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The dialogue of Comrade Nayef Hawatmeh, the Secretary General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, with Al-Quds newspaper
Interviewed by: Ali Smoodi
February 27, 2017
 

* By the beginning of a new year for the DFLP, where are you today, and how do you see the reality, role and the strategy of the DFLP, in the shadow of the whole changes?

In the 48 anniversary of its birth since 22/2/1969, the DFLP starts a new year of struggles and sacrifices, side by side with the other Palestinian nationals forces, and our people in the occupied areas (1967and 1948), and in the Diaspora, with more determination to hold on the Interim National Program, the program of return, self-determination, an Independent state with fully sovereignty with its capital East Jerusalem on the borders before the 4th June, 1967, after all facts have proven the failure of all alternative solutions which were provided by Oslo Accords, and after all experiences of national discussions and the national consensus since the Palestinian national dialogue in Cairo 2005, passing through the National Conciliation Document (Prisoners' Document, June 2006, Gaza), and the Comprehensive National Dialogue Document (4/5/2011), and after the discussions in Beirut during the Preparatory Committee of the Palestinian National Council, in Moscow Dialogues with an invitation from Orientalism Institute, and after the Interim National Program as it was suggested and developed by DFLP on August, 1973, then it became a national consensus after the decision made by the Palestinian National Council, and which is until now the only alternative solution that could carry out the national rights of our Palestinian people.

It responds to our people struggle against the racial Zionist laws in 1948 lands, which are based on the ethnic clearing against Palestinians, social and economic ignorance, lands' confiscation, the destruction of properties. It responds to their right of a dignified life on their own homeland, having their own Palestinian and Arabic national identity, and their rights of citizenship, and social justice.

It responds to the rights of our people in the occupied territories in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, in ending the occupation, and dismantling of settlements and the establishment of full sovereignty independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, on the borders before June 4, 1967.

It responds to the rights of our refugees to return to their homes and properties from which they were evicted since 1948, and until that, their right in a decent life in the host countries, having their rights to have a decent education housing, employment, health and appropriate conditions and other social and human rights which were guaranteed by human rights charter.

In this context, we see that one of the main obstacles that prevent mobilizing the Palestinian national situation to face the challenges before the national issues and our legitimate rights, is the obnoxious division, so we struggle with all factions within the coalition of PLO and abroad in order to put an end to this division, and to restore the internal unity of our people, and to restore the unified national program as an alternative to the Oslo project and projects of the Quartet and the road map, and others.

So our delegation to the Preparatory Committee of the Palestinian National Council in Beirut (May 10 and 11, 2017) headed by Deputy Secretary-General and Member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Comrade Qais Abdel Karim, and comrade Ali Faisal, a Politburo member, played a tangible and important role, in shaping a national united position, that dropped the call to the old Palestinian National Council with attend and which did not take place twenty years ago, that considered as a serious step towards the deepening of the division, so the consensus on a new national council in the homeland and in the Diaspora attended by everyone, based on the fair and free democratic election, under the full proportional representation, according to the closed list, at home 150 members and abroad 200 Member, is a gateway towards ending the division, restoring internal unity on democratic bases outside the framework of transactions of quotas, which opens the door to opportunistic political clientelism, and disrupts the national required reform for the steps for the PLO.

Through free, fair and transparent democratic elections our people decides its political, and organizational alignments and every party deserves its public support through the ballot box, and they will open the door for the National Partnership for all Palestinian national situation components and drop the exclusion policy, the bipolarity and client list employment and the political , electoral and media corruption that have strained our national march and soaked in the political and social ills, and planted in ranks of a segment of our people, the ideas the preferred the self-interest on the senior national partisan, individual interests and on our national cause.

* From Mecca, Egypt and Qatar to Moscow, repeated meetings and still there is a division, frankly, who is to blame, and how do you see the real solution to end the division?

The comprehensive national dialogue is permanent; its goal is to elaborate, through the national partnership, the Palestinian resolution and strategy at each stage. Dialogue is the way to deal with the conflicts and reach common ground and national consensus that safeguard the unity of our cause and the unity of our people and its legitimate national rights. The alternative to dialogue is division, and the unreasonable conflict, as we have seen in the Gaza Strip, in the light of the results of the second Legislative Council elections (2006), which evolved into a bloody conflict between Fatah and Hamas and brought a disaster to our cause in 14/6/2007.

We have not concealed the facts from our people even we endured even national responsibility and we said that the two parties Hamas and Fatah bear the responsibility for the national division, they bear national responsibility for disabling the numerous agreements in order to end the division.

When the second Legislative Council elections were taking place (in 2006) we called for applying the law of proportional representation, on the principle of national partnership, to cut the road in front of the exclusionary laws, the division and corruption singles.

Put both sides of the division in line together, rejected the proportional representation, however steadfastness in the Cairo dialogue (in 2005) enabled us to reach a compromise which is law that combines the single-circle and proportional representation. Election experience has shown that single-circle constituency act, produced the state of the binary polarization between Fatah and Hamas, while the proportional representation law opened the door for most of the parties to enter the legislative council.

Since then, the bilateral relations between the two parties witness the divisive conflict on t «power, money and influence», jobs and interests, while they were setting aside their political differences.

We called to end the division since the early days of its actions in 14/6/2007, and to return to the internal national unity, we made many initiatives in this context, all of them aimed to restore the political framework of the conflict, and put an end to its bloody shape, beside the policy of arrests and chases.

We call for the formation of a national unity government that includes all factions and independent national figures (pursuant to the statement of the Preparatory Committee of the Palestinian National Council) and supervise comprehensive elections, presidential, to renew the legitimacy of the PA president and legislative (PNC) and for municipalities and local councils, all in accordance with the full proportional representation law, with the absolute relative regulation, the new institutions, that are democratically elected, the reunification of the Palestinian national situation.

The newly elected National Council produces a new government which, reflects the parliamentary forces and constitutes a none-national unity title, this government should be concerned with the reunification of institutions between the West Bank and Gaza, and reconsiders the adopted policies, in favor of new and alternative national strategy, that provides for our people its resilience factors in the face of occupation and settlement, and new social and economic solutions, development and the fight against unemployment, poverty and disease.

The new National Council to elect a new executive committee, which, elects its president, also it elects a central council and an independent management for the national Fund, concerned with the application of the Council's decisions outside the exclusivity financial policies and malicious policies.

National Council should be concerned in the reformulation of the Palestinian National Strategy, and aborting the Oslo file and its humiliating agreements, in favor of the restoration of the unified and united Palestinian national program.

* Is there still a role for the National Council, and how you read the invitations to hold it?

The National Council is the supreme legislative body (parliament of the exile) for the Palestinian people, in the framework of the coalition of PLO, the sole legitimate representative of our people. We have made through the coalition of the National Council, a broad series of major steps, including the interim national program which was suggested by the DFLP, and proposed it before the public Palestinian and the Arab and world opinion, and the Declaration of Independence, which draw the track of the major uprising and its targets, and draw for our people its national aim.

Disabling the National Council pushed towards failed solutions and sterile, bets adventures, and policies, which have proven after 26 years that they have only achieved national disasters for our people, when Oslo partners abandoned the National Coalition, and turned on the Palestinian national program and went from behind the people's back and their National institutions.

So, when we call for holding the National Council, we are different from those who want a council with who attend reformulate a new executive committee in favor of this faction or that, then, the Executive Committee be in a position of accountability, and that what deepens the factional and exclusionary policy for this faction or that, and spreads the illusion in the Palestinian national rights; as a substitute for the policy of the coalition of the national partnership.

At the meeting of the preparatory committee of the National Council in Beirut (May 10 and 11, 2017) we canceled the sole call for a national council with who attended, and we re-revive the national partnership that we devoted before Oslo, then, the parties have to meet on the first level of command , to prepare for a national council attended by everyone, taking into consideration this time, the state of division and the need to enter the Hamas and Islamic Jihad to the Council to end the division and restore the internal unity.

We are now in front of a formation a new elected national council workshop for all, on democratic foundations, that reflects the political and social map of the national and social forces in the ranks of our people.

So we agreed on the principle of forming by the election, which requires the formation of a national unity government f, so that one of its duties is supervising on the election of a new national council, at home 150 members and abroad 200 members, and agreeing on a definite formula where it is difficult or impossible to elect, and the Preparatory Committee of the Council should be concerned to make a political review, in favor of the restoration the unified national program, and to develop a plan to reform the PLO situations.

The new council elects a new executive committee that will elect its chairman, and a central council and specialized committees, and an independent management for the National Fund, to separate the finance of PLO form the PA to ensure the application of a transparent financial policy, under the Council's decisions away from the uniqueness and singling policy.

The new National Council, with its branched formations constitutes the new title for the unity of our people, and the unity of its political forces, and the unity of their national rights through a unified national program that responds to the benefit of our people and its national rights in the 48 regions, and the occupied territories in 67 and in the diaspora.

Any policy would lead to freeze and marginalize the Council, it aims to keep the division, and deepen the uniqueness and singling policy, on the expense of the internal unity and the principles of national partnership and internal relations that are based on dialogue and democracy, instead of the bloody conflicts and the policies of exclusion, marginalization and unilateralism.

* How do you evaluate the Palestinian government's decision to hold new local elections next May?

We have welcomed since the last time, the calling for local elections, because we consider the importance of the municipal and local councils to organize classes, and strengthening the role of civil society, and devoting the democracy and volunteering and serving the public interest concepts, and reinforce the steadfastness of our people in facing the occupation and settlements.

When the previous elections were canceled, we announced our opposition and called for the need to determine a new date for these elections and we refused in this regard the draft modification of the electoral law, in favor of the open-list (a list of one vote per voter without a program and a list represents the program), in favor of the closed proportional list (electing a program and a list of struggle for local programs under the public censorship).

With a new date for the elections, we announced our welcome and our agreement, and we call on all parties to participate in this democratic process, without any obstacles or boycotting, also we call for holding them in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, so they include all the occupied Palestinian territories, and a step towards ending the division and restoring the internal unity.

We still against the appointment of municipal councils by governmental decisions, because they cancel citizens’ rights to choose their representatives, and reinforce the spirit of bureaucracy, dependency, clientelism, corruption, and factionalism, and weaken the role of civil society and weaken the spirit of volunteerism and reinforce the spirit of retreat among our people, and the loss of certainty in the role of the official leaders, either in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip.

* Where is the Palestinian left today and are you still adopting the unification of the thought?

The Palestinian left is a democratic current that is permanently existed in the ranks of our people, in the PLO, in the management of the political process and in the field against the occupation and Settlement.

Since the DFLP has kicked off as a new armed Palestinian left title , it has occupied its role in the front row, in the framework of the Palestinian national movement and the Arab liberation movement and the international revolutionary movement since then, we have presented our vision for a project of a long-term popular liberation war, and then we have made our vision about the solution of the unified democratic state in the whole of Palestine and on the basis of equality of citizenship, without discrimination on race, religion or sex, and with the rapid developments we took the initiative to put up the ten points that we have developed to the interim national program that was adopted by the PLO and became the national program for all the segments of our people.

Also, we made our unifying vision in the mid-eighties on which we have restored the unity of the PLO in April 1987. With the major uprising we took the initiative to form a unified national leadership with Fatah and the PFLP and the Communist Party, and to the submission of draft resolutions to the nineteenth National Council including the declaration of independence as a program of the uprising. With Oslo's coup, we provided solutions to abort the agreement, and to declare the Palestine state and to extend the national sovereignty on the entire Palestinian territories, with the end of the negotiating calendar according the agreement (May, 1999).

In Cairo's dialogues we struggled for developing the institution for the benefit of a new electoral laws based on the proportional representation principle (in March 2005). Also we struggled for an electoral law for the Legislative Council, the local councils and sectors of society based on the proportional representation principle. Our contribution in the Dialogue of 2006, which concluded to the national reconciliation document, was prominent in the results and the context, where we have restored in the document the elements of the national program as an alternative to the Oslo Accords. Moreover, we were the initiators to end the division when we launched our initiative after a few days on the bloody explosion in Gaza, which turned into a hard foundation for all the initiatives that call for ending the division and restoring the internal unity.

In Cairo's dialogues (2011) we were able to draw the required unifying trends to take out the Palestinian cause from its crisis, and In the Central Council (March, 2015) we have succeeded in formulating resolutions that practically lead to drop the Oslo's agreement and abort the sterile bilateral negotiations file.

At the field level, the role of our military arm, the Palestinian National Resistance Brigades, is not less important than from the other parties and the sacrifices we have made in the aggression war on Gaza in 2014 were not the least sacrifices .

We say the same thing about our role in the social field, whether in the defense of the interests of teachers, or in response to the amendments to the Social Security Law, on the crisis of « the intifada», or the electricity in Gaza.

With this, we recognize that it is wrong to compare our capabilities with the ones of the split parties, Fatah and Hamas, which are controlling on the power and money in the West Bank and Gaza, and on huge international, regional and Arab budgets that allow to each one to exercise its influence in the society.

Despite the big difference and as a left we are building our influence in the community on the daily role of our fighters and engaging our leaderships in the battles of struggle with all what requires this matter of sacrifices and suffering. We were, and we will always call for the unity of the left-wing and nationalist and the liberal democratic forces in the national action, and in this field we have experiments, in the eighties against the great schism in Fatah and the attempts to dismantle and destroy the coalition of PLO; with the comrades of the Popular Front and the Communist Party, and the latest, the alliance experience which formed the Democratic coalition with the PFLP, the people's party, FIDA, and the initiative, in the municipal and local elections. Although the gaps that have marred the work of this alliance, we have tried to devote this alliance as a political alliance, because it is an urgent national necessity to make the balance in the arena of national action against the exclusionary bipolar polices by, Fatah and Hamas, and because the left is a democratic unifying current, and as the experience has proven is the one who owns the real solutions to the issues of our people.

We are in a national liberation phase, that needs our people to struggle until victory « to achieve the independence and state and the return» to the comprehensive national coalition, and democratic leftist front, progressive, united and liberal.

* The repercussions of the Arab position on the Palestinian cause from Iraq and Yemen, even Libya and Syria. Are there still a hope with the Arabic option and the national bet?

I've dealt with this in more than one book about the Arabic situations in the light of the developments in the region after 2011 in Tunisia.

I have stressed in my writings, which was confirmed by the events, that we are before an ongoing political path, that is moving in the general direction towards a comprehensive change in the region and what will meet the interests of our poor peoples, and transmit them from the state of repression that prevailed under the authoritarian regimes, into a state of democracy and social justice. This is what we are seeing in Tunisia, and in Egypt, and we are witnessing repercussions in Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and others. I stressed in my reading that these developments will necessarily serve the Palestinian cause. Perhaps the experience of Tunisia forms a shining example, how the Palestinian national cause occupied its advanced position in the interests of the political forces from different orientations. We have seen this in our repeated visits to this brotherly country and our meetings with the leadership of the country and the leaders of the political parties and civil society.

The same thing in Morocco, where the Palestinian issue occupies a central place in the political forces programs and in the conscience of the Moroccan people. This is what we felt in the festivals that we were invited to talk to them several times, in a very enthusiastic atmosphere in favor of Palestine, and in Egypt, as you can see the Palestinian issue did not come out of the interests of State and the people, in spite of the stressed relationship between the state in Egypt, and between Hamas which reflected negatively on the situation of our people in the Gaza Strip.

The first option is Palestinian, and on the Palestinian option base the Arab option rises.

So our choice in the restoration of the unified national program necessarily will impose itself on the Arab option, outside of Oslo's projects and the International Quartet and the road map plan and the other failed projects.

* Tell us about the real status of Palestinians in Syria?

Our people in Syria live a difficult conditions ,because of the crisis in the country, especially after the displacing of our people in a number of camps which have become a scene for clashes, for example Yarmouk refugee camp.

In the absence of the necessary care for the displaced, more of them were obliged to emigrate, especially the middle classes, which affected the social situation of our people in Syria.

To enhance the steadfastness of the rest, who are waiting eagerly for a chance to return to their camps and to restore and fix the war damage, we call on PLO institutions, especially the executive committee and its head, and the department of refugees affairs to take their responsibilities in supporting the displaced families, which have lost everything, the house and the source of livelihood.

We also call on UNRWA to develop its services to refugees in Syria, and in Lebanon, which should be commensurate with the size of the tragedy, and we are confident that someday, life will return to the afflicted camps, we derive this confidence from the durability of our people in Syria and their adherence to their camps, as they consider them as the social incubator that preserve their Palestinian national identity, also in them, they practice their activities for good life until the time of the return to homes and properties which they have displaced from it since 1948.

* Between the division, Jerusalem uprising is falling back, the subsidence of Palestinian field public activity and the growing of right influence in Israel. What is the way out for Palestinian cause?

Palestinian self-factor is still the main element in the management of the political and struggling process. Whenever this factor role grows, the balance will be between the interior factor and the external factors in the service of our people's national cause.

We are not at the beginning, we are in the heat of a battle that we have fought in it since dozen of years and we have our vision and our strategy policy.

We announced that in the comprehensive national dialogue sessions, in the meetings of PLO Executive Committee, in its central council, in the reports and statements of our Central Committee, and our political bureau and on the sayings of a large DFLP leading rang, on several occasions.

We call on abolishing the Oslo file and on the liberation from its degrading commitments for our people, and on working under a national political strategy, that we have talked about its content in a many stations:

1.- The annulment of the recognition of the Israeli state after it broke the mutual recognition agreement in 09/09/1993, under the Oslo Accords.

2.- Implementing the Central Council's decisions at its last session (March 2015), including stopping the security coordination, boycotting the Israeli economy, and promoting the popular resistance and the uprising towards a national insurgency against the occupation.

3. Internationalizing the national rights, and cause by going to the Security Council to demanding it to carry out its Resolution 2334 about stopping the settlement , and to submit a request for the full membership of the State of Palestine under resolution 67/19 and to demand an international protection for our people against the occupation and settlement. And to go to the international criminal court to try the Israeli war criminals for their crimes against humanity and against our people, in the settlement, the mass detentions, and the siege that is imposed on our people in Jerusalem, West Bank and in Gaza.

4.- Escalating the operations of the boycott of Israel movement (B.D.S) and delegitimizing the occupation and isolating the Zionist entity.

5.- Mobilizing the PLO and PA institutions under the new strategy, and putting new social financial and economic policies that serve the battle of liberation.

6.- At the Beginning of all ,ending the division and restoring the internal national unity and promoting the Palestinian street and its political forces.

* Trump, his promises, his statements, and his support how do you read them, and what are the mechanisms to stand against his policies, which are the most dangerous on the Palestinian Cause?

There is no doubt that the rules of the game have changed with the arrival of Trump's administration. And if few compared the situations now with the American White House solutions which were adopted by the last consecutive administrations, we will find that Jerusalem is no more the (capital of two states), but it becomes, according to the decision to move the US embassy to it, the capital of Israel . And the settlement is no longer an obstacle before the peace process. Also the Israeli bloody suppression is considered as self-defense against terrorism.

So, we are now before a new content for the files of the permanent solution which were proposed by the international quarter and the road map plan. So, we are before a new coup on the Palestinian national rights, in addition to the coup which was caused by Oslo accords and their extensions.

In the light of the change of positions and policies, president Abu Mazen and the official leadership must reconsider their policies and strategies, and it is time, to be sure, that the bet on the American role, is mere an absurd policy that that will bring only disasters for our people and its national issue.

We have to reconsider the policy of betting on the bilateral negotiations, and to return to the national unified program will it's details.

* What is your final message to Palestinian people today?

As our people is celebrating the 48th anniversary of the DFLP's start, which combined between (the weapon of policy, and the policy of weapon), and as our people is fighting against the Zionist project, in 1948 regions against the racial laws system, in 1967 areas against the occupation and settlement, and in diaspora who is fighting for its return and against the other alternatives, it is important to me to salute our brave captives in the occupation prisons and our martyrs' families who scarified a lot for their people, and at the same time, to salute the youth of uprising in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the Palestinian women who stands to fight the occupation in the ground, of course, also I should salute our steadfast people in Gaza Strip and in the diaspora camps and tell them that the road toward freedom and independence and return, passes through many obstacles and requires many sacrifices.

At last, I call the division parties to stop their conflict, and to return back to the national dialogue home, the home of national unity, and I call to abort the Oslo file, so we can come back together to the Palestinian Home, which is the coalition of PLO and in accordance with the sole unified national program.

 
Notes:
Translated by Al-Hourriah English Staff
 

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