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Special interview for Prensa Latina in Damascus with Nayef Hawatmeh, secretary general of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Occupied territories of Palestine: a big jail
By: Miguel Fernández Martínez*
April 1, 2015

For Nayef Hawatmeh, Secretary-General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the United States’ colonialist policy in the Middle East and its strategic relationship with Israel prevents finding of a solution to the conflict of its people.

Hawatmeh, a veteran fighter for Independence and self-determination for his fatherland, usurped by the Israeli invaders for 66 years, acknowledges that, for Washington, the Middle East is only an oil lagoon in the center of the world.

Prensa Latina spoke with the Arab statesperson in Damascus, on the eve of the commemoration of the Day of the Palestinian Land, 39 years after the assassination, at the hands of the Zionist army, of a group of young people who protested the usurpation of their lands.

For Hawatmeh, at this very moment the situation in his occupied country is difficult and complicated, as a result of a series of internal crises provoked by Israel’s aggressive and expansionist policy and the perennial support that Tel Aviv receives from the North American administration.

"A million 800 thousand Palestinians live on a very small surface of terrain, of barely 362 sq. Kms, the most densely populated area of the world. They live in a big jail,” he commented.

One of the topics that concerns most the DFLP leader is the present political crisis, after all the roads to seek a solution with the Israeli occupying force were closed.

“Over 21 years of negotiations, since 1993, amounted to nothing for Palestinians –he affirms. Israeli colonialism is increasingly expanding and does not stop. I give you an example: in 1993, the number of Israeli settlers on the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Jerusalem were about 97 thousand, and now, 21 years later, there are over 800 thousand".

During the three following years, the Israeli government expects the number of settlers to surpass one million. “This means the theft of more Palestinian lands and the planting of more settlers, and that is why the political solutions are bogged down, due to Israel’s expansionist policies and US’ blind support.",

"The North American administration rendered null the role of the United Nations and the role of the five permanent member countries of the Security Council, and also hinders the implementation of all the resolutions of international organizations, in order to find a political solution between the Palestinian people and the Israeli occupying force,” he underlined.

He also pointed to the crisis of negotiations, which are carried out without the referential framework of international resolutions, without stopping and checking the pillage of Palestinian lands, daily usurped.

"Israel has open doors to expand its territory, to steal more Palestinian lands, and also to plant more settlers on our territories,” emphasized Hawatmeh.

Another internal crisis presently suffered is the division among the Palestinian ranks, in particular the division between the Al-Fatah authority in the West Bank and the authority of Hamas on the Gaza Strip.

“These two authorities do not respect the decisions and resolutions agreed between the people and the different Palestinian organizations,” stressed the DFLP leader.

He also referred to the economic crisis because of its very weak resources, its simple and fragile economy, and because it is handcuffed by the agreements imposed by Israel that do not allow the Palestinian economy to grow and progress.

Another consequence of so many years of colonialism is the social crisis, because, lacking justice and with an economic policy based on neo-liberalism, the number of the rich increase and the middle and less favored strata become poorer.

“The economic policy has to be corrected, and the money and the expenditures on resistance against the occupying force has to be shared by all the social strata of the people,” he pointed out.

Hawatmeh explained to Prensa Latina that these five major crises were recently assessed at the Central Council of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine held in Ramallah in early March.

“We agreed to again attend the United Nations and to convene an international conference based on UN resolutions, under the auspices of the five permanent member countries of the Security Council in order to examine political solutions, in accordance with international resolutions,” he explained.

"We want to defend the right to self-determination –he added--, to establish an independent State on the basis of the agreements of 1967, and the right of refugees, who now represent 60 per cent of the Palestinian people, to return to their country, in accordance with United Nations resolutions.”

According to Hawatmeh, in the history of the UN, the United States resorted to the veto right in favor of Israel on 51 occasions, and threatens to use it vis-a-vis whatever political resolution or legal projects that would impose sanctions on Israel.

He further explained that a new draft resolution was presented in the United Nations in 2014, and it was also blocked by the North American party. “We are working to break that veto,” he emphasized.

For the DFLP leader, in the Middle East disputes have three dimensions: one that struggles against the expansionist policies of Zionism and imperialism; another one that represents the revolutions of the Arab peoples against the regimes that support imperialism and the third is the implementation of political Islam, bloody and extremist.

"We must differentiate religious Islam from political Islam –he clarified. The Islamic religion is like any other, it accepts interpretation and also multiple appreciations, as any religion will”.

"But political Islam is something else. I do not believe that in political Islam there would be a moderate manner: it is all extremist. When religion turns into politics, already everything is different, because each party has an ideology, and political Islam presents itself as the only one that has the truth and the solution and leads to bloody and sectarian wars,” he underlined.

For the Palestinian leader, Arab governments should respond to the rights of their people as it happened in Latin America, and not to establish dictatorships and leave the government in conservative hands, giving way to progressive left-wing forces that believe in socialism.

“Cuba is a model and example of this through the years, and for more than 50 years it has confronted a North American blockade.

Latin America got rid of dictatorial regimes and tyrannies, and now implements social, economic policies in favor of its people. That should also happen in the Middle East,” he said.

"We have to listen to the demands of the peoples –he added—, to defend democracy and social justice. Without this, the struggle will continue.”

The DFLP Secretary-General recognized that presently about 700 thousand Palestinian refugees live on Syrian territory. He believes that they were welcomed in a solidary way by the government of Damascus.

In spite of the crisis that the Syrian people have been suffering for four years, after the appearance of terrorist bands financed and organized by the United States and Western countries, the DFLP tried to maintain the refugee camps neutral, removed from the war, although politically solidary with Syria.

"We have worked to protect the Palestinian camps for 21 months, avoiding the access of Islamist armed groups to those camps, in particular to the Yarmouk camp,” he explained.

"In the areas surrounding the Palestinian refugees here, there is a strong presence of extremist armed groups and we prevent them from coming in, but in the end they occupied the camps and turned them into camps of armed dispute, now marked by murders and destruction.”

"Syria has an occupied territory just as we do –he said. We have common national interests vis-a-vis the Israeli, the North American policies that support Israel, and that is why we wish to see a united, independent, forward-marching Syrian people".

"The Palestinian people needs the Syrian people, because we know that the Israeli occupying force has expansionist ambitions, not only in Palestine, also in Syria”.

Notes:* Prensa Latina correspondent in Syria.
Source: Prensa Latina

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