Nayef Hawatmeh, general secretary of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), pointed out that Khaled Mashaal, the president of the Political Bureau of the Hamas Movement, requested mediation by several Arab capitals to contact the government in Washington.
In a phone conversation from the Jordanian capital of Amman, he said to the independent agency Maan on March 22, that Mashaal was attempting, possibly day and night, to open channels with the United States using Arab governments.
Those declarations by Hawatmeh came about following Mashaal’s saying that the cause of the failure of dialogue among organizations to form a government was due to the pressure that Washington is exercising on some of them.
Hawatmeh said that the Al-Badil bloc, through its DFLP representative, presented a conciliatory document that preserves the national principles and the rights of the Palestinian people. Nonetheless, Hamas assured that it was not willing to agree and insisted on a totally Hamas-based political program. “We decided not to participate, because its program does not respond to the needs of our people and is formulated in a negative way,” the leader added.
Regarding the PLO, Hawatmeh emphasized that, “regrettably, all governments in the world recognize the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative – except the Palestinian government (the government of Hamas),” adding that, “this recognition was product of the struggles and sacrifices of the Palestinian people, and Khaled Mashaal is very conscious that the struggle of the Palestinian people began decades ago, and not with the legislative elections.”
Regarding the process of dialogue, Hawatmeh declared, “The conversations with the six forces were conducted in a collective and bilateral manner, based on the creation of a government of national unity and a new program of common denominators. We encouraged that process along this path and presented a document introducing modifications and proposals to the Hamas document with the objectives of freeing us from the occupation, building an independent Palestinian state and solving the refugee problem by virtue of Resolution 194. But Hamas insisted on its own political program that does not open perspectives to the Palestinian people, nor does it break down regional and international walls; on the contrary, it strengthens the programs of the Israeli parties. Up until the last moment, it insisted on its program and not on a program of common denominators. Hamas evaded the creation of a common program, preferring its absolutism of power.”
Speaking about the right of the PLO Executive Committee to approve the government, Hawatmeh said, “The Executive Committee, even until to the reconstruction of the PLO on new bases, still expresses the will of the Palestinian people, not only our heroic people on the West Bank and in Gaza, but also those in the diaspora. In those countries live 64 percent of the Palestinian people who did not vote, so we are fighting for the exercise of that right with the purpose of expanding representation.”
“Up until now, the PLO has been the representative of the Palestinian people and today the Executive Committee unanimously considers the program of Hamas to be individualistic, absolutist and unacceptable, because it is based on politics which are negative in relation to our people, the international community and the Document of the Declaration of the Independence.”
Hawatmeh also pointed out that “Mashaal is conscious that all Palestinian forces reject any pressure and those they fought to achieve the right of our people to have the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.” He went on to say, “the struggle of the Palestinian people has taken 40 years of sacrifice and will not stop with the elections of a small part of our dear people. It is sad and painful that the whole world recognizes the PLO but the Palestinian government does not.”
He added, “Arrogance was the cause of the fall in authority of Al-Fatah, and it is not correct that it repeat this experience after the election of a part of the people on a portion of our land. Elections should be carried out with the entire Palestinian people and we must struggle for a National Palestinian Council; Hamas did not fulfill the commitment agreed to in Cairo.”
“The ironic thing is to speak of foreign intervention and sectarian interests, when the group that seeks these interests is the one that rejects a program of common denominators. Hamas, instead of advancing, retrenched its own sectarian program.”
On the Al-Badil coalition, Hawatmeh said, “we hope to develop from an electoral alliance to a political alliance, and victory will not be achieved without the unity and the reconstruction of PLO institutions.”
Hawatmeh clarified that the position of the DFLP is to maintain the matters of the refugees in hands of the PLO, and it rejected the transfer of those to the National Palestinian Authority (NPA), saying, “you cannot confine the matter of the refugees in hands of the NPA, because it doesn’t represent all of the refugees who directed the Revolution and the glorious Intifadas.”
On the question of Hamas’ insistence on its political program, the general secretary responded, “I say to all our people and the forces of peace that what in fact happened was the transfer from one crisis to other, from the crisis of absolutism of the party of the Authority (referring to Al-Fatah) to another absolutism with a sectarian program and not a national, global one; this encourages the right wing Israeli forces to take advantage of it. The best gift for the Kadima and Likud parties is a sectarian political program that does not respond to the needs of Palestinian coalitionists or to the needs Arabs, represented by the Arab Peace Initiative, or to international law.”
“Olmert will say that there is no Palestinian negotiator, like they said to Arafat, and the Israelis will take new unilateral steps of an expansionary nature, converting the Palestinian-Jordanian border into an Israeli-Jordanian border, seizing seize the Jordan Valley, maintaining large colonialist blocks, a Jerusalem and over 60 percent of the Palestinian territories for which they have created their plans to create a new situation at the expense of our people, refugees in essence. This position should be reviewed with new perspectives based on a policy of a government together with a common program.”