he told Arab News.
Ibrahim Daebes, former principal of a Christian school and leading columnist for the daily Al Quds, told Arab News that it was imperative that the new representatives act to reduce hate speech.
“Palestinian Christians face personal and religious persecution from all sides and it is important that the newly elected council draft a bill that can put an end to the radical elements in our society who spew hate speech and bigotry. religious to their Palestinian compatriots ”, he declared. .
Bernard Sabella, former member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, welcomed the President’s decision. “It’s a great decision because our experience is that the Palestinian electorate votes on the basis of geography and not nationality,” he said.
Sabella added that previous unsuccessful experience “forces us to have a new vision and a holistic plan that meets our needs. We need our representatives to represent their nation and not a religion.
He added, “We are at a political crossroads and we cannot live with the mindset of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. While respecting ideologies, we must rekindle international support for the Palestinian cause and put an end to the rhetoric that fails to cope with local and international realities. What we need instead is to seek to improve our steadfastness on the ground and to work for a state that will help us in this effort to stay on our lands.
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