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DFLP Leader Hawatmeh Interviewed by Egyptian Newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat
April 3, 2012

Nayef Hawatmeh, the secretary-general of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said on March 3 that Egypt is the central pivot of the Arab countries and of the Palestinian cause in particular. He expressed his hope that the issues that are outstanding in the Egyptian Revolution of January 25 will be solved in a manner that respond to the great sacrifices made by the Egyptian people, especially now that the revolution no longer belongs to one group but to the people, and its results must satisfy everyone’s aspirations.

Hawatmeh criticized some Arab countries that had made the promise, which was not kept, to support the recovery of the Egyptian economy, while their television stations exalted the Egyptian Revolution and the Arab people’s uprisings. He noted that these Arab countries are waiting for the situation in Egypt to first calm down before providing assistance, though such help is vital at the present moment for solving many of their pressing economic and social problems.

The Palestinian leader said the Egyptian Revolution has still not ended, since conflict with counterrevolutionary forces persists as they attempt to block the revolution. He also said that the revolution’s plans go beyond tossing out a few individuals; rather it also aims to eradicate corrupt groups in order to open the path to ideals such as living with dignity, pluralism and social justice – which are topics currently being debated.

Nayef Hawatmeh assured that, despite internal concerns, those responsible for the Palestinian issue within the Egyptian leadership continued their exhaustive efforts to implement the agreement of May 5, 2011, which was drafted and signed by all parties in Cairo.

Among Palestinians, the May 2011 agreement is still an outstanding issue, he added, because there are forces responsible for its non-fulfillment. This is due to a partial conflict that brought about a series of mutual arrests between Fatah and Hamas. He said this conflict affected the relationship between the children of the people in the West Bank and interrupted the Central Electoral Commission’s work on the Palestinian National Authority’s (PNA) legislative and presidential elections and the National Council of the PLO, at home and in the diaspora.

According to him, at the end of February, Palestinian detachments met in Cairo under Egyptian sponsorship, but instead of debating a number of secondary issues, they should have focused on several other key topics, including:

1 - The application of May 4, 2011 agreement on the basis of a unified political program derived from that agreement.

2 - The formation of a government of national consensus based on the May 4 agreement between Palestinian organizations and on the Doha Accord. This latter accord was reached between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal, the political leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), whereby Hamas accepted Abbas forming and chairing a national consensus government with independent leaders.

3 –The taking advantage of the presence of all Palestinian forces and national figures to set up an electoral law until the national consensus government can provide and oversee the PNA legislative and presidential elections and PLO elections, particularly those for a united parliament (i.e. the election of a National Council of the PLO in the occupied territories and in the diaspora, under a law of proportional representation).

The DFLP Secretary-General said that in the last Palestinian meeting held in Cairo the political offensive should have been reaffirmed in order to get the UN General Assembly to make the decision recognizing the Palestinian state — one within the June 1967 borders and with Jerusalem as its capital — so that such a decision could serve as a reference in the case of any possible negotiations with Israel. Hawatmeh also stated that 20 years of negotiations had reached a dead end because they did not receive international support and were without an established time frame. In addition, for more than 20 years the Israelis have not complied with any decision of the international community or of the UN.

"Therefore, we have to return to the UN General Assembly to obtain the decision to recognize the Palestinian state and to solve major issues in our dispute with Israel. We must obligate Israel to recognize the territories occupied in 1967 as forming the border of the Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital, which Israel is trying to Judaize and to deny its Arab character,” Hawatmeh said.

He said that from now on, and until a government of national consensus is formed, Abbas must reconsider the economic and social policies of the government of the PNA to support the resistance and the popular uprising against occupation, savage colonialism and the expansion of Israeli settlements.

Hawatmeh noted that these are the main issues in the May 4, 2011 agreement, signed by all of us (Nayef Hawatmeh, Mahmoud Abbas, Khaled Mashaal, and the 13 Palestinian parties, as well as independent personalities).

The Palestinian meetings, according to Hawatmeh, have not moved forward with these major issues to bring the internal Palestinian agreement into practice. Instead of working to strengthen national unity, the meetings have bogged down due to the struggles between Fatah and Hamas over the sharing of power, privileges and ministerial jobs in the PNA.


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