• The global, regional and Palestinian alternative in the light of 21 years of partial and useless negotiations for the Palestinian party
• Our initiative to put an end to division is not conditioned to practical implementation mechanisms and does not fall into the minimum details during eight years of destructive division
• Global democratic reform of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO
• The PLO Central Council is called upon to reject the extension of negotiations without the referent of international law and the complete cessation of colonization
Dear television watchers: We are happy to welcome the struggling leader, Secretary-General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), comrade Nayef Hawatmeh, in order to benefit from his sharp vision and his deep analysis in relation to the hot news headlines that are being experienced by the Palestinian cause. Welcome, comrade Nayef…
Q1- The truth is that we taped this meeting at a time in which the Palestinian people commemorate the 38th anniversary of the Day of the Land. What would you say to our people on this occasion?
To our Palestinian people in the territories occupied in 1948, in the territories occupied in 1967, and in every site of banishment and exile, I say that the celebrations on the occasion of the Day of the Blessed Land have turned into celebrations for the Palestinian people, for the Arab peoples and for all the free men of the world. Here we must remember that the year 2014 has been declared, by the United Nations General Assembly, the year of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The land is the essence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict
Now the sons of our people on the territories of 1948 and 1967, in banishment and exile, in the midst of the celebrations on the occasion of the Day of the Land, proved that the essence of the conflict is the struggle for the occupied Palestinian land, that the essence of the struggle, the solution to the issues of Palestinian-Israeli confrontation is about the land and the right of our people to return to their land; the right to build their independent state on the lands of 4 June 1967, and their capital in East Jerusalem; it is the right of refugees to return to the lands from which they were expelled; that is why I say: blessed be that day… blessed be that glorious day on which the Palestinian masses were concentrated within the lines of Jerusalem, of the territories of 1948; and they clashed with the occupation troops in the Salwan and Sakhnin neighborhoods, and in all the places of 1948 in Galilee, the Triangle, Negev and the coast. Also our people all along the West Bank and the Gaza Strip… and our people everywhere they are to be found, in the Arab countries and the rest of the world. We say that this is the essence of the struggle, the struggle for the land, to build on the soil of our fatherland our Palestinian national entity… with freedom, independence and the Palestinian state and its capital, Jerusalem, and the right to return…
That is why I say that this is what we have in mind for 2014 as the UN decided, a whole year of solidarity with the Palestinian people and with its national rights, ratified by the United Nations on 29 November 2012, through “the recognition of the State of Palestine as an observer member of the UN and the solution of the 3 major causes that were not solved during 21 years of partial and dismembered negotiations: to solve the issue of borders textually affirming about the lands of 4 June 1967, to solve the issue of occupied Arab Jerusalem textually affirming and textually highlighting East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine, and to solve the issue of refugees by virtue of International Resolution 194, that is, the return to their homes and properties.”
The second new birth of the PLO
It must also solve the problem concerning that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a coalition of forces is the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and is not an organization of individuals or a ghetto of this or that detachment. The PLO was the comprehensive front since we built it in September 1969; the PLO was at that time, in 1964, an organization of individuals and personalities. We have rebuilt it and we were a commission of 4 (Arafat, Hawatmeh, Dhafy Goomany and Abu Eyad) at the head of the PLO delegation formed by peoples at the head of which were Yehya Hamoudeh as interim chairman, Bahjat Abu Ghurbia, Abdel-Majid Shoman, Yousef Al-sayegh and Abdel-Khaleq Yagmour. They tried to minimize the presence of the detachments of the Revolution and of resistance within the PLO. We rejected the conditions that they put forward. They said that these were a request of all the Arab states. We stated that we should not take into account such requests. After this, the quartet immediately continued its works and we rebuilt the PLO on the basis of a Broad Front of all the components of the Palestinian people, one third for the detachments of the resistance, one third for the unions and guilds and one third for independent personalities.
We have undertaken the reconstruction of the new PLO in September 1969. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine participated for the first time in the session of the Palestinian National Council for the reconstruction of the new PLO. Our brothers in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) declined to take part, arguing that there is no hope of reforming the PLO because it is a fabrication of Arab governments. We demonstrated that we are capable of leaving aside all the Arab tutelages, and we did it with the reconstruction of the PLO in its second birth, as I have said.
That is what I said and say to our people, blessed be the Day of the Land, and on the Day of the Land they demonstrate to all the people of the world, to all the Arab states, to all the states of the world, that the Palestinian people are alive and have the right to exist on their soil by virtue of the resolutions of international law, and with the auspices of the permanent members of the Security Council and of the United Nations, to go ahead in the possibility of reaching a political solution, on new bases and foundations and not those that served to support the partial and incomplete agreements.
Since the Oslo Framework Agreement of 1993-1994 until the moment in which discussions and negotiations are being carried out for a fifth framework, 21 years have elapsed and we do not reach solutions, because we do not count on an international referent, international and UN supervision and international conference. That is the cause of the massive demonstrations in all the Palestinian territories, within the Green Line and everywhere where the Palestinian people are, and with the support of our friends in the liberation forces, progress and peace in the world, demonstrated that we exist as a people and that we have full rights to existence, that their national rights cannot be overlooked for a very long nor even for a short time, and the task of the national leadership is to shorten the time by a healthy and accurate policy having as its base and foundation the national rights and the resolutions of international law, and not the North American biased unilaterality with respect to the Israeli expansionist ambitions.
Q2- All my Greetings to the sons of our grandiose people, who stand firm and attached to their land in all the occupied territories. As I said, each passing year we see a greater mass participation on the Day of the Land, from the South and up to the Negev, passing through Gaza and towards the north, the West Bank and banishment. They all celebrate and mobilize. Let us pass on to another headline: I had posed a very important initiative to repair and reform the Palestinian house and put an end to the state of division; that initiative was picked up and disseminated by the press. How far did that initiative go?
I wish to add a simple point. The Day of the Land and the mobilizations of our people demonstrated that we are one people united by virtue of the National Program by Stages, the program of return, self-determination and the independent State within the borders of 4 June 1967 and its capital, East Jerusalem, that is why all the detachments from the right to the left and between both extremes must respect the will of the unified Palestinian people, respect the constants of the National Program by Stages and the initiative presented by the Democratic Front; that I personally presented to you in a special televised program of the Palestinian national satellite channel “Awda”.
That is why I have called and we have convened a series of encompassing dialogues in the West Bank and Gaza with all the detachments and the masses of our people. Five encompassing mass conferences, every one of which was attended by ten thousand people. Activities and demonstrations were held in the West Bank and in the countries of banishment on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the emergence of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which brought new elements by combining “the gun of politics and the politics of the gun”, it combined the resistance and the weapon… and from this basis we presented this initiative: first, about the useless and partial negotiations that in no way favor the Palestinian people while leaving all the doors open wide for the Israeli party in all the processes of judaization of Jerusalem and the planting of colonies in the Palestinian West Bank…
Second: I say it again. By virtue of the initiative that we have presented, the colonization of Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in 1993-1994 reached 97 thousand. Now they are 700 thousand, that is, it has multiplied by seven under the cloak of partial and incomplete negotiations and “framework agreements”, by seven Times. Today, Netanyahu wants to renew for another year, until 2015, 29 April, and he went as far as to prevent the liberation of another group of prisoners, a measure that has been negotiated and a very high price was paid for it, the Palestinian people lost the year 2013. In 2014 we must continue our big step that we have initiated at the UN with a majority of 179 countries and with the opposition of only four: the US Administration, biased in favor of Israel, the Czech Republic and Canada…
I say it again, our initiative must be based on the International Resolution of 29 November 2012. On the basis of this resolution we returned to the UN and presented a new Draft Resolution based on our acceptance as a full member state whose territories are under occupation. Its lands are occupied by Israel. And therefore to politically, legally, regionally and internationally isolate the State of Israel. For the State of Israel to be isolated in the very view of its citizens. So we must immediately join the 63 organs and institutions of the UN, and firstly the Pact (Statute) of Rome and the International Criminal Court, as well as signing the four Geneva conventions, the Hague Court of Justice and the Report drafted by David Patterson. I recall that a few days ago, a certain number of friendly countries presented four Draft Resolutions that condemn Israel to the International Human Rights Commission. With respect to one of the Draft Resolutions, Netanyahu made a big fuss because it demanded the immediate cessation of colonization because it is illegal and against the law.
The PNA and the PLO are called upon to sign the Pact of Rome and UN institutions
We will join those institutions and organs as full members, we were observers at the UN General Assembly, for the sword of the Pact of Rome and the International Criminal Court would hang over Israel, supporting us in UN resolutions, in the Four Geneva Conventions that forbid the occupier to modify the geography or the demography of the territories it occupies. That way, Israel will always be under the sword of International Courts in relation to the issue of land; the essence of the conflict; and in relation to Palestinian national rights and against Israeli aggressions, against colonization and the permanent denunciation of this. All of this will lead to a new international juncture to impose collective sanctions on Israel until it submits to the will of International Law and its resolutions, as the government of South Africa was forced to put an end to the colonization of Namibia and to put an end to Apartheid inside South Africa itself.
Q3- In the light of this big initiative that was welcomed by Palestinian milieus, the holding of an international conference was also put forward. There we have Geneva I and Geneva II about Syria and Iran. Why not a Geneva III to deal with the Palestinian issue? They put forward the topic of the conference, besides other international referents, international law besides the five permanent members. All of this within the initiative. But I would like to know the repercussion of this initiative not only at street level, where big demonstrations were held to express their viewpoint. However, did they interview Al-Fatah leaders of the PNA, and of HAMAS, in order to achieve the conciliation and the initiative? Did they find a positive answer on their part? Are there obstacles, and who is responsible?
We have held meetings in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon and in every place of Palestinian presence; with all those to be found in the Palestinian detachments without exception, and we discuss this initiative with them; to bring our cause out of the state of a cause of a bilateral dealing between the wolf and the lamb, the Israeli colonialist expansionist wolf, and the Palestinian lamb in whose hands are the Palestinian national rights. To go with those rights far away from the North American exclusive unilateralism and in the direction of the United Nations, and for it to be possible to hold an international conference, the preamble of which is to take the steps that I have mentioned with the initiative of the DFLP. It is then that the topic to be posed to the Security Council, to the five permanent members and to the UN General Assembly would be that of holding an international conference in the quest for a global balanced peace to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We have more priority for an international conference in Geneva than for the other one in which the five powers plus Germany take part in to find a solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. We have more priority for an international conference than Syria, which for only a three-year crisis has already seen two conferences: Geneva I and II. Our cause is suspended since 66 years ago, in which the rights of our Palestinian people have not been reached, the suffering of our people continues, while, in exchange, the doors are wide open in favor of Israel, with no international oversight nor rejection. Its expansionist actions to the detriment of the Palestinian territories have grown after 1947 by virtue of International Resolution nr. 181. The grew from 55.5% of the lands of the British trust, and mostly in the Negev Desert, to 77%. They outgrew the limits of the International Resolution in only one year, 1948.
In 1967 they de-activated the West Bank’s and Jerusalem’s administrative divisions from the times of the Jordan administration. The province of Jerusalem used to cover an area of 6 sq. kms. Now, with the constant annexations to Jerusalem’s neighborhoods and their surroundings (Beit Hanina, Shaafat, Al-Isawiyah, Al-Eizariah,…) it grew to cover 120 sq kms. Master Netanyahu says that this Arab Jerusalem + West Jerusalem constitute the unified eternal capital of the State of Israel.
The Framework Agreement presented by Kerry is not only verbal, but was also read out to Abu Mazen and his delegation in Washington, in front of them all, during a meeting with Kerry, and was later dealt with at the meeting with Obama. Saeb Ereikat, the Palestinian negotiator, wrote the elements of 4 June 1967, not the name of East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital, but a capital in Jerusalem that might be Beit Haninah… etc.
There is no right of return for refugees, but rather proposals taken from the statements made by Clinton in the year 2000, in which refugees could choose among three options. Brother Abu Mazen repeated this. He repeated it in front of Al-Fatah’s Revolutionary Council a few days ago, precisely on 12 March. He repeated it at the meeting with the youth of the Israeli Labor Party, Meretz, and academic and retired military personalities. This meeting took place in Ramallah, and there he said: “The right to return is an individual right”. It is never an individual right, it is a national right according to UN resolutions, and consequently we must eliminate the term and the proposal of individual right + individual right of whoever returns, return and compensation, and the people who do not return have the right to compensation. It is basically a collective national right. He said that it is an individual right and the person can choose to return to the Palestinian State.
Nevertheless, Israel says unanimously that there is no return, and says very clearly and sharply that no solution can be arrived at that would include the right to return. In this way they are speaking about several tens of thousands and not of the right of return and not making any reference to that right. Even those who state that they want peace based on international resolutions, such as Yossi Beilin, for instance; and the Geneva Document signed by him together with other diverse Israeli and Palestinian elements, do not have the right to speak in the name of the Palestinian people. Even thus it was signed, and after a previous agreement both parties did not use the term “the return”, but what was used instead, by a proposal of the Palestinian group, was the term “the place of living”, and that is what makes it subject to Israeli laws. Abu Mazen said, at his meeting with the Israeli Youth: “We have recognized the State of Israel, we have renounced the right to return and it is an individual right, we have renounced the borders of 4 June 1967, and the exchange of territory. Those are not rights of the President of the PLO Executive Committee nor of the President of the Palestinian Authority. In other words, he has no power to do so, nor any other Palestinian party has.
We are going for a break, but there’s something very important: what he stated about the dangers that Kerry’s project entails, because it is considered by some as a liquidation and not a fixing of the Palestinian cause. Nevertheless, the Palestinian leadership says that they will not renounce the constants. Now you state that there are concessions and that the President himself mentioned them.
This is a very important topic that we will discuss after the break. Stay tuned, stay with us…
Dear television viewers, welcome again to resume the dialogue that we began with the Palestinian and Arab leader, our comrade, Secretary General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Nayef Hawatmeh…
Before the break we had spoken of the danger of Kerry’s Project, and that is what Hawatmeh clarified. But what calls our attention, comrade Nayef, is what you said about the Palestinian leadership making concessions, and that is precisely what Abu Mazen expressed, in spite of what is being said about Abu Mazen being threatened with detention… He was threatened by the Israeli minister and ultra-rightwing leader Naftali Bennett. Abu Mazen reiterates the slogan: “In the millions, we will return to Jerusalem…” The same expressions as Abu Amar... Abu Mazen says that he will not renounce the constants. With all this and in spite of the threats of Lieberman against Abu Mazen, with all of this, concessions are being made. What are the concessions that the Palestinian Authority is making?
Two unavoidable corrections to this question. What Abu Mazen expressed is not the position of the Palestinian Leadership. The Palestinian Leadership is represented by the coalition of the Palestine Liberation Organization, because the PLO is not made up of individuals, it is an Broad National Front, composed of detachments, parties, forces, mass unions, labor unions, national personalities; and therefore its position is that of a Broad Front, and this means that the Palestinian Leadership is a coalition, and thus the coalition means a joint position, and all that is alien to this joint position is then the position of whoever expresses it, and cannot be attributed to the Palestinian Leadership, but solely and exclusively to whoever expresses it.
This is one issue, and the second issue, today I was with brother Abu Adib and I told him: PLO institutions such as the Executive Council, the National Council, the Central Council, the executive, etc, are not run with a mechanical vote that would equal Al-Fatah. How many members do they have in the Central Council? 4. The DFLP has 2, and the PFLP has 2, and so on, while the Central Council has over 120 members. Therefore, the National Front respects the joint position, and what is common among us are the National Constants based on the transitional National program (also known as the program of stages), and all that is alien to this is not common. That is why –and I said this to brother Abu Mazen— when you speak about National Constants you must very accurately clarify what you are referring to. I said this based on the spirit of the common struggle, without blinking. Things have to be transparent. This also applies to Hamas. Hamas says that it supports the creation of a Palestinian State within the borders of 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capital, and with the right to return. This is in accordance with the National Constants, but he adds that he is not ready to join a government of national conciliation if we do not agree on the National Constants previously. I told him that they must clarify what they mean. Brother Abu Mazen is empowered because he is the Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and of the PNA, and on the basis on the National Constants based on the right to return, self-determination for all the sons of our people wherever they might be, an independent Palestinian State with connectivity, capable of surviving, that is, on the borders of 4 June 1967 and its capital in occupied East Jerusalem. That the PLO is composed of organizations, trade unions, unions, personalities, and therefore those are the national principles. But when one speaks of the borders of 1967 with an exchange of territories, this is therefore outside of the national principles, and brother Abu Mazen gave this a clear title, that he made a concession that consists of the exchange of territories. This is one issue.
Second: he said that the right to return is an individual right, and he used the phrase: “I am a son of Safad, however, I do not argue in favor of a return to Safad”. This matter is a national cause, it is an indisputable right at Palestinian, Arab, regional, international levels and at the UN and within all its institutions. That is why the UNRWA exists, as an organ financed by the countries of the world and with the UN in charge of attending to the matters of the Palestinian refugees; in the countries of banishment, attending to the matters of education and health until they return… that is, until UN Resolution 194 goes into effect, and therefore Abu Mazen offered a concession when he renounced the right to return and used the phrase: “We will not flood Israel with the refugees”, and Netanyahu gladly welcomed those words.
A third topic that he dealt with and on which he offered a concessions is: “…that we have accepted, in exchange for negotiations, not to go to the UN and its institutions during the 9 months of negotiations.” Now others, Saeb Ereikat, for instance, declare that the issue of prisoners that were not liberated by virtue of Kerry’s understandings of 23-29 March for several days and the liberation of those prisoners and the extension of negotiations are being dealt with. All this equals concessions, all of this is outside the national principles and therefore whoever wishes to speak of constants must clarify this term, and not use it surrounded by ambiguities and uncertainties, but rather clarify them with all the transparency that they deserve. That everyone should declare what are his national principles, each person, each detachment, each trade union, and that we agree on the fact that principles are those things recognized by unanimity, that the principles derive from the National Program by stages, return is a national right, self-determination is a national right and that is why we reject the Jewish character of the State of Israel.
Our people inside the territories occupied in 1948 have the right to self-determination, with the Intifada of the Land 38 years ago, in 1976, it demonstrated that it is an indivisible part of the Palestinian people, with an indivisible right to stand as equals inside the State of Israel. Our people inside Israel, attached to the land that is in their hands, learned with their experience produced in the 1970s and not in the 1940s or 1950s when the National Palestinian Catastrophe of 1948 occurred. Perhaps this is the first time you hear this here in Awda, because I have said it in other terrains and scenarios. The minority that remained in the fatherland was then no more than 170 thousand, while the majority emigrated, under the shots, death and eviction. Those who remained are the sons of certain towns where they had no radio nor written press. They remained and woke up to Al-Nakba. They possessed 17% of the lands that Israel occupied in 1948. Today they only possess 4%. Lands were confiscated, and that is why in 1976 they rebelled in their Intifada, enough land confiscation, enough prohibitions to building a new town or city. But this has not been solved yet, and it became a yearly celebration, in an expression of the firmness of the inhabitants of 1948 and their attachment to principles.
Once more I say: these are the constants that unite us. However, “the exchange of territories is the biggest time bomb against the establishment of a State within the borders of 4 June 1967”; that is, to renounce the border of 4 June. This firstly, and secondly, where would this backpedalling lead to? Israel has great expansionist ambitions in the West Bank, besides their actions for the judaization of Israel. Israel is planning an unstoppable expansionism. And to hold on to the National Constants, there should not be any negotiation before a complete cessation of colonization, and going to the UN to internationalize the national rights of our people, from the General Assembly to the Security Council, every UN institution, every institution of world public opinion, and on those bases to create conditions for an International Conference to solve the problems of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, an international conference on the basis of the national rights approved by the UN. A referent for new negotiations, of a new form, and under the auspices of the five permanent members of the Security Council; and a representative of the UN Secretary-General. An international conference for which we should cling to the borders of 4 June 1967, and reject the exchange of territories, and insist on the total cessation of colonization.
There will be no negotiations without a cessation of colonization. We must cling to East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian State, and not accept the capital in Jerusalem, on one of the corridors leading to the Holy Places. Consequently, when Abu Mazen, in his meeting with the Israeli youth, said that Israel remains unified and with two separate municipal governments, one of them belonging to the Palestinian State and the other one to the State of Israel, and a commission of coordination, and that there would be no division. If East Jerusalem is the capital, then colonization must cease, judaization must cease, and it is the independent Palestinian State that would decide who stays and who does not.
This happened in South Africa, in Algeria, in Vietnam… several countries that struggled, guided by the laws of the national liberation movements. Algeria insisted on staying united, unified, independent and free, and did not accept that the French who lived in Algeria should have colonies and enjoy the entire Algerian coastline. The Algerian people were inside and in the desert. It rejected the French nationality and clung to the right to self-determination, it not accept either that the French settlers would have a double nationality. In the end, the right to self-determination was implemented vis-à-vis three options.
Firstly, independence; secondly, a federation with France; thirdly, unity of fusion with France. The Algerian President, Houari Boumediene, told me on one occasion: ¨We have begun the National Council of the Front for the Liberation of Algeria in the winter and finished in the summer, that is, we had discussions for over ten months. We debated whether we accepted the options or not. Because we were afraid that the right to self-determination would not be implemented. We accepted after 18 months of internal discussions, when it was clear for us that the absolute majority of the Algerian people would vote in favor of independence.” And so voting was held on the same day that Algeria had been occupied, in order to give a direct reply of what the Algerian people are responding to them now, demanding Independence after 130 years of colonialism and colonization by France.
The laws of the stage of national liberation require the backing of the transitional National Program and the resolutions of national unanimity
Let us understand the laws of the stage of National Liberation and firstly those laws that derive from the National Program by Stages and national unanimity. A very new aspect requires national unanimity, because the Palestinian people are unified. This is a lesson. We must respect national unanimity, and the national coalition and the decisions taken within that framework is what is followed and implemented, and not what has been decided by an individual or a group of individuals or a detachment. Another example: Hamas pursued an internal dialogue in order to modify the Law of Civilian Statutes and the sanctions that are in force in the Palestinian territories, in addition to what had already been added at the time of the British trust in 1936.
Now they introduce modifications that annul the rights of women, the right to gender equality, modification to introduce punishments such as whippings, amputation of hands, and flogging women, under the Hamas government. That is why the Democratic Front told Hamas, after a direct dialogue and after overcoming many difficulties and obstacles with many Hamas leaders: “This will not happen. We are looking for an initiative to put an end to division and not to consolidate it”. Those steps will further deepen the separation between Gaza and the West Bank, they will cause an enormous fissure in the Palestinian political system. Now they will be two systems: one of them based on confessional religious ideology. We have the experience of Egypt and all the disasters that this entailed. They tried to pass the same thing in Tunisia. The leader of the Al-Nahdah Party (Political Islam) had to be accountable to public opinion, and the mobilizations of public opinion.
That is why what happened in Egypt during the Morsi government and then after 30 June did not happen in Tunisia. In Tunisia, demonstrations and concentrations have taken place and they forced the Al-Nahdah party to backpedal, to renounce the control of the four substantial ministries, and they backpedalled. And then they had to backpedal and to leave the government headed by a member of Al-Nahday and with a majority of the same party. The government had to resign and a new one had to be composed, integrated by an independent prime minister and independent members to supervise the forthcoming elections, and to cleanse the state apparatus of the attempts to impose the ideology of the Al-Nahdah party in the branches of the state, that is, the attempt to plant in the organs militants of that party to fill them.
That is, once again, I say to Hamas: do not commit that sin. The Palestinian people are united before you on the Day of the Land, and are untied and in a coalition around the PLO coalition… respect the programs of national unanimity that you signed with your own hands, and the last of them on 4 May 2011 and the understandings of 4 May 2011 and the understandings of February 2013, around the understandings and the percentage representation, because they represent a revolution inside the Revolution and they lead to a patriotic and effective participation by society in the PNA’s organs and institutions, in PLO organs at 100%, and this is better than the individual electoral law and, by majority, the non-democratic division.
The majority in which, if one gets 5000 votes and the other 5003, the latter takes over all the institution in which elections were held; that is, sometimes you strike out 50% and sometimes you strike out 60-70% because they did not obtain a majority vote, while percentage representation according to the percentage that each party obtains is a relative democracy and not because full democracy would require a law that determines the financial and propaganda resources, the money for bribes through job posts and clientelism through election campaigns; from the university to the trade union to the Palestinian National Council, to determine the threshold of the political financial capital through propaganda, to determine the electoral political financial capital. The purchase of votes does not necessarily entail the direct handout of money; but it is rather done by providing services at the university. It is necessary to reach 2000 votes to achieve 50%+1, then we pay the inscription of 2000 students to achieve the required figure, that is, to sabotage consciousness, this is an attempt against consciousness.
That is why all of this must stop. We have an authority that erected administrative machineries as if we were a large State. 150 000 administrative and security members posts, whereas at the most we would need 30-50 thousand… Why? That is the relationship of clientelism between the Authority and the individual, the electoral base. Hamas did this in Gaza by introducing 50 administrative and security officials, besides another 70 000 that remain at home because they refused to work under the authority of Hamas after the Hamas military coup. They added the 48-50 000 and are negotiating with Al-Fatah their assimilation in case of reaching a solution to the problem of the division within the machinery of the Authority. This is an electoral base. I wish to say that percentage representation is much better than the monopolistic and excluding competition between one list and the other. It is much better than the majority vote that strikes out most of the votes.
Q4- This, within the initiative that was presented. But I want to go back to the question about the concessions that were made. You highlighted that there were concessions expressed by Abu Mazen as is the case of the right to return, that he considered a personal right. Also his phrase “we shall not flood Israel with the refugees” put a halt on the diplomatic offensive tending to reduce Israel at an international level, or to pass on to a real basis that would guarantee a dissemination of our cause abroad. Who, among the Al-Fatah militants, or those of the Authority, have the right to refute and debate those concessions personally expressed by Abu Mazen?
As a correction to what appears in your question, those expressions are said by Abu Mazen. I transmit, because your question has to do with this. I said that Abu Mazen himself made those statements at the Al-Fatah Revolutionary Council and at his meeting with the Israeli youth at Ramallah. I say: these are concessions and a renunciation of the Programs of National Unanimity and he must backpedal on those concessions…
Q5-For a wider Palestinian cohesion as you call for and propose before any type of negotiation: the Palestinian house must be well in order inside and an end must be put to the state of division. Now Abu Mazen’s visit awakened a great interest of the press and the masses. Those who followed events of the sons of the Palestinian people always had the hope that Abu Mazen’s visit to Washington might be an important turning point in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. More than that: they recalled the visit of deceased leader Yasser Arafat in the presence of Barack and Clinton, in the year 2000. Nevertheless, the visit was very brief and devoid of an agenda, and no information was leaked about what happened there. How would you explain this, and is there a disposition or a concession by Abu Mazen with respect to a given issue, such as the extension of negotiations? Do you consider that negotiations will be inevitably extended?
It is a total right of the Palestinian masses, of those who follow regional, Arab and international events, to expect that the interview of Abu Mazen with Obama would render some result. The mobilization, all that time, has been around the idea that what was stated at a Palestinian level is that the maximum deadline for elections is 29 April 2014 and then we would go to UN institutions. On the eve of the trip, on March 17, to Washington, collateral statements began to emerge from personalities belonging to the Authority, among them participants in negotiations, in the sense that new understandings could be reached thanks to the US non intervention to extend negotiations on the basis of a partial cessation of colonization, without the need of having the mediation of an announcement to this respect made by the Netanyahu government, and the liberation of more prisoners. This is going back to square one.
That is, to extend negotiations, to delay them and to prevent us from going to the UN, to its institutions and to every international and regional Palestinian alternative that we must initiate. This, in turn, would deepen the Palestinian division, because the majority of the PLO detachments, the majority of Palestinian public opinion raise their voices: “No to the extension of negotiations… Yes to joining UN institutions. The alternative is: UN institutions, world, regional, Palestinian and Arab public opinion; to pressurize on the Israeli public opinion, to pressurize on the Israeli government.
We must therefore implement this alternative through the practical and tangible steps and not by taking steps that would deepen division, political division as well as political and geographic division as is taking place at the hands of Hamas, so that we can put an end to division according to the agreement of May 4, the national unanimity of 2011 and of February 2013.
1st: The initiative of the Democratic Front for Ismael Haniyeh to present his resignation of the Hamas government immediately to brother Abu Mazen, being Chairman of the Executive Committee and President of the PNA.
2nd: That Hamdallah presents his resignation of the following day to Abu Mazen.
3rd- That Abu Mazen forms a Government of National Conciliation presided over by him and integrated by de facto and de jure independent personalities, and not to resort, under the table, to a division of quotas between Al-Fatah and Hamas, to a new form of division that would be excluding with respect to the components and currents of the people.
4th- That the National Conciliation Government be responsible and in charge of solving all the questions relative to division and all its problems, in accordance with the May agreement that I mentioned. And thus, the agreements signed between Al-Fatah and Hamas are no longer bilateral agreements, because the crisis of the division is a strong national crisis used by the USA and Israel to exert pressures on the Palestinians seeking greater concessions, and a greater abandonment of the enunciations and derivations of the National Program by Stages. It would also be responsible for holding elections on the basis of the principle of percentage representation.
5th- To agree on a deadline for elections, because Hamas states: “I do not agree with the statements of Abu Mazen”. During three months we wish to put order in our internal situation. Sometimes it poses two years and sometimes not less than a year. We must agree on a new agenda with precise dates.
6th: And therefore, after all these steps and mechanisms, the maximum leadership must meet, because we are the only ones that presented similar mechanisms with an initiative that can be executed without complications, an easy, practical, patriotic and unifying process. That the High Commission of Leadership of the provisional framework should meet under the umbrella of the PLO, under the presidency of Abu Mazen and the attendance of the 13 detachments, DFLP, Al-Fatah, PFLP, Hamas, Jihad, the Peoples’ Party; all the detachments, the 13 detachments + the Chairman of the Palestinian National Council + independent personalities.
7th: I say again: in this way, Abu Mazen gives the order with respect to the deadline to pinpoint the election date. Two decrees are passed: a Decree of the Government of National Conciliation passed by unanimity; and a Decree to extend elections, determining another date with the mention of a deadline that we agree on. This is the only sensible and durable initiative...
Q6- Does the DFLP agree with having Abu Mazen as Prime Minister? There are those who doubt the veracity of the measures of elections. You, as DFLP, do you agree with his nomination to that post?
Because this is not an agreement between the DFLP and Al-Fatah. It is an agreement signed by the person Abu Mazen and the person Khaled Mashaal, under the auspices of the Prince of Qatar, and it was then announced by both parties. That Abu Mazen be Prime Minister on the 8 – 2 -2008. Before that date, Hamas did not accept that Abu Mazen would occupy that post. Therefore, this problem was solved between both parties.
That is why we say that Abu Mazen is the Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and President of the Palestinian National Authority. Therefore, while this situation persists and is being accepted in a unanimous way, then yes, that the Prime Minister be the President of the PNA, that he be the person indicated to solve all the political, economic and social problems of the Al-Fatah authority in the West Bank and of Hamas in Gaza.
Q7- Two questions related to the title of negotiations and the title of reconciliation. About the current negotiations, to have knowledge and analysis… Abu Mazen and the PNA, are they going to extend negotiations or not?
The Central PLO Council will be held on 26-27 April. Our slogan: No to the extention without an international referent and without the total cessation of colonization
I hope that there will be no extension of negotiations that are being undertaken under the conditions of Netanyahu and the partiality of the USA. I call on Abu Mazen and the Al-Fatah brothers, since the Central Committee of Al-Fatah adopted by unanimity a decision in presence of Abu Mazen, and without any opposition, to reject the Framework Agreement, and to reject the framework of an agreement that would become the final referent of the negotiations between the wolf and the lamb. A framework of an agreement that would be the referent to postpone for a whole year without going to the UN, that is, without the resolutions and the auspices of international law, without putting a stop to colonization… that would really be the disaster for our people, and this is, of course, what Netanyahu wants.
He called for the rejection of the Framework Agreement arrived at on April 29 or before, on the rejection of a framework of an agreement, and the time for negotiations is over, negotiations resumed by virtue of Kerry’s understandings. Now we want the world’s understandings, those of the UN, of the five permanent members of the Security Council, the understandings of the Secretary-General of the UN, of the organs and institutions of the UN by our incorporation to these for them to be the referees between us and the Israeli occupation.
Q8- You did not answer the question if you will go or not, although I am sure that you have the answer. There are leaks and many indications. Even Abu Mazen said that nothing is being offered to us anymore. We will study if the proper conditions exist, such as the liberation of prisoners, the temporary cessation of constructions, if there are positive answers to these matters, and that this might take place being non essential matters.
I have clearly pointed to the critical indications, and among them the postponement of the meeting of the Central Council scheduled for April 26-27, the statement of elements directly taking part in negotiations such as Saeb Ereikat, the main negotiator, Al-Fatah personalities that give indications of the possibility of extending the agreement to the threshold of Kerry’s understandings, and as a referent, the Framework Agreement in case it is signed, or otherwise a framework for an agreement if the Framework Agreement is not achieved, because the latter extends the authority of a framework of agreement for another year. This means suffering for the Palestinian people for two more years, the waste of time and of results. Partial negotiations under the umbrellas of the four frameworks of agreements, plus the fifth, are all miserable, absurd and destructive for the Palestinian party, and they are not so for the Israeli party, which has all the doors open to continue the colonization in the West Bank and Israel, to plunder the lands, to make roads that lead to historic and touristic spots. All this is an open opportunity for Israel to pursue its expansionism, since the number of settlers now reaches the figure of one million in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and it is then that setting up a Palestinian State is no longer possible, because the Palestinian land will turn into dismembered ghettos and not the territories of June 4 1967.
Q9-Let we return to the topic of conciliation. In the same way that there are negative indications that negotiations will continue… there are positive indications that conciliation might be too soon and there are facts that point in this direction… We can mention, as examples, that there are leaders of Al-Fatah who returned to Gaza and were welcomed. Yesterday a joint march took place between Hamas and Al-Fatah on the occasion of the Day of the Land. There were other activities. The staff of the President and his bodyguards arrived. Do you consider that conciliation will be reached soon or that it is in fact farther and farther away?
I very much regret to say that the distance is still not a short one. In spite of the spirit that prevails among the masses. Today all the polls indicate that 70% to 80% of those surveyed support the elimination of division today and not tomorrow. Cadres and militants of the detachments of the Revolution, a very wide majority of them, support this step. To this respect there are commotions within Hamas.
I recommend that you read what was written by Ahmad Yousef, who was a vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hamas government and now holds a post inside the leadership of Hamas in the southern part of Gaza. His writings point to the need to put an end to division, that is a destructive and hindering division. He argues that an understanding with all the organizations and forces is needed.
Nevertheless, and on the other hand, there are other indications such as clinging to the government, not presenting their resignation, besides not analyzing the legislation that deepens division, the law of sanctions such as amputating a hand, to give whippings and to stone. To the present moment all that Hamas states about putting an end to division does not find its way to implementation. No steps are being taken in that direction. All forms of elections in Gaza have been deactivated, elections in the universities, of the workers´ unions, professional guilds, women’s organizations. Everything is deactivated. This means that in spite of Hamas’ promises of opening a dialogue, it is not in favor of opening up to the detachments and other forces through elections.
Haniyeh himself said: Let us begin with elections at the university and then see the rest. There was nothing, in spite of his statements. This on the one hand, while on the other, interests have been growing –and I say this frankly— within Hamas, economic, moral, political and social interests, and interests within Al-Fatah, all of them selfish and individual interests that have nothing to do with socio-economic procedures designed to strengthen the firmness and resistance in the occupied territories, in the West Bank as well as in Gaza, and therefore, these influential elements deasctivate the process of putting an end to division.
We have wasted 8 years and especially since the act of Hamas’ “Military Decision” in the Gaza Strip (this is an expression used by Hamas itself, but we use the clear and unhesitating way of calling it “Armed Coup d’État”) aimed at taking power, and this is what in fact happened. I have advised Hamas several times, if they do not want to open up to the detachments and to the PLO, then they should open up to the Alliance of the Palestinian forces that are alongside you and under your leadership: PFLP-General Command, Fatah Al-Intifada (Fatah Uprising), Liberation Front, Front of Struggle; those detachments are by your side. But in vain.
Then we have to intensify the struggle to achieve success for this initiative, that enjoyed a great popular welcome in the West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, during three weeks of concentrations and public demonstrations, marches, the mobilization of public opinion in favor of our initiative, which is an alternative at international, regional and Palestinian levels. It is the alternative to negotiations that are useless, destructive and uncertain for the Palestinian party, while they are favorably open for the Israeli party. It is the alternative to division, and many of the militants at the base of the Palestinian detachments are on our side, but an influential minority within Hamas and the PNA is totally inactive.
Q10- We have run out of time. We still have to talk about the Arab Summit. The Arab Summit was recently held in Kuwait. Some see the Summit as a step forward, a step of progress in relation to the Palestinian question. Others state that the importance of the Summit lies in the fact that the Palestinian situation monopolized the interests of everyone, although everyone expected for them to center their debates on Syria and Iran. What comment would you have on this development?
The decisions of the Kuwait Summit are good, but lack implementation mechanisms
It is true, and this occupies a first place, this has to do with the cause of the other occupied territories. The resolutions of the Kuwait summit reflect a higher threshold than the threshold of the Palestinian negotiator. At the Kuwait Summit the decision was taken to establish a Palestinian state on the borders of June 4 1967 and to strike out what had been decided at the Doha Summit, on March 2013, and also “the exchange of territories” was struck out.
Firstly, the exchange of territories was struck out because it does not mean the borders of June 4 1967.
Secondly, the resolutions of the Kuwait Summit textually highlighted that East Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state and not “a capital in Jerusalem” as is posed by Kerry´s and Netanyahu’s plan.
To approve a capital in Jerusalem means a neighborhood that would guarantee transit to the holy places.
Thirdly, the rejection of colonization, because it is illegal and beyond the law.
Fourthly, the right of refugees to return not as an individual right, but a national right, and reaffirmed by a resolution of the Arab Summit. The fact of Abu Mazen being the person empowered for Palestinian conciliation was determined, and the Resolution of the Doha Summit to discuss reconciliation in a committee within a Reduced Summit of Qatar and Egypt and who wishes to participate was removed… The Kuwait Summit also reaffirmed that the sponsorship previously handed over to Egypt in order to sponsor Palestinian conciliation still stands.
All those aspects affect the Palestinian national constants, they affect the National Program by Stages and they lead to a step higher than the negotiations of the past nine months and before them. The most outstanding thing was that the Arab Summit unanimously rejected the Jewish character of the State of Israel. I am well convinced and certain of the fact that, to those effects, the North American Administration has contacted one by one each Arab country to request that there would be no text about “the Jewish character of the state of Israel” nor “the borders of June 4”, and that there would be no text about “East Jerusalem” and no text either about “the solution of the refugees on the basis of International Resolution 194”…
Why did this happen? Because the Arab Summit, in spite of concerns, inside each Arab country they are experiencing the pressure of Intifadas, commotions and revolutions that take place in several Arab countries. The more the slogans and principles launched by those revolutions (bread, freedom, social justice, human dignity) are implemented and achieved, a higher level of security and calm is reached in each one of the Arab countries. All of this was absent from the socio-economic and political performance, in the light of the trend towards authoritarianism, totalitarianism and individual dictatorship in power. I say that there is an imminent third revolutionary wave. The other part is what is said in the Kuwait Summit that is due to the inter-Arab divisions. But they must have found a minimum limit of Arab solidarity, which is greater, because the Arab peoples will show everyone, with their Intifadas and popular movements, what those regimes have not yet learned.
The Kuwait Summit lacks, however… and precisely yesterday I have addressed a call to this respect… a call that I reiterate today: it lacks the practical and sensible mechanisms to implement the resolutions of the Arab summits. Those mechanisms are absent, nonexistent… because the Arab Summit makes decisions without implementation mechanisms, decisions that evaporate and remain suspended in mid-air, in the shadow of the inter-Arab struggles and the deficiencies and the non fulfillments.
That is why I address the Emir of Kuwait and highly value the success of his efforts vis-à-vis those matters. Nevertheless, I also point to what is negative to this respect, concerning national rights and the Arab territories going back to the borders of June 4 1967, the Golan Heights, the portions of Lebanon such as the Chebaa Farms, and I call on the Emir of Kuwait and hope that, in his capacity as Chairman of the Arab League for a mandate of one year, he will elaborate, through an understanding with whoever he might deem timely, in the framework of a Joint Arab Commission, the implementation mechanisms to implement those steps, by a socio-economic policy of each Arab country. The Summit dealt with the topic “Arab solidarity and the Modern Arab Renaissance”.
This means the reconstruction of the Arab situation in economic, social and political realms, on the basis of the development of the totality of Arab countries, implementing social justice, freedoms, democratic diversity. The Arab capitals must find the road to assist and deal with Arab countries that have mid-level potentials and those that are poor and very poor.
Finally: I very much regret that we have run out of time and that we have even gone beyond. Nevertheless, my dear television watchers, comrade Nayef was telling us that the Arab Spring had, in one way or the other, its effect and repercussion on the Arab Summit. We say that we wish that our Arab Spring would prosper always in Jerusalem. We dealt with many issues, but other issues still wait for us in other encounters with comrade Nayef Hawatmeh. Thank you very much, Nayef Hawatmeh, about all that you stated, and we expect you at future encounters...
Hawatmeh: Thank you so much for all the elements that you have prepared for this dialogue, and I salute satellite channel Awda for its national Palestinian and Arab role, and particularly towards the places of banishment in the Arab countries and the world.
Commentator: Thank you very much, dear television spectators, and we will see each other in further encounters of the program Special Encounter. My greetings, Ziad Tamliah, and so long…