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Hawatmeh: The “Deal of Century” is an American and regional solution to liquidate the Palestinian national cause and rights
July 21, 2018

Wafaa Saraya, a member of Al-Mayadin satellite channel, made an interesting dialogue with Nayef Hawatmeh, Secretary - General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, for an hour, in her weekly program, in which she discussed the Palestinian situation with its major repercussions under the influence of the developments of the “Deal of the Century” as proposed by the administration of US President Donald Trump, in the context of a regional solution, with geostrategic changes which lead to the liquidation of the Palestinian national issue and rights , the integration of Israel in the region, and the declaration of an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Wafaa Saraya: It is not a usual period in which the Palestinian issue is passing, it including the most dangerous liquidation schemes, as the Palestinians are entering an important chapter in the history of their cause, despite the rapid American move to pass the century deal and Kouchner's visit to the region. So, while the Trump deal is being carried out, the Oslo deal has been thwarted, and the negotiations project has fallen to the ground and is no longer on the table.

But now, what the Palestinians have of arms to reject the deal and to confront the pressure that has gone beyond being American and Israeli, to be pressures from subservient Arab regimes?

What are the results of passing Trump's deal? Does not it need a clear national plan that ends the internal division to confront this new project?

The Palestinians have been exhausted by the siege and the only hope for the landowners is resistance, and the only hope for the refugees is the right of return.

Many questions are being circulated about the regional and international developments which aimed at the liquidation of the Palestinian issue and regarding the difficult choices of the Palestinians. These questions are being asked to our guest today in "The Hour Dialogue": Mr. Nayef Hawatmeh, Secretary-General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Good morning and welcome Mr. Nayef Hawatmeh . The deal of the century is the most common phrase we hear these days, there have been major plots since 1948, and they all have been dropped. But today is it possible to say that there is no chance to face the deal of the century, or is it limited and can be frustrated?

Nayef Hawatmeh: Definitely the deal of the century is limited. But we must know again that Trump's administration continues its attempts to implement the deal of century, step by step, whether in public or in private forms, with the Israeli enemy, as well as with a group of Arab countries, all going towards moving the deal of century.

It is a difficult stage for all of us, our people, our cause and our national rights, to self-determination, the independent state on the borders before June 4th, 1967, with its capital occupied East Jerusalem, and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes, in accordance with the historical right and the resolutions of international legitimacy. Since Trump's step: “the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel, the transfer of the American Embassy to Jerusalem and leaving it open for the occupation and settlement colonial acts”, and “the complete silence on the looting of the land and the intensification of settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank” the ties between the Palestinian and American sides have been almost completely cut.

Wafaa Saraya: Mr. Nayef, since you 've referred to the Palestinian position and that this deal is not something that can't be thwarted by the Arab-supported Palestinian efforts, however, we will talk about an Arab submission because the deal of century included Arab regimes. And there is no optimism regarding Kouchner and Greenblatt's visit to the region. How did you read the Palestinian position, the position of President Abu Mazen, and did you communicate with him?

Nayef Hawatmeh: The Palestinian situation, as you know, has been divided since June 2007 until now, and it is also divided intellectually and politically. There are many currents in the Palestinian national movement. We are in the stage of a national liberation movement that combines all currents, trends and components, all the factions, forces, personalities, popular and trade unions, including the women, students and youth unions. The conflict is going on in the midst of these currents in order to reach a unified national political program for the Palestinian people in all its places of residence, in the areas of 1948, in the occupied territories in 1967, in diaspora countries and in the refugee camps. But I say, in a clear language, these political divisions have begun with the miserable Oslo Accords in 1993 and are still ongoing, as a result of the absurd political , armed, and destructive division that took place in the Gaza Strip, on June 14, 2007. Also, there is a current in the Palestinian situation that depends on the miserable Oslo Accords represented by the Palestinian Authority.

Between Oslo and the will of unifying the Palestinian situation

Wafaa Saraya: Mr. Nayef Hawatmeh what do you mean by the Palestinian side, if we define more? Do you mean by the Palestinian side that there is dependency or a bet to complete the Oslo Accords, or are they rejected by all parties?

Nayef Hawatmeh: We have more than once managed to unite our ranks in a unified program within the framework of the comprehensive national Palestinian dialogue, in the national leading framework of the PLO, starting in March 2005, then in Gaza in June 2006 with the participation of 14 factions, some of whom are members of the PLO, others have suspended their membership and two from outside.

Then Cairo in November 2009 and on May 4, 2011, and the specific dialogue in Cairo, then in Amman and in Ramallah. We have reached a unified national program and a comprehensive electoral law program with full proportional representation of all currents and components.

Wafaa Saraya: But what prevents these factions from completing this reconciliation? Who is the responsible for the basic reasons for not completing the reconciliation and the division of the internal Palestinian home, which needs in this period to unite the ranks to face what is planned and the plots to liquidate the Palestinian cause?

Nayef Hawatmeh: Also I say clearly to our people, and to our friends in the world, we also, within the framework of PLO factions, have agreed upon one position in the PLO Central Council on March 2015, January 2018, then in the last Palestinian National Council session between April 30 and May 4, 2018, but the disruption still exists. And who bears the main and fundamental responsibility is the destructive division between Fatah and Hamas, as all the bilateral agreements between the two parties have been disrupted and not implemented. As well all the agreements between the factions of the PLO, Hamas and the Jihad movement have not been implemented, in addition to the decisions of the Central and National councils in their last sessions. So far, only one step has been implemented , which is going to the International Criminal Court to put the Israeli enemy in front of international accountability for the crimes committed by it daily, and its wars on the West Bank and the three wars on the Gaza Strip.

Who bear the main responsibility for division are Fatah and Hamas, as they have not implemented what they agreed upon in more than fifteen bilateral agreements, as well as the five agreements that have been signed between fourteen factions, as I have pointed, as well as the decisions of the Central Council, between the PLO factions and the last National Council decisions.

Wafaa Saraya: What prevents both Fatah and Hamas from implementing these agreements during these years from 2006 until now?

Nayef Hawatmeh: Firstly, you and all the public media, know that there are wide media wars almost every day between Fatah and Hamas. They say now that division is destructive and futile and must end today before tomorrow. This talk has been repeated since years until now, but let me declare that there are partisan, individual, class, social and political interests of both parties Fatah and Hamas, and this prevents them from doing what has been agreed upon. Secondly, there are also the Arab regional conflicting axes and interventions , and thirdly, the American and Israeli pressures exerted on the Fatah leadership, particularly on the Abu Mazen team. When this division ends, we become a united hand in the face of the regional factors, the poisonous harmful factors, the American policy of Trump, and the Israeli government's policy, headed by Netanyahu, with his expansionist and Judaization plans for our occupied land.

American conditions and pressures

Wafaa Saraya: Mr. Nayef Hawatmeh, when did the Palestinian leadership make mistakes and when was it right? How did you see the position of President Abu Mazen regarding his refusal to meet with the US administration's envoys, especially with their proposal for the deal of the century?

Nayef Hawatmeh: The American administration's attempts are ongoing and continuous and Trump's administration constantly presses on the Palestinian side, starting with the nine conditions of Jason Greenblatt, presented to Abu Mazen in February 2017, to this day. These include: keeping security coordination with Israel, keeping the Palestinian economy linked with the Israeli economy which is superior by its concrete, political and military powers, cutting off assistance to the families of Palestinian martyrs and prisoners, stopping "incitement", reconsidering the education program in order to remove any incitement towards Israel, and committing to all other security issues as well. The pressure continues unabated, and Trump announced the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and transferred his embassy from Tel Aviv. And the issue of Jerusalem is now being excluded and no longer on the negotiating table. He now, declares that the issue of refugees should be removed from the negotiating table and is pressing daily for elimination of the UNRWA and the drying of its financial resources.

The great strategic cover has begun with 1993 Oslo Accords, by dividing the negotiations into two transitional stages (3 years, which extended to 25 years without any positive step towards salvation from settlement and occupation) and the following final stage has ignored the settlement ending, the fate of Jerusalem and the refugees. Now, we are all witnessing the settlement disasters in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and on the fate of Jerusalem and the refugees, and the other major strategic mistake is to build illusions on the US policy and unilateralism in sponsoring the bilateral negotiations, the absence of the international legitimacy resolutions , the absence of the Security Council five members supervision from the negotiating table, and not putting time table for negotiations.

Wafaa Saraya: Will you be surprised this time by a new US statement on the deal of the century? As in an interview by Kouchner with Al-Quds newspaper at the beginning of the third week, he said: “If the Palestinians are no longer at the negotiating table, the United States will make the plan public", as if it will overstep the Palestinian position, and can it bear the burden of such decision?

Nayef Hawatmeh: Now it is overstepping the Palestinian position, but the Palestinian position is united. As all factions have agreed to boycott the Trump policy, which is based on: the implementation of the deal century step by step, the American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel , the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and the announcement of the removal of Jerusalem from the negotiating table under the US sponsorship and the announcement of making the sponsorship of negotiations exclusive to Trump's administration, as well as the steps towards UNRWA, the latest example of which was in New York on July 1, 2018 as during a special international meeting in New York, the agency reported a $ 205 million deficit, and that only $ 50 million of it has been collected. All this means in clear language that Trump's administration is working to implement the deal of the century step by step in public and in secret and in various forms, and the pressures are multiple on the countries of the world and some Arab and Middle Eastern countries, but the problem is that the PA so far has not implemented the decisions taken by the Palestinian Interim Framework, nor by the Central and National councils' at their last sessions.

The meeting of Abbas - Fayyad

Wafaa Saraya: In light of these pressures you've referred to, including the pressures on some Arab countries, can we guarantee the success of the deal? Some regimes are afraid of declaring the secret normalization or declaring their support for the deal of the century, which was mentioned behind the scenes and referred to by Western and Israeli media. But allow me, regarding the arrangement of the Palestinian internal home and what was announced about it and the sudden meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and the former Palestinian Prime Minister (Salam Fayyad), many of the questions raised after the boycott between Abbas and Fayyad. What the motives that made President Abbas meet with Mr. Fayyad? Will Mr. Fayyad be the solution in the next stage? As some see him the man of the next phase, and to establish a new government instead of Rami Hamdallah's.

Nayef Hawatmeh: I do not think at all that a new government will be established by Salam Fayyad. Salam Fayyad headed the PA government for seven full years and did nothing, but he followed the road plan of the Americans and committed to the conditions of the security and economic agreement and all forms of dealing with Israel. Israel refuses to implement any of the resolutions of international legitimacy, nor any of the resolutions of the UN Security Council. Thus, this meeting after three years falls within the framework of American and Arab regional pressures, to gather those who agree to work and deal with the US administration. We say to Mr. Salam Fayyad and Mr. Abu Mazen not to submit to any of the American pressures, nor to submit to any of the Arab and regional pressures. These pressures have dragged the Palestinian situation for twenty-five years to be under the American administration, and everything is going on in the first transition phase of Oslo Accords from failure to failure on the Palestinian side.

So, I say no to all these pressures. We must continue the unification of the Palestinian position until the Trump administration withdraws from its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and retract the transfer of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as these decisions and measures contradict with the resolutions of the international legitimacy. Therefore, the American administration must respect the international institutions and resolutions and we must go to the United Nations with the three new draft resolutions approved by the Central and National councils (April – May 2012): The active membership of the State of Palestine in the United Nations and the international community, an international conference on resolving the issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict held in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and sponsored by the five permanent members of the Security Council and the international protection for the land and people of the State of Palestine.

Wafaa Saraya: But can the international resolutions be depended upon or only depending on a national Palestinian strategy? I want information from you. Are you communicating with the Palestinian leadership or with Salam Fayyad, and coordinating these Palestinian positions?

Nayef Hawatmeh: We in the DFLP communicate with all the Palestinian factions without exception. We clearly declare our unity with the decisions of the Central and National councils. We are united again on the need to implement the decisions of stopping the security coordination with Israel, disengaging from the Israeli economy, withdrawing the Palestinian labor force from the colonial settlements in the Palestinian Bank, stop dealing with the Israeli shekel, restoring the Palestinian population and land registries from the hands of the occupation. All these decisions have not been implemented yet, except the decision of transferring the issues of Israeli aggression, wars, killings, assassinations, arrests and the internationalization of prisoners' issues.

The Palestinian cards of power

Wafaa Saraya: In the light of failure to implement these decisions that have been agreed upon, what are the cards of power possessed by the Palestinian people and leadership to deal with the deal of the century, some say to continue the movements of the return marches, in addition to the international boycotts?

Nayef Hawatmeh: In the forefront of the power cards, on the ground and in the field, in the hand of our Palestinian people, is to further strengthen the marches of return and breaking the siege on the brave Gaza Strip, and develop the ongoing efforts of the marches in Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarem and Jenin, which started in order to lift the sanctions on the Gaza Strip and break the siege on it, and were suppressed by the PA security services, headed by Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas also suppressed the demonstrations and marches in Gaza Strip which were raising the same slogans. "Lift sanctions on the Gaza Strip", "lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip and ending the division". The strength point is the unity in the field. Now we have a field unity in the territories of the 48 calls for lifting the sanctions and ending the division. Also we have a unity in the field in the countries of asylum and Diaspora that calls for lifting sanctions , breaking the siege and ending the division. This unity in the field must be strengthened and continued whatever the pressures, we must continue to boycott the American administration until it retracts from the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the transfer of the embassy to it and Trump's decisions to remove Jerusalem from the negotiating table, and liquidate UNRWA and drain its resources. These are the strength points now. The third point is the implementation of the decisions of the National Council and the national consensus and in the forefront to end the division.

We presented a project in Beirut in the negotiations and discussions that took place on February 10 and 11, 2017 (14 factions and under the chairmanship of the Palestinian National Council head, Mr. Salim Al-Zanoun) that the end of the division is by the formation of an inclusive national unity government of all 14 factions and independent national figures, and at the same time, completing the mechanisms to conduct Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections on the basis of proportional representation at home and abroad.

Wafaa Saraya: These demands are heard in theory, but on the ground, the division is still master of the situation, and the Gaza Strip is still trapped, and as you have said, yesterday there were movements and marches in Nablus and the West Bank, demanding the lifting of the sanctions on the Gaza Strip, and the status quo is still ongoing in the Palestinian interior. But we will talk about the return of the Russian role, the intensification of Palestinian efforts and the visit of a Hamas delegation to Moscow.

Spokesman for Fatah, Osama al-Qawasmi, says that Iran has not provided a penny to the Palestinian people and that the cheers of the Iranians, who protested the economic situation are cheap. How do you read this position of Mr. Qawasmi?

Nayef Hawatmeh: We call on all, to adhere to objective policies and realistic policies, based on facts rather than statements. We call for a cessation of this type of heavy media war between Fatah and Hamas. Hamas clearly declares that most of its weapons and material resources, including the Islamic Jihad are from the Iranian aid and there are material and logistical assistance from Qatar, Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood in many Middle Eastern countries.

Wafaa Saraya: Is the Palestinian people paying the price of the conflict of axes as a result of this division on its territory through the clear division between Fatah and Hamas?

Nayef Hawatmeh: The Palestinian people has overridden the continued division by dialogue and the commitment to understandings and agreements, as I have indicated by moving to unity in the field. It has united itself in the field, in the Gaza Strip , under "the title of the march of return, breaking the siege and ending the division", and unite in the West Bank ,Arab Jerusalem and in the territories of 1948 . We all are united in the field on these issues, but special interests, regional pivotal conflicts and the conflicts of Trump and the occupation government are disrupting this.
Unity in the field

Wafaa Saraya: Mr. Nayef, allow me, about these pressures, do you agree that if the Palestinian people has the power of all its forms, the Americans and the Israelis wouldn't dare to propose such a deal? Also there are submissive Arab regimes which clearly presented the deal of the century in its initial form, especially Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Suleiman who presented it to President Abu Mazen?

Nayef Hawatmeh: Once again make clear that our unity in the field will give its results and will impose on the two parties to stop the division and come to the decisions of Beirut in February 2017. The Arab position too is divided on itself in a series of axes. Clearly, there are some Arab countries, as everyone knows, that Trump's administration is still talking to them about the deal of the century. I advise the Arab countries not to engage in this process.

Wafaa Saraya: Who do you mean by these countries? Jordan and Saudi Arabia?

Nayef Hawatmeh: Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan as announced. Trump makes discussions with them about the deal of the century. In this context, statements are issued and some statements say that Mohammad bin Suleiman, for example, summoned Abu Mazen, when he was in World Youth Forum, headed by Al-Sisi in Sharm Al-Sheikh, and told him that he had received this message from Trump's administration, including that Jerusalem could be from the surrounding suburbs and neighborhoods, based in Abu Dis. Following these statements, King Suleiman issued statements saying that the occupied Palestinian territory and the Palestinians' right to return are lines that Saudi Arabia abides by.

Now again, at the Dammam summit, King Salman announced the name of Jerusalem on the summit because Saudi Arabia is adhering of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine on borders before June 4, 1967.

I know what is going on under and over the table and you know that the meetings do not stop between the Trump administration (Kushner and Greenblatt) and the government of Israel about consultations in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt.

Wafaa Saraya: What are the arrangements going on under the table or behind the scenes?

Nayef Hawatmeh: What is going on under the table, is that Trump's administration is still continuing its efforts to implement the deal of the century, as well as the fact that something of this is happening with a number of European countries. As under the table with Britain, there are attempts to coordinate the US and British efforts to amend the deal of the century. Clearly, the US administration so far has adhered to what it wants and announces its practical steps as I have indicated.

Deal of the century and the Arab situation

Wafaa Saraya: This is about the Western level, but at the Arab level, what is also going to pass the deal of the century, and if they have the fear of announcing their official position on the deal of the century or the Trump deal? What about the International Quartet?

Nayef Hawatmeh: I have announced in several capitals, including Moscow, and in more than a press conference in 2017 and 2018 that "the Quartet has been in a state of clinical death since its birth in April 2003 and now it has been 15 years since the American policy contained and emptied the International Quartet of its work". In Moscow, in the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russian institutions have announced the need to return to the United Nations by new resolutions (the international conference, the active membership of the State of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital and the right of return, United Nations forces to protect the land and State of Palestine) and the need for support us by Russia, China and France and many friendly countries in the world.

Wafaa Saraya: Is it possible to bet on Russia's growing role in the region, even with regard to the Palestinian issue? Mr. Mousa Abu Marzook and Hamas delegation visited Moscow, does Moscow have a desire and ability to play the role that it played in the negotiations as a result of its good relations with various parties on the Palestinian issue, whether Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan?

Nayef Hawatmeh: In Moscow, in the discussions of the delegation of the Democratic Front and I was one of its members, Russia agreed when I called the need to return to the United Nations and propose a new resolution to the General Assembly of the United Nations to convene an international conference for peace and resolve the issues of the Arab - Israeli - Palestinian conflict, in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and under the auspices of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, so that the US administration becomes one of five, not five to five, as is the case so far. Palestine also requests for the active membership in the United Nations and the international protection by the United Nations for our people . We therefore reiterate that the American administration still rejects all of this. Also Israel rejects all of this. We must return to the United Nations. We guarantee the overwhelming majority in the UNGA and in the Security Council (14 countries). The United States only stood against the consensus on the settlement debate. So, I say that the conflict is open. The Palestinian people cannot be overstepped. Let us unite in the field , continue our struggle , restore the unity of our national movement on the basis of the overall national strategy of Palestinian rights, protect it by comprehensive elections on the basis of full proportional representation for the presidency and the National Council and rebuild the Palestinian national institution on the basis of consensus and the principle of national partnership as a liberation movement for a people under occupation and colonial settlements.


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