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Fahd Suleiman: Arafat was a man of consultation and dialogue
November 16, 2017

Fahd Suleiman, the deputy secretary-general of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, described the late martyr Yasser Arafat, by saying: "Arafat had the ability to review and adjust his political options». He also said that "talking about Yasser Arafat is to a talk about martyrdom in its highest meaning, and about history, in its deepest meaning and moral lessons."

The DFLP deputy secretary-general was speaking at a large festival, organized by the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah) in the Sayeda Zeinab camp, south of the Syrian capital, Damascus, on the 13th anniversary of the departure of the leader Yasser Arafat.

In the name of the Palestinian national action factions and the PLO factions in Syria, Fahd Suleiman said: "Arafat was great that he did not need titles. He was the brother Abu Ammar and he was the wise man, who bore with his brothers in Fatah movement the responsibility of the Palestinian cause within a troubled Arab regional situation, and he overcame with them all the obstacles and difficulties, until they elaborated the Palestinian National Program (the interim program), the program of return, independence, and sovereignty. Under the banner of this program, he stormed the international organization of the United Nations, and addressed the international community with political eloquence ‘I come to you carrying the gun in one hand, and the olive branch with the other, so, do not drop the olive branch from my hand”.

On the leading role of Abu Ammar within the PLO, Fahd Suleiman said: "Arafat was a dialogue man and a consultative man; who maintains periodic meetings of the Executive Committee of PLO, and we were holding with him rounds of national dialogue for weeks and months, before we call for a session of the Palestinian National Council, to discuss the major and minor issues, and we enter the Council only after the national consensus between us and when the first Intifada broke out, we lived for months in dialogue until we elaborated the historic step in declaring the independence and the establishment of the Palestinian state in face of the Israeli and American eliminating projects”.

Fahd Sulaiman added: "When Arafat assumed the leadership of PLO, he adopted a method that was different from the way of Haj Amin al-Husseini, whose leadership was of an elite nature and not connected with the popular base, he also was different from Ahmed al-Shuqairy's way, who was restricted by the Arab equations, so, with Arafat and his brothers in the Palestinian leadership, the roots were spreading towards the popular base, and interacting with its national political pulse, also the PLO was freed form the control of the Arab situation.

Fahd Suleiman also added that: "Arafat was good at reading the historical moment and he had a political sensitivity, at the same time he has his own way of political expression, for example: when he left Beirut after the heroic steadfastness of the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples, he was asked to where he was going and he simply answered: ‘to Palestine’. He did not plan the direction of travel and did not speak geographically, but he spoke in the political meaning of the Palestinian response to the Israeli-American attack, and it was only years before the outbreak of the great national popular Intifada, which paved the way for us to declare the establishment of the independent Palestinian state, at the Palestinian National Conference in Algeria, on November 5, 1988.

Fahd Suleiman also said: "We disagreed with Arafat about the Oslo Accords, as he saw it as a way to the solution, while we saw it as a sterile project. But Arafat had the ability to draw tactics, at one point, and then redraw tactics, at a second, if he found fault with the first tactics and infertility. He did not adopt a single strategy, but he had the ability to build more than one strategy, and to propose alternatives if the previous strategy failed. This is the meaning of his eloquent statement at the United Nations: ‘I hold the gun in one hand, and the olive branch with the other’, so, if they drop the olive branch, the gun, the resistance, is the alternative. We see, for example, that when he collided with the Israeli intransigence and the American bias seven years after Oslo, he left the Camp David negotiations to reconsider the strategy and declare the second intifada as the alternative option for fruitless negotiations that do not provide our people with their right in an independent sovereign state, and in return to homes and properties for its refugees”.

The DFLP deputy secretary-general talked about the general Palestinian situation, and stressed on the importance of the agreement of 12/10/2017 to end the division, by calling for protecting it from the attempts to obstruct it and to lay obstacles in its way by the beneficiaries of division from the two parties, who have accumulated factional interests and gains, at the expense of the interests and rights of the people. Then, he added: "The maintenance of the reconciliation agreement, is by having a political will and transforming it from a bilateral agreement to a national agreement, through developing it in line with the national agreements, that were resulted from our national dialogues, such as the National Accord Document 2006 (the 4/5/2011 Agreement), in addition to the decisions of the Central Council (on 5/3/2015), and the outputs of work of the Preparatory Committee in Beirut (in January 2017)”.

Fahd Suleiman conclude by saying: "We are with one leadership, but this leadership must be the result of national consensus and partnership, and should be built on the basis of a unified program approved by our national dialogues in Gaza, Cairo and Beirut, and we are with a single gun, which protects our people from the aggression of occupation, as we are not a gradual nation-building project, we are still under occupation, and we are a national liberation movement, that its duty is to unite its forces on a coalition basis and to conduct all legitimate ways of struggle. Therefore, we do not accept that the slogan of (one authority, one command and one gun) to be an entry point for the policy of exclusivity and the policy of overstepping what is agreed upon, in favor of alternatives that are controversial and do not establish a solid national unity or a national partnership”.


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