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Change is the only constant in the history of humankind. Arabs, without global change, will remain outside of the new History
Hawatmeh in dialogue with the Iraqi satellite channel "Al-Taghier" in the program "Facing Change"
By: Ismail Al-Janabi*
November 19, 2013

 

Is the Palestinian cause included among those for which the international community could not find a solution? It is no secret for anyone that the Palestinian cause lost its priority in Arab and international agendas since the beginning of the “Arab Spring”, a fact of which “Israel” took advantage in order to achieve a greater Judaization of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. Are we now perhaps facing a “destructive chaos” planned by the West for a new partition of the region with a view to establish a greater control over it, and to make the State of Israel the sole beneficiary after the Sykes-Picot Agreement lost effect and turned obsolete…? Was the West able to take the reins of those revolutions and to divert them from their natural course, and make virulent confessional and sectarian struggles explode among the sons of one and the same people? Did the Palestinian cause and Jerusalem cease to occupy a place in the Arab arena since the explosion of the “Arab Spring?
Those are questions that I pose to our guest, the great Arab fighter, Secretary General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Nayef Hawatmeh. Welcome to our program “Facing Change”.

Hawatmeh: Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to meet with the public opinion of Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and other Arab countries, and with the whole audience of this tribune. My greetings to all, and I tell you that certainly difficulties are there and we must find solutions for them.

Q 1: During six decades, the Palestinian cause went through very difficult stages. You have been one of the major locomotives of the Palestinian case, and there are those who see in you the Philosopher of the Palestinian cause. How do you see the future of the Palestinian cause within the framework of this struggle, especially in the midst of the so-called Arab revolutions?

A 1: In any case and under whatever change, I tell our Palestinian people and our Arab peoples, as well as all freedom-loving and peace-loving peoples in the Middle East, and also world public opinion, that now, and after these six decades of difficulties and problems, a new route has been traced for the Revolution and the Palestinian people, since the beginning of the nineteen-seventies of the past century, and above all after the setback of June 1967. We have presented a new National Program, starting out from the need to find the echeloned solution of the Palestinian cause. I have taken the initiative to propose it, under the flags of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, of the Palestinian Revolution and of the struggles of the Arab Movement of Liberation and Progress, and even before the war of October 1973. The program triumphed, and was approved by unanimity in the PLO National Council. It is an alternative program that enounces: We are struggling, at this stage, for the right of the people to self-determination.

In this, our situation is the same of any people of the world that faces colonization, that is subjected to colonial domination and to a colonizer. It is the right of the Palestinian people to an independent state, the capital of which is Jerusalem, occupied since 1967. It is the right of refugees to return to their homes in the framework of a balanced political arrangement at this stage and by virtue of resolutions of international law, and Resolution 194. This solution that we have proposed was admitted by unanimity for the Palestinian people. That is the reason why I say that the Palestinian people and their national rights cannot and can never be overlooked. Now, recently, on 29 November 2012, we have managed to extract an international resolution that acknowledges those rights, which was supported by all the states of the world, except –of course— the most powerful state, the United States of America, together with Israel. From there on we must build on this base, and thus one cannot ignore the Palestinian people after the strategic achievements such as the recovery of their Palestinian personality, entity and identity that had been submerged in oblivion since the great national catastrophe of 1948. Now, the Palestinian national rights cannot be ignored, whatever happens in the Middle East, the Arab region and the world.

Q 2: Does this mean that over six decades, this is the only achievement won for Palestine… On the opposite side are lined up the divisions within Arab society, the fact that “Israel” insisted on taking advantage to push ahead with the Judaization of Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem. Comparing with this period of time, we see that the Palestinian cause is in a stationary state, while “Israelis” are the ones that make progress and push forward at gigantic paces?

A 2: We and the Arab peoples have been reaping the bitter fruits of the developments that took place in the Arab scenario as a consequence of the fact that politics betrayed the armed wing of Arab armies, and in the first place those of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the Palestinian Revolution that have had an extraordinary and creative performance. After their military exploit, they were betrayed at the hands of the political leaderships that have always been the target of our criticisms, and in particular the revisionist attitude of Sadat, pursuing bilateral solutions far away from a global Arab arrangement of all the matters of the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli struggles. Later on, the three arbitrary Gulf Wars staged by Saddam neutralized those Arab potentials for Arab armies of the Frontline, that is, those of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Palestine, besides cancelling the role that the Gulf area can display. All this derived into a spiral of deterioration, divisions and inter-Arab struggles, the fruits of which were reaped by Israel to our detriment.

Q 3: We will be retaking a term mentioned by you, that the Gulf Wars led by Saddam Hussein are the ones that weakened the Arab Cause. However, Iraq was facing the dilemma that Iran would invade Iraq and the whole Gulf, or that Iraq might turn into a thorn in the light of this challenge. Nevertheless, during the eight-year war –that caused destruction, death and cost financial resources— Iraq was able to prevent the Iranians from controlling Iraq and the Gulf region. We go back to the state of things after 1990, there was perhaps a mistake of the leadership or a revolutionary mistake? This is what the coming days will tell us, but even so, did Arab countries take part in the foreign aggression that invaded Iraq?

A 3: In the First Gulf War, Khomeini’s Iran could not militarily penetrate the borders, not even to go into Iraqi territory nor that of the Gulf. That was possible because the army inherited by Khomeini was destined to be dismembered, the total collapse. Iran found itself in the midst of actions of physical liquidation and sentences to firing squads for the former generals of the imperial army that had been inherited. It would have been possible to achieve arrangements by other ways, political paths that would protect Iraq and the whole region. Things happened, however, as they did, and they concluded with the return to the much too-well known Shat Al-Arab Agreement between Iraq and Iran. After all this, things might have well taken another course, mainly that Gulf countries and the international milieus would have backed Baghdad to avoid the expansion of Khomeinism beyond Iranian borders.

I say it very clearly here. It was possible that those who took part in the First Gulf War would have reached an understanding with respect to questions that came up later on. Here I say it again, that the Iraqi leadership had to do much more to rectify the way of governing and its individual dictatorial and totalitarian policies. Those policies did not leave room for the participation of the Iraqi people and the other peoples of the Gulf. I am not saying this here for the first time, I already said it publicly during the daily developments of the Middle East, and I said this directly to Saddam Hussein in more than one meeting that we had. Even Tarek Aziz was with us in one of the big encounters we had after Iraqi troops went into Kuwait. I had found him on one previous occasion and we had a long conversation. I wish to say that numerous political errors were accumulating. Ezzat Al-Duri, a few weeks back, referred to this in a communiqué on the opportunity of the anniversary of the Iraqi army, saying that “the Iraqi leadership found itself in a trap”, and he also said that “if it were not for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, Iraq would not have triumphed in the II Qadesiah Battle”, ¡¡¿But he gave no more details as to how they fell into a trap, nor who dragged them into it…?!!.

With this I wish to say that there are political mistakes that should be researched with precision and presented publicly to the Iraqi people. Unfortunately, those who came afterwards threw all of this into oblivion instead of opening every record in front of intellectuals and national-democrats, who long for a unified, progressive and democratic Iraq. They did not revise Iraqi policies before and after the US invasion, so the spilling of blood continues until today. These revisions should have led to the unification of the ranks on new bases and under an enormous slogan: protagonists, sons of the Iraqi people, of every confession and discipline; all those who support a civic and democratic Iraqi state should unite to save themselves from the sword of confessionalism and to work for a new and democratic Iraq instead of the destruction and the blood of a partition of power in confessional and sectarian quotas, and the loss of a national, Arab and regional role for Iraq.

Q 4: Since we have gone beyond the context of the Palestinian cause and to speak of the Iraqi situation, and you honour us with your presence in a channel of passionate Iraq, What is the position that Iraq occupies for you, Mr. Nayef, and how do you see the political future of Iraq and that of the region in general?

A 4: Many of the sons of Iraq, and of their fighters inside and outside the country, know well my opinion about Iraq and the role that it can play. We speak from the national call (in Syria, my people; and in Bagdad my passion) and I have thus spent five years of my life in Iraq, in the underground, in the Nationalist Movement, that comprehended all the nationalist fighting tendencies. I was very closely familiarized with Iraq and its people (Arabs and Kurds); history, politics and culture. I was a prisoner in their jails. In the final stage of government of Abdel-Karim Qassem, a death penalty was issued against me and later on against the comrades of the struggle that I found in jails and in the scenarios of struggle. That is why what is going on in Iraq causes a great pain for me, and it will continue to cause pain because of the situation being experienced by its people. That is why I see in Iraq the main nucleus of the Eastern Front of the Arab struggle against the Israeli occupation and to find a solution to the questions of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, since the struggle is not only between Palestinians and Israelis, and a proof of this are the bombing of the Iraqi nuclear facility, the war of 1967 and the occupation by Israel of the Sinai, the Golan Heights and the Palestinian territories in 1967. I say that Iraq has a big (absent) role to which it should aspire. At this time, the new democratic project of renaissance does not exist, and for it to exist all the currents, national democratic advanced and modern classes, must ally to save the country of the government partitioned between confessional groups and to uphold the premises of a new democratic Iraq for all the sons of Iraq, on the basis of citizens’ equality and not on an ethnic basis or on the distribution of power by quotas, according to religions, the confessional community or sect.

That is, a new Iraq demands critical logic to learn the lessons and morals of all the mistakes committed with a view to recover its role of building the Iraq of democracy, social justice, citizens’ equality, and to recover its Arab, regional and international role. The place of Iraq continues to be empty. No one represents its role in the struggles of the Middle East, particularly in those of the Gulf and the Palestinian cause. All this is very possible, but the sine qua non condition is the salvage of the system of power constituted by quotas of a confessional, disciplinary or ethnic nature… and towards a new democratic, national, progressive and forward-looking Iraq.

Q 5: Going back to the topic of the Palestinian cause, there are those who ask: Is it possible for this cycle, this period, to finish, and for Palestine to achieve what it dreamed and seemed to evaporate? Could all this time be summarized for the Palestinian cause to achieve better conditions than those that it has at the present time?

A5: This was possible, and on more than one occasion. A proof of this is the War of October 1973. The Arab military performance was magnificent and extraordinary. The Egyptian forces rapidly crossed the Suez Canal, destroyed the Barlev defensive line and penetrated 10-15 km. The following day exploded the struggle between the military chiefs and Sadat. The military chiefs suggested the need to rapidly advance towards the passes (Mitla and Gidi*). The Israeli army crumbles and the whole of the Sinai and the Gaza Strip are recovered, that is, a return to the situation of 4 June 1967. Nevertheless, Sadat waged a war with a depth of 10-15 km, and this led to falls later on, in particular when the advance of the Egyptian army was stopped. Israel called on its reserve, some 600 thousand soldiers; in the following 48 hours since the beginning of the war, 200 thousand more, the total figure of their army, that is, 800 thousand, were already at the combat fronts. It was possible to eliminate the sequels of the 1967 war with the results of the 1973 war. The creation of a new Arab Eastern Front was possible, immediately after the revisionist attitude of Sadat towards a partial bilateral solution, forming a front integrated by Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the Palestinian revolution; most of all Iraq, because of what it possessed in the form of experiences and resources in the military sphere. But also this never happened. The dismemberment persisted and the Arab situation deteriorated in an accelerated way. Sadat went for a bilateral arrangement, allowing all the pressure to begin to be felt on all the Arab countries, and on us Palestinians. They thus told us: “Arabs, you have lost the war”, while the Arabs fought in an excellent manner and were united in the field of the weapon of weapons and the weapon of oil, for the first time in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. But it all resulted in political disappointment.

Q 6: This political betrayal came from a determined party or from more than one party?

A 6: The main political betrayal came from Sadat and it weakened the Arab capabilities. In 1979 the Arab Summit was held in Baghdad, the Summit of “Arab solidarity”, in which resources were dedicated to strengthen the potentials of Iraq, of the Syrian and Jordanian armies, and of the Palestinian Revolution, after having lost the efforts of the Egyptian people and army. These pressures were promoted by “Israel” and the United States, and at the hands of various Arab countries, and this led us to the Madrid Conference under “Israeli” conditions and with a North American support, in one way or the other, for these conditions. And so things have been gradually deteriorating, leading Arafat to break the consensus of the Palestinian National Council around the six points of the conditions of the Council unanimously approved in order to negotiate in “the Peace Conference” in Madrid, with the participation of Washington. The Palestinian delegation, headed by Dr. Haidar Abdel-Shafi, played an invaluable role, but Arafat turned his back to the Washington negotiations and arranged secret negotiations that led to the Oslo Agreements and to all of its sequels to this day.

As you know, the DFLP led the struggle from a position of confrontation vis-a-vis the Oslo Agreements. We have argued in favour of negotiations of a new type, based on UN Resolutions and on International Law, and not on the basis of partial steps. (I propose, in order to know the facts, the places and, with names and surnames, to consult Hawatmeh’s book Oslo and the Other Balanced Peace and the book Beyond Oslo… Wither Palestine?)

Q 7: The lack of political will, a phrase repeated with respect to the attitude of Arab politicians, is the cause of Arab problems and of the weakening of our major cause: the Palestinian cause… Why is it that this political will does not exist, if we, as Arabs, believe in the same cause?

A 7: Precisely, political will, with its different forms, has been absent, just as we have pointed out. I have given a tangible example, the October War, the fortieth anniversary of which we are celebrating today.

Political will is absent because of the very nature of Arab regimes, that demands to be submitted to study and analysis. Those regimes, most of them, are of a conservative rightwing nature that depends on a social, political and class alliance formed by the forces of aristocracy, the forces of political feudalism in Arab countries and capital, that is, the alliance of power and capital. Therefore, all those governments have been under the North American agenda during the Cold War, involved in the war against the forces of progress, democracy and modernity, inside each of the Arab countries. That is why we were betrayed and forsaken by those governments that you brand as regimes without political will, and this is true, because they did not build a true Arab solidarity to mobilize all the potentials in the correct frameworks and directions within each Arab country, and on the nationalist path with a unified project.

Q 8: The lack of political will among the Arab statesmen also reflected on the Palestinian case. Today the Palestinian cause is experiencing a great maelstrom. Divisions and the lack of a clear vision exist. Each one wants to push things in their favour and to accommodate them to their interests, so the cause has been confined in the Palestinian framework itself. What is the cause of this dispute?

A 8: This division has been blamed for various allegations, among them big political differences exist, and that a controversy exists between two great projects: the political project that is based on negotiations, and the other project, that of resistance.

We are with resistance and with politics, because every revolution in the world struggled and negotiated. You must combine the military struggle with the political struggle. We will not support negotiations without a policy approved by national unanimity. National unanimity consists in self-determination, an independent state within the borders of June 4 1967, with occupied Jerusalem as its capital, the right of refugees to return to their homes. This is the political and legal framework that we have approved in a collective manner and that received the unanimous support of Arab countries and of the world. With this project we have joined the United Nations and we have received recognitions. However, this project was broken by the policy of going to Oslo and the other partial steps adopted afterwards. The present-day division responds to two main reasons:

1- The interests of certain leaders within Al-Fatah have grown; personal, material, financial, moral interests and also interests of petty leadership. At the same time, interests have grown within Hamas. This factor aborts and deactivates the Joint Program of National Unity, the program of May 4 2011 and all the understandings of national unanimity of February 2013 at Cairo.

2- On the other hand, and as you well know, there are divided Arab, Middle Eastern and international axes. A part of them supports the Palestinian National Authority that Al-Fatah administrates, among them the donor countries and other foreign countries. Another part supports Hamas, such as Syria and Iran. The goal is to promote divisions among us, because each of these countries watches over, looks over its own interests and does not take into account the common national interests, the common Arab interests that unite us and are represented by the decisions of the Arab summits. There is not even one Arab country that might have been profoundly faithful to the decisions of the Arab summits or to the Palestinian national project around which we have been united by consensus, since the Rabat summit of 1974, approved by the United Nations since 1974. Therefore, we must once again firstly debate the internal Palestinian situation, and in the second place, the Arab situation. This is the case of Iraqis also. They must firstly discuss the internal situation in Iraq, and after, the Arab situation, the Arab national situation in general so that each part can unite forces to positively influence the course of events.

Q 9: Was it this state of things that enormously played in favour of Israel? Is it that the plague of divisionism in the Arab scenario spilled into the Palestinian back yard? Does the Palestinian home suffers and is afflicted by these divisions, while Israelis are united in their aggressiveness against Palestinians and against Arabs in general?

A 9: Yes, that is true. Although “Israel” is made up of over 100 ethnic roots from Poland, Russia, Ukraine, the United States, etc., it is united by a unified project, that of building a great regional Israeli state, a colonialist, Zionist, expansionist Project based on the Judaization of the Palestinian territories and the annexation of all that they can of the Palestinian land, apart from their attempts to annex territories of the Golan. Besides, they also had ambitions in the Sinai and, therefore, the Israelis have their project. On the other hand, the Palestinian division is the product of selfish, sectarian, individual group-leadership interests within Al-Fatah and Hamas. In addition to all of this, the inter-Arab divisions and the divisions in the Middle East are latent, as well as the divisions at world level. Therefore, the major winner is Israel, and the major loser are the Arab national rights and the national rights of the Palestinian people.

We, the democratic forces, we have forced Al-Fatah and Hamas to attend the global dialogue on four opportunities. Through the global dialogue, we have implemented a new program in 2005, then again in 2006 and later on in 2009 and the last one in 2011 at Cairo –after the popular uprising in Cairo- and afterwards we have modified and developed this last program in February 2013. Why is it that they all remain without effect and are not materialized in practice? Because of the two reasons that I mentioned: firstly, the particular interests of the Al-Fatah and Hamas leadership; and, second, because of the divisions at the Arab and regional Middle Eastern levels, that revolve around this or this other axis.

Q 10: Ten years have already gone by since we began to hear the term Road Map. Unfortunately, we have found no road that would take us to Palestine, nor a map to point the way?

A 10: It refers to the Road Map presented in 2003. In those days a summit was held in Aqaba, Jordan, attended by Bush Jr, King Abdullah II, Abu Mazen and Sharon, with the premise of arriving at an arrangement before June 2005. The International Quartet (the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations) presented, in their turn, a Road Map in which they commit themselves to seek a global political arrangement on the basis of the maximum stipulations of June 2005. Again I tell you that the promises of the International Quartet, the promises of the United States, have become biased. Why? Because, in the first place, there is a lack of union at a Palestinian level and, in the second place, the Arab situation suffered a greater level of deterioration; and all of this means winnings for Israel. Therefore, in order to see ourselves facing a serious Road Map, we have taken only one step towards the United Nations, on November 29, 2012, and we obtained a resolution with the support of a majority of 179 states, among them three permanent members of the Security Council (France, Russia and China) and a fourth permanent member country (Great Britain) abstained, a fact that is also in our favour. We obtained the support of all the European Union, except the Czech Republic. It is regrettable that the Czech Republic pretends to move their diplomatic headquarters from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem before the achievement of a political arrangement.

That is why I, again, say that, for it to be possible to reach a result, we have snatched away this resolution which, after 65 years of the resolution of the division of Palestine, acknowledges, for the first time, a Palestinian State within the borders of July 4 1967 and with Jerusalem as its capital, the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes by virtue of Resolution 194, and that the PLO would represent all the Palestinians, because the Palestinian state only represents the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Here, again, the United States Administration intervened in order to continue the negotiations, without taking as a referent that resolution, approved after 65 years, and constituting by itself an achievement and a political and legal framework for fruitful negotiations. That is how they returned to the old and vain negotiations (the negotiations of the wolf and the lamb) that took us to vicious circles during twenty years. And now a new year, until May 2014. It was just yesterday that the person leading the team of Israeli negotiators, Livni, declared that nine months were not enough, thus preparing the ground for another nine months. This means that we must continue the new policy of incorporating ourselves immediately to the United Nations institutions with a view to internationalize Palestinian rights. This will result in big and positive changes in the environment of public opinion inside the United States, Europe and the whole world, and more yet, within Israel, in order to go for negotiations of a new type, negotiations that would be governed by the resolutions of International Law and with the sponsorship of the five permanent members of the Security Council, instead of the unilateral featuring of the United States during 21 years and which might be extended for several more years.

Q 11: What is strange and unbelievable about all this is that the United States should openly pronounce itself as a strategic ally of Israel in the region, at the same time that it promotes peace negotiations. What kind of peace does the United States refer to, a peace for Israel or a peace for the United States themselves?

A 11: The United States wants peace for Israel and the North American Administration wants it for its political formations, Republicans as well as Democrats. If we take into account the positions of those parties, both are unconditional allies of Israel. This is no secret, but now said in a clear and open language. The United States provides Israel every year with assistance for three billion dollars, of which 2.5 billion in weapons to preserve its military superiority over its neighbours. Arabs brought down this Israeli myth when they united in the war of October 1973 and revealed the truth about the purported qualitative superiority of Israel over all its neighbours. Nevertheless, Arab politics betrayed them, as I previously told you. That is why I say that the negotiations that are being carried out right now will not render any result whatsoever, and if any result would emerge from them, it would be in favour of “Israel” and the supreme interests of the United States, but nothing in favour of Palestine and even much less in favour of Arab interests.

Q 12: In your opinion, who is it that hampers the peace negotiations? Is it by chance Israel, the United States, or the lack of a common vision among the Arabs?

A 12: In principle, the lack of a common unified project by the Palestinians and the Arabs. Of the historic examples that I mentioned, when the Arabs united among themselves, and Palestinians united around a joint echeloned unified project, results were the achievements of the October War, and results were also felt in the United Nations, on November 29, 2012. 179 states in our favor, and only Israel, the United States, the Czech Republic and Canada against. Therefore, we must continue ahead in this sense before going to obsolete negotiations, that is, to incorporate ourselves to the United Nations institutions; the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and the IV Geneva Convention, that clearly enunciates that an occupying state cannot alter the geography nor the demography of the occupied territories. Israel altered this and introduced changes and will continue to do so as long as the Palestinians do not unite and put in force the programs that they agreed among all of them: Nayef Hawatmeh, Mahmoud Abbas, Khaled Mashaal, Ramadan Shalah and the others. Israel will continue its undertakings as long as Arab solidarity continues to be absent and the confrontation between the Arab axes continue: and as long as the nationalist role of Iraq towards Palestine continues to be neutralized, as a consequence of the Gulf Wars and the North American invasion since 2003 and up to the present time.

If we do not reform our conditions through the project of democracy, social justice, citizens’ equality, putting an end to divisions, rectifying our conditions at Palestinian and Arab levels, the deterioration will continue unabated. Israel will expand more and more, the region will turn into a North American lake of oil in exchange for nothing. However, at the times of the Cold War, when Viet Nam triumphed in 1975, the North Americans went to the countries of South East Asia and warned them that they would lose their nations if they did not ally with the United States in the Cold War against the Soviet Union, China and Vietnam; and in their own nations, against the democratic and progressive forces. What did they do? They said: We will be on your side unconditionally and we will follow the United States agenda, but in exchange for the industrial knowledge and the industrialization of our countries. Now, these are the industrial tigers. However, our Arab countries submitted to the United States agenda in exchange for nothing.

Q 13: You spoke of the nationalist project. There are those who say that the Arabs lost their central cause, they lost Palestine, and with it, they lost themselves, as a result of the impoverishment of the Arab national project. Could you give us a realistic and impartial answer?

A 13: In a very clear language, the Arab national project continues to be a project for the salvation of all Arabs, from the Ocean to the Gulf. This project was affected in its depth for the reasons that I mentioned in this dialogue, the neutralization of the Egyptian front in the hands of Sadat, the destruction of Iraq through regional wars and at the hands of aggressiveness coming from abroad, where the most noteworthy are the wars launched by the United States and in the first place against Iraq itself. The Arab national project requires essentially fundamental forces, Egypt, Iraq, the Palestinian Revolution, Saudi Arabia, the countries of the Maghreb Al-Arabi and the Gulf.

Of course, on their shoulders goes the Arab national project, because at a given period they upheld that project, and then they back-pedalled due to the causes that I mentioned, and in the first place the very nature of these regimes and their incapacity to converge in the course of the Arab national project, and to respond to the interests of the Arab peoples with respect to sustained development, democracy, freedoms and social justice. The result is what we see today of million-members revolutions and intifadas without an organized coalitioned leadership in every Arab country. They are millions who demand “bread, dignity, freedom, social justice, democracy, citizens’ rights and no to the ethnic and confessional structure”.

Q 14: Then you mean that the Arab project is the victim of the Arab regimes and that it was destroyed by the presence of police regimes that changed their nature from a living and integral project to a project that only responds to their interests. It is already a project that possibly transformed itself in all its essence, and even the concepts of nation and of fatherland, until it lost its humanism and its civilized character. The question is: Who lost who? You, as nationalists, lost your Arab cause, or is it that the Arab governments are the ones that failed to that nationalist project?

A 14: The responsibility of the nationalist project is assumed by the fundamental forces. The world is a world of balance. Worldly forces are not a world of absence and quietness and nothing else. I am the son of the Arab national project, and you also are.

We have fought and rendered what we have. On my shoulders I carry three Arab death sentences. Nevertheless, to struggle is our only option, reconciling the Palestinian national interests and the Arab national interests. The world is a world of balances, a correlation between big forces in the midst of the struggle. There are preponderant forces in the Middle East, forces that have a big weight and can tilt the balance. But these forces are either deactivated or destroyed, and they do nothing. They are forces that returned on themselves during forty years, since the times of Sadat, and until 2011. Egypt is mesmerized and removed from its leading roles at an internal level as well as at the Arab and Palestinian levels. The same happens with several Arab countries. I do not exclude anyone. They have all excluded themselves from their duties. There are countries of weight in the Arab region. There is Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Algeria, the far-away Maghreb (Morocco). They are countries of weight, preponderance and influence. There are countries that assume the greatest responsibility regarding solidarity with Palestine and with our cause: these are the countries that are the neighbours of Palestine and of the Palestinian Revolution such as Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia with its strategic Arab depth. Unfortunately, all those capacities have been rendered useless. The national Iraqi project, the Palestinian national project, the Egyptian national project of renaissance, that is, of development, social justice, progress towards modernity, to access the era of the industrial revolution: all that has been deactivated. Of the 22 Arab countries, not one entered the era of industrial revolution; of the 57 Arab and Islamic countries, only Malaysia managed to be counted among the economic tigers.

Q 15: Then, what is going on is in favour of Israel. This made Israel to become the greatest military force in the region, apart from what is known today as the revolutions of the “Arab Spring”. Has Israel managed to attain its dream?

R 15: Israel has a mythological, colonialist, Zionist, colonizing dream that has not been totally achieved to this moment, even if it has achieved a great portion of that dream. Israel, emerged in 1948, rose on 77% of the Palestinian territory when International Resolution no. 181 of 1947 only handed it over 55% of the territory under British Trust and 45% for the Palestinian people. This latter territory of the Palestinians contains 70% of all the arable lands, while most of Israel’s 55% was formed by the Neguev Desert, in order to be in a position to absorb all the emigration later on. Israel did not limit itself to the 55% that corresponded to it, but instead occupied 77% after a year of that resolution, that is, in 1948, because the Arab armies struggled for objectives that were less than the Resolution of Partition of 1947. These are already well-known historical realities that have also been documented by Arab, British and North American archives. This, on the one hand, but on the other hand, in 1948 the State of Palestine could have been established. Nevertheless, and as a consequence of the plotting of Arab regimes, the recently-created “Israel” and British colonialism, and later on the North American one, in order to divide the people and the land, Israel was able, and even until 1991, to repeat up to the hilt that Palestine is a thing of the past. Now it is the State of Israel and the Arab states. The Palestinians existed in the past, and now they are only the Arabs of Israel and of the Arab countries.

We, the Palestinian Revolution, we have reconstructed the Palestinian national entity and identity, we have again imposed the Palestinian national rights, and now the International Resolution of November 29 2012 constitutes the springboard, the political and legal platform for the State of Palestine and for the Palestinian national rights to self-determination and to return. That is why Israel’s dream in incomplete. And it will continue to be incomplete, because our people are the people of 1948 and before. Now we possess the proven experience, and the people are more aware, but the correlation of forces continues to be unbalanced in favour of Israel, and the policy of the United States continues to be biased in favour of Israel, at the same time that the causes of backwardness and Arab and Palestinian divisions persist.

Q 16: The truth is that the governments think very differently with respect to what the peoples think. That is the cause of the blood of the free young people that believe in Arab causes as only one, but Arab politicians divide up things and classify them according to their personal interests. All right, I return to an important question, with respect to what is happening today in Syria, in a very dangerous scenario. You are one of the most outstanding Palestinian leaders in their relations with Syria and its regime. How do you assess the Syrian panorama?

A 16: I have been constantly linked to Syria, that is true. We have in Syria 700 thousand Palestinian in the camps, the survival of which we must guarantee and avoid that they turn into war victims of the war of destruction that has gone on for over 32 months… It is on that base that I have always struggled. From the first moment, I have stated that the military options, the alternatives based on violence, do not lead to a solution. The Syrian national parties must sit down to a comprehensive and total Syrian-Syrian dialogue, in which every force should take part without any monopoly and any exclusion. They must agree and approve an arrangement with the participation of everyone in order to reconstruct Syria as a free, independent, integral, unified, national democratic country. They must re-structure things with all the Syrian institutions, because Syria has territories occupied by Israel, and is a neighbor country of occupied Palestine. All the Arabs need Syria, and Palestinians too, and in the first place the Syrian people themselves need their country. That is why, and since the very beginning, I have called on putting an end to all military, violent and security-inspired solutions, and to sit down to the inter-Syrian negotiating table. Now regional and international factors are involved, apart from Arab and foreign components. They got involved and intermixed and thus deepened the crisis even more. That is why I call again on putting an immediate end to all the violent military solutions and to hold the Geneva II Meeting, on the basis of the six points agreed at the Geneva I Meeting, in other terms: without previous conditions to discuss the ceasefire, without previous conditions to the initiation of the dialogue and that all the parties sit at the negotiating table without any condition whatsoever. There are six points agreed by consensus. Those points receive the unanimous support of Russia, the United States and the five Permanent Members of the Security Council, directed towards the formation of a comprehensive coalition government of the Syrian government and the opposition removed from all foreign intervention, in order to achieve a coalition program with a view to the drafting of a new democratic constitution, a law for the parties and trade unions that would guarantee the new democratic diversity. With all this, to uplift the Syria of national participation, of the democratic civil state, of the state and society of citizens’ equality, and the equality of rights between men and women.

In only one word I say: “Change is the only constant in the history of humankind. Arabs, without global change, will remain outside of the new History”.

 
Notes:

*The interview was conducted by Ismail Al-Janabi in Amman on October 29, 2013.

* The Mitla Pass is a 32 km-long snaky pass in the Sinai of Egypt, wedged between mountain ranges to the north and south, located about 50 km east of Suez. It is famous as the site of major battles between the militaries of Egypt and “Israel” during the wars of 1956, 1967, and 1973. Gidi Pass is a strategically important pass in the Sinai Peninsula. It is about 29 km long and fulfills the function with the Mitla Pass as a means of linking the Suez Canal and the Sinai through mountain ranges in the region.

 
 

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