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Hawatmeh in dialogue with satellite channel Al-Gad
Interviewed by: Rawan Al-Sourany, Gaza
November 5, 2017

• We, in the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), together with all the Palestinian democratic forces, call for the cessation and elimination of all maneuvers to sabotage the lifting of sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip.

• We must upgrade the political performance to the level of the Palestinian popular practical unity, as reflected in the ranks of the people, over division and its manifestations. The popular situation in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, as well as in every other place where the Palestinian people might find itself, has reached its summit of agitation when sensing the danger entailed by racist actions of plunder and Judaization of Palestinian land.

• People’s constant activity is a continuation of the Intifada of the Youth, and announces a Global Popular Palestinian Intifada.

• Democratization of Palestinian life is essential, for we are a national liberation movement in which the active participation of every current and patriotic trend existing in the ranks of our people becomes quite necessary.

Welcome to a new meeting of the program “Palestinian Letters”, three Palestinian letters to read and analyze. The first letter, “The Possibilities for Palestinian Detachments to Successfully Achieve a Transfer of the Theoretical Aspect to Practical Reality”. The second letter, “Palestinian Reconciliation in the Light of Regional and International Changes ... and Israeli Challenges". The third and last letter, “After Cleavage, the Palestinian Intellectual and Attempts at Recovering the Prestige and a Dignified Position on the Political Scene".

In order to begin our contact, Mr. Nayef: Hamas throws the ball on the field of the Conciliation Government so that it might take charge of its responsibilities towards the Gaza Strip, among them the dismantling of sanctions against the population of that sector, while on the other hand, President Mahmoud Abbas foresees a total compliance with respect to commitments agreed on the practical terrain, while a polarization of various natures is observed. Does this situation not constitute a serious threat for Palestinian Reconciliation?

**With all certainty, it is a very erroneous and obnoxious for the Reconciliation Agreement signed by both parties to the cleavage, Al-Fatah and Hamas, on the 12th of the present month of October. That is why we, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the DFLP, and all the Palestinian democratic forces together with us, among them the five Palestinian democratic forces present in the Gaza Strip, which demanded “the immediate lifting of sanctions imposed on Gaza”, we have demanded, clearly and firmly, the immediate implementation of the Agreement, beginning by the elimination of sanctions. We expressed our position at the meeting of the PLO Executive Committee in Ramallah, through Taysir Khaled, member of the DFLP Political Bureau and member of the PLO Executive Committee.

What is it than prevents President Mahmoud Abbas from lifting the sanctions imposed on Gaza up to now? Might he perhaps be waiting for its implementation on the ground?

** On the ground and in the field, what was agreed by the detachments that integrate the PLO, and particularly the Palestinian Democratic Forces and Al Fatah, in the presence of brother Mahmoud Abbas, was that the lifting of sanctions be carried out immediately after Hamas announced the dissolution of the Gaza Administrative Committee, instituted by Hamas, and approved the authority of the Conciliation Government in Gaza, and then to go to presidential and parliamentary elections. This did not happen, and therefore we have affirmed, in the meeting of the PLO Executive Committee in Ramallah, the need for sanctions to be lifted. Every democratic force did the same. Nevertheless, Abu Mazen (President Mahmoud Abbas) insisted on the position that he will not take that step until he has the certainty of control over the border corridors, and control of the situation in the Gaza Strip.


"In spite of the signing of the Reconciliation Agreement" and acceptance by Hamas of its conditions, and the dissolution of the Gaza Administrative Committee, as well as the approval for holding elections, and to avoid confrontation and obstacles that might hinder reconciliation, Hamas accepted to charge the Al-Fatah delegation with conveying to the Palestinian President its demand for the lifting of sanctions and the issuing of an order to this respect. Nevertheless, nothing was said, and the situation remained pending the extension of control over all the Gaza Strip by the Conciliation Government.

Nor was this step taken, either, after the meeting of the Central Committee of Al-Fatah, in spite of the avalanche of popular and organizational calls addressed to the President of the Palestinian National Authority, PNA, and to avoid the polarization of popular and civic sectors. Humanitarian conditions in Gaza continue without any change, particularly with respect to the cuts experienced by the allocations to PNA officials and employees. Similarly, transfers in the field of healthcare and electricity supplies remain frozen.

Mr. Hawatmeh: Hamas throws the ball in the field of the National Conciliation Government for it to assume its responsibilities with respect to the Gaza Strip, among which the lifting of sanctions. Can this polarization perhaps be a danger for Palestinian reconciliation?

** Of course. Any attempt to prevent the cessation of sanctions endangers the Reconciliation Agreement. We have made clear that sanctions damage people and not Hamas.

Democratic and national forces backed this statement. However, Abu Mazen repeated his position: No!, to the lifting of sanctions until the Conciliation Government can fully administer the Gaza Strip, just as it does in the West Bank; and he added that it should be under the threshold of “only one authority, with money flowing through PNA channels, only one security and only one weapon.”

As a reply, he foresaw the practical unity on the field in the ranks of the people, calling for the cessation of collective punishments, for an opening of the Rafah Pass, for receiving the government of Hamdallah. A popular sentiment prevailed, over division, in the Palestinian popular fervor, in Gaza as well as in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. Facing the danger implied by colonialist land-grabbing for Palestinian political life, and the possibility that the Intifada of the Youth might become a Global Intifada, more encompassing with a view to place the Palestinian national situation at the level of the central position of the Palestinian Cause, it is imperative to place the supreme national interests above the sectorial, individual and leadership-seeking interest within the parties responsible for the division.

What is it that the President is waiting for to lift sanctions on the Gaza Strip? Does he perhaps expect implementation on the ground?

** On the land and on the ground, what was agreed by the Palestinian detachment in the presence of Abbas was for sanctions to be lifted immediately as soon as Hamas accepted the conditions of the Agreement: the dissolution of the Hamas Administrative Committee that rules in Gaza, the approval of the authority of the Government of Conciliation in this sector and proceed to presidential and parliamentary elections. But this was not so, and we have called, at the meeting of the PLO Executive Committee, together with the democratic and patriotic forces, for the immediate lifting of sanctions. Nevertheless, brother Mahmoud Abbas again reiterated that he would not lift sanctions without previously guaranteeing the control of border passes. We observed national unity, the unity of all the Palestinian people, in every place where they might be. In spite of the division, the Intifada of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa showed very clearly the unity of the Palestinian people, without regards for the control points and occupation posts.

Popular spirit stood out in the unity of the spiritual forces and the Commonwealth of rights, through the confrontation of all forms of repression, starting out from a firm and in-rooted certainty around the possibility of unseating the occupation forces and confronting its authorities. In this context, the unity of spiritual, Muslim and Christian forces stood out. Are these not the essential components to overcome in the battle confronting occupation, its machinery and its gangs of settlers?

Mr. Nayef: We spoke of the tasks of government after the meeting of the detachments and the constitution of a Palestinian government. Will it be an ex-officio government, or an encompassing government, representative of Palestinian national unity, that would also assume the totality of political issues?

** All the social questions, civic questions, will be subject of debate at the Palestinian National Meeting that will be taking place coming November 21st. We are a national liberation movement, and this implies the need for the participation of all its currents and tendencies of our people. On the platform approved in Cairo in 2005, and I was present, we unanimously agreed that all the detachments and forces meet at Cairo, in a united national framework, that would lead to an encompassing government of national unity, to a true national unity, to full parliamentary elections on the basis of the principle of the genuine percentage representation with a view to democratize Palestinian life, as well as all the matters of society, among them, the question of social reconciliation among all, which allow us to arrive at full elections based on the principle of percentage representation.

With relation to the starting points, for this, what are the detachments based on? Were they issued from the 2006 Document?

** Yes, certainly. It is the Document of National Reconciliation, the one from 2006, signed in Gaza. It is the signature of 13 detachments, as well as those of institutions of civil society and a numerous group of union leaders and politicians. This document is the framework of transition from division to national unity, and not to another form of “government-sharing by quotas”. The Document of National Reconciliation of 2006 (The Document of Prisoners) encompasses the formation of a wide-ranging national government and, for the first time, elections of a new Palestinian National Council, in the fatherland and the diaspora, based on the principle of full percentage representation.

After 20 years of removing the obstacles to elections to the National Council, could the formation of a national unity government be a promising omen to hold new elections for a National Council and revitalizing its new structure?

** The creation of a government of national unity and the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections are goals that could only be achieved when we put an end to all forms of divisionism and agree on the need to facilitate for the Government of Reconciliation to exercise and assume all powers on the Gaza Strip, and to suppress every modality of sanctions, while solving all the issues on our agenda on November 21st.

Thus, united together with the people, we will be able to wage the main battle, counting on a coalesced and united reference and political leadership, while counting on a unified economic vision of a global national scope, that would encompass the political and the economic, as well as all the issues of development, culture, society and mutual assistance, on the basis of collective national participation. This way, the “material bases” of social resistance could be established, in the context of internationalization of the Palestinian cause and rights, and proceed to the International Criminal Court, to counter the actions of confiscation and demolition of homes that are being carried out in the framework of the colonialist settlement and Judaization projects.

What could induce Hamas and Al-Fatah to admit such claims of the DFLP and all the Palestinian detachments, posed sin 2006, and which now acquire a decisive nature?

** It is no longer possible to continue on with this division by Hamas and Al-Fatah. Divisionist actions and bilateral divisionist meeting cannot continue. We consider erroneous the present divisionist bilateral meetings. Things should begin at Cairo with the participation of the totality of Palestinians, in accordance with what we have agreed on numerous occasions, in four programs and agreements of national unity in 2005 in Cairo, in 2006 in Gaza, in 2009 in Cairo and again in 2011 in Cairo. In February 2013, we agreed on a Global Electoral Law on the basis of the principle of full percentage representation, which was corroborated and consecrated at Amman, in a meeting chaired by the President of the Palestinian National Council and the thirteen detachments, and the agreement was taken to Ramallah, where it received unanimous support.

Thank you so much, Mr. Nayef Hawatmeh. He has been with us through the satellite channels, from Damascus.


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