Thursday, 28 June 2007

Atwan: Arabs should welcome Blair with rotten eggs & tomatoes

See many more articles from Arab language and Middle Eastern press at the
OURAIM Archive

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"A caller for peace or a war criminal?"
- on Blair's appointment

On June 28, the Palestinian-owned Al Quds Al Arabi carried the following opinion piece by Chief Editor Abdel-Beri Atwan:


"Choosing former British PM Tony Blair as the peace envoy
of the international quartet committee to the Middle East
confirms once again the insistence of the western states
and the US in particular on provoking the feelings of the
Arabs and Muslims and continuing to adopt wrong policies
which led to the current state of bloody chaos in the
Middle East. Blair, whom President Georges Bush wanted to
reward for blindly following his administration, completely
lost his credibility and is considered the most hated
person by Arabs and Muslims after President Bush.

"His name was linked to wars, lies, deceit and bias toward
the Israelis, their aggressions and their massacres against
the Palestinian people. The Arab and Islamic people can't
forget how Blair promoted the war on Iraq and fabricated
lies before the British parliament to mobilize public
opinion and get it to support his decision and send British
troops to partake in it... The person lied to his people
and misled them. He was the most eager among his peers to
engage in an unfair, illegal and illegitimate war. He can't
be a peace envoy in the same region that was afflicted by
his lies and their destructive outcome in Iraq, Afghanistan
and Palestine.

"This man should not be rewarded but rather tried before a
tribunal as a war criminal, for he has not assumed his
responsibility for the deaths of over 200 British troops
and over a million Iraqis along with President George Bush
and all of the gang of the neoconservatives... Some might
argue that Blair has a lot of experience in defusing
conflicts, one which he has acquired while handling the
Northern Ireland case... Some might also argue he was also
the most eager to find a solution to the Arab-Israeli
conflict and pledged more than once to work for the
establishment of a viable and independent Palestinian
state...

"Northern Ireland is not Palestine and Blair's role in the
first is completely different from his role in the second.
When he decided to knock on the doors of peace in Belfast,
he was prime minister and the British people were pushing
in that direction after the explosions reached the heart of
London. In the New Middle East, his role will be nothing
more than a mailman delivering messages and positions and
organizing meetings and conferences without enjoying any
real prerogatives. Blair remained in power for ten years
without ever giving the Arabs and Muslims anything
beneficial especially at the level of the Palestinian
cause.

"More importantly, he appointed Lord Levy - a British Jew
known for his strong relations with the Hebrew state - as
his envoy in the Arab region... During the Israeli massacre
in Jennin, I was a member of a Palestinian delegation of
four people which visited the headquarters of the
Ministers' Council (10 Downing Street) to meet with Blair
as a representative of the Diaspora to urge him to
interfere and use his influence to stop the massacre. I
remember saying to him after he avoided condemning Israel
and its crimes: "Mr. Blair, are you human like us? Do you
feel like us? Does blood run in your veins like it runs in
ours?... Don't you know that you the British are the reason
behind our ordeal?"...

"Blair answered me with his usual British coldness and a
yellow smile: "I can't do anything. America is the only one
capable of doing anything. I am going to Washington in one
week and I will use my influence on President Bush to solve
the Palestinian issue". Blair indeed visited President Bush
and didn't do anything for the Palestinians as usual but,
instead, to the Iraqis, since he sent them more bombs,
missiles, death squads, security mayhem and a dreadful
sectarian conflict... The Israelis warmly welcomed Blair's
appointment in his new position and the fact that occupied
Jerusalem was chosen as [the quartet's] headquarters while
most of the Arabs states remained silent.

"Both reactions summarize the meaning of this step and its
repercussions. The man started on a mission to sabotage the
region and spread destruction and chaos when he was in
power and now he wants to continue that mission after
leaving power. This is where the disaster lies. The quartet
which Blair will represent did not do anything useful to
the Arabs and Muslims throughout the last four years
because it was never formed to be successful..., but rather
to give the Arabs and Muslims the impression that the
American administration is determined to solve the
Palestinian problem as it was spitting its fires over Iraq
and its people...

"The Arab and Muslim people should raise their voice and
oppose Blair whom Bush wants to turn from a war criminal to
a caller for peace, thinking that these people are stupid
and have short-term memories. The only reception befitting
of Blair is with rotten eggs and tomatoes on his first
visit to occupied Jerusalem or any other Arab capital."
-Al Quds Al Arabi, United Kingdom

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

PALESTINE: Haniyah speech on internal situation

See many more articles from Arab language and Middle Eastern press at the OURAIM Archive

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Palestinian PM speech on infighting, PLO council meeting...


On June 24, the pro-Hamas Al-Aqsa TV carried a speech made by the
deposed Palestinian Prime Minister Isma'il Haniyah:

"...It has become evident from the bloody events in the Gaza Strip and
West Bank that this situation is an exact implementation of the plan
to topple the Palestinian national unity government and oust Hamas,
dubbed the Dayton plan after the US coordinator.

"This plan sets next autumn, October 2007, as a final date for holding
new Palestinian elections, dissolving the existing political regime,
and removing Hamas from most of the Palestinian Legislative Council
institutions and the government.

"Local, regional, and international parties were enlisted to support
and set this plan in motion with US financial backing, which totalled
$80 million, with Israeli approval and support, and with logistical
support by numerous parties to arm and train Palestinian forces. This
plan also seeks to renege on the obligations to reform the security
apparatuses, because there was a demand not to reform those
apparatuses.

"Therefore, when we started to discuss the restructuring and building
of a national security establishment, devoid of party affiliations and
personal ownership, the whole issue exploded in our faces. This is
because there is no desire to change this security structure, which
was established as a result of unjust agreements with specific goals.
When you as a Palestinian try to restructure or reorganize this
institution, you will face the same situation we did.

"Therefore, the Dayton plan sought to hamper reforms even within the
security institution, and to block the path before reforming and
restructuring the PLO. We therefore say to our people and our nation
that the events in the Gaza Strip were a result of harsh, painful
events, pressures, sanctions, and successive conspiracies during a
year and a half. These conspiracies spared no illegal, illegitimate,
and immoral efforts and means to go against the results of the
elections, sabotage Hamas's reign, and oust this movement out of the
Palestinian arena by any means and regardless of the cost.

"They sought to achieve that even at the expense of casting the
Palestinian people into the inferno of a domestic struggle, and even
if that meant accepting foreign support including money, weapons,
training, incitement, and guidance. All this against the Palestinian
people's choice. I therefore say with all forthrightness, the problem
is not between us and President Abu-Mazin nor is it between Hamas and
Fatah, especially after the Mecca Agreement.

"Yet the problem is between us - and we have the support of the
majority of the people - and a specific trend within Fatah, which has
gained de facto control of Fatah and the PNA and tied itself to
foreign, hostile agendas. This trend used the power of these foreign
parties to overturn the results of the election at any cost, because
it does not want to give up its special status, greed, whims, personal
interests, and its monopoly over the Palestinian decision-making
process and the PNA's reins of power away from law, order, and
legitimacy.

"For many years, we and our people had great proof of the actions of
this trend and the extent of the corruption and disruption it has
committed in the Palestinian arena. We were aware to which fate and
certain catastrophe this trend was leading our people and our cause.
The actions of this trend have become known and tangible to many of
our people inside the homeland and abroad.

"However, the astounding documents and concrete proof that we have
obtained over the last few days paints an even graver, uglier, and
more shocking picture than we had previously imagined. We are certain
that after they view these incriminating facts and astonishing
documents, all the wise individuals in our people and nation will be
surprised and even shocked at the extent of the disaster. Then they
will know which calamity has befallen our poor Palestinian people at
the hands of this trend.

"Now, I would like to discuss the PLO Central Council meeting. I do
not wish to address the legitimacy of the Central Council or whether
it is an elected body or not. I merely want to ask: Why the PLO
institutions are convened whenever we wish and are disregarded at our
discretion. This applies to the PLO Executive Committee, the Central
Council, and the Palestine National Council. When we need these bodies
to make concessions, to erase events, or to annul agreements we invoke
them and consider them the legitimacy.

"I wonder why the Central Council did not convene throughout the 18-
month siege imposed on our Palestinian people to discuss ways to face
the siege. Why did the Central Council fail to convene when the
symbols of Palestinian legitimacy were arrested by Israel? Why did the
Central Council not convene when late President Yasir Arafat was
besieged for two years in the Al-Muqata'ah? Why did the Central
Council not meet to discuss the assassination of President Yasir
Arafat?

"Why did the Central Council not convene to discuss the situation of
the kinfolk in the refugee camps? Why did the council not discuss the
sate of our people in the Nahr al-Barid camp, who are today displaced
and uprooted for the second time, and why did it not discuss the
military clashes that we have been witnessing there for the past
period? Why didn't the council convene to discuss the state of our
kinfolk in the Nahr al-Barid camp?

"Why did the council not convene as the Israeli enemy was
assassinating the leaders of the Palestinian people, most notably,
Shaykh Ahmad Yasin and Yasir Arafat? Why? Why? Dear brothers, it is
our right to ask why the legitimate bodies in the PLO were hindered.
Does the Central Council wish to convene as the PNC did? For over 14
years, more or less, the PNC only convened to vote on the annulment of
articles in the Palestinian National Charter relating to our
historical right to Palestine, and so far has not convened.

"Likewise, the Central Council did not convene for over 10 years, but
it did convene now in order to dissolve the legitimate government and
disrupt the PLC work. Why? Do we wish to invoke the PLO legitimacy
only to grant concessions to the occupation, to annul Palestinian
agreements, or to dissolve democratic contracts? I wonder if after
writing their statement and dissolving the government and the PLC, the
brothers in the Central Council took their pay and went on their way,
or what? I don't understand.

"Why, my brothers, did the central committee not convene to discuss
the state of our Palestinian brethren in fraternal Iraq, who are
facing what they are facing? Why? Why did it not convene to discuss
the fate of Palestinian communities worldwide? I tell you frankly that
the Palestinian people abroad are furious because they lost their term
of reference. Therefore, the Central Council discussed the matter and
there are some decisions.

"Today there is a talk that what happened was a coup against the
legitimacy, a coup against the legitimacy. I would like to ask all the
sons of the Palestinian people and nation: How is legitimacy bestowed?
Is it through the ballot boxes, democracy, and shura, as we did? Maybe
this is not the right way to gain legitimacy. Or is legitimacy
bestowed with US, Israeli, and Western consent? I ask: How is
legitimacy bestowed?

"Dear brothers, we and everyone else understood that legitimacy is
bestowed based on the people's will, through the ballot boxes, and
through free and impartial will without coercion on anything of that
nature. Based on this understanding we respected legitimacy.
Therefore, it is when we say a coup against the legitimacy. Secondly,
I ask: How can we stage a coup against ourselves? We are an important
part of the legitimacy; we have the majority in the PLC and in the
government; we also have presence in the political system.

"So, how can a person stage a coup against himself? People know
themselves best. We know ourselves best. We paved this long path, ran
in the elections, and endured all the difficulties and hurdles of the
issue so that we would become part of the legitimacy through
elections. So how do they now say that we staged a coup against the
legitimacy? Are the government and the PLC illegitimate and only the
Presidency and Central Council legitimate?

"Let us view the matters from all aspects. There are several
legitimacies, and we are an important part of the legitimacy.
Therefore, we do not stage a coup against ourselves. We, dear
brothers, have been patient and have endured, yet the situation in the
field deteriorated until it reached its present level. The Palestinian
people should feel today that we certainly want to protect the
legitimacy.

"Therefore, I am standing here as a prime minister and together with
me the ministers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip - they are not
ministers in the Gaza Strip only - in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. We
are here to preserve the legitimacy. This is a caretaker government
according to the law and the constitution. Dear brothers, I have said
time and time again that to me personally, the position of prime
minister is not equal to a single drop of blood of a Palestinian
martyr.

"Therefore, our brothers in the 10th government - which was entirely
with us as we had 24 ministers from Hamas and some independent figures
- upon the attainment of the Mecca Agreement, which they participated
in drafting, presented their ministries on a golden platter to the new
ministers and left. We did not stick to the ministries, waiting three
or four months to hand the portfolios and cars over to the new
ministers.

"We transferred these ministries in the fastest possible manner. This
is an indication that we are not looking for ministerial positions.
Brothers, we are not after ministerial positions. I tell you, if the
Palestinian people reach an agreement, and Hamas agrees with the
people in Fatah, the Presidency, or others, and then they say to me:
Brother Abu-al-Abid, according to this agreement we want you to go
home. I would tell them: Your wish is my command.

"Brothers, this issue is extremely important. Who now wants to uphold
the legitimacy? Those who breach the Basic Law and constitution and
hinder the implementation of some articles, or those who adhere to
them, saying, dear brothers, there is a PLC, a Basic Law, a
constitution, and existing legal procedures? Are these the ones
seeking legitimacy only to stage a coup against it, or is it those who
disrupt the articles of the constitution and issue decrees?

"I truly find it odd that eight decrees were issued over the past five
days. Eight decrees. I am surprised at President Abu-Mazin because he
is following the advice of those who surround him, drafting decrees on
a daily basis. No, it should not be done this way. There are many
decrees on the emergency government, the annulment of.... to the
extent that all charities and humanitarian institutions as well as the
civil society organizations must be reregistered all over again.

"May God help us. Apparently, history is to begin from this moment as
everything has been annulled. No, this is not right. Therefore, in
this regard, we would like to ask the question: Where is the
legitimacy? Brothers, you stand before a movement that scored a
victory in the field of resistance with the sons of its people. We are
proud of all our sons and all the resistance factions; the noble
factions that took part in the resistance and liberated Gaza, with
Hamas and the Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades at the forefront.

"We are proud of all the sons of the Palestinian people. You stand
before a movement that scored victories in the realm of resistance,
democracy, and rallying popular support. You are not dealing with a
marginal movement. We ask of you.... I call on His Excellency the
president, we ask of you to change these policies. This is a deep-
rooted movement and an original part of the existence of the
Palestinian people.

"If the Israelis and Americans believe that a little siege, a little
suspension of salaries, and some arrests of prisoners and deputies
will cause this movement to collapse and its star to fall, then I tell
you that experience has shown that the more pressures, crises, and
assassinations this movement has faced, the more its splendour,
honour, and prestige have increased.

"I would like now to tackle the separation of the Gaza Strip from the
West Bank. The talk now is that an Islamic emirate, a Palestinian
state, an administration will be established in the Gaza Strip. First
of all, we say clearly to all the Palestinian people, the Arab and
Islamic nations, and all those who love us and follow our affairs:
This is Israeli propaganda circulated by the Israeli media during the
past days to create confusion, saying: This group staged a coup and
wishes to set up an Islamic emirate: Hamastan, Taleban. All this is a
media spin to spread the culture of fear over this issue.

"We are barely capable of swallowing the idea of a Palestinian state
within the 1967 borderlines, let alone a state in the Gaza Strip. We
held a lengthy political discussion with all the sons of our people
until we agreed to the 1967 borders. Second, strip is an inseparable
part of the land of Palestine, and its people are an inseparable part
of the Palestinian people. We are those most protective of our
geographical continuity and our Palestinian existence in its cleanest,
purest meaning at this juncture.

"We are those most interested in adhering to the Basic Law and to our
electoral pledges to the Palestinian people. No one is thinking of
establishing an emirate, nor are these scare tactics.... Let's not
terrify the people by saying Iran, Syria, and I don't know who else is
involved. Rest assured that we are, as I said, part of Palestinian
social fabric, that the Gaza Strip will remain the beacon it has
always been and the symbol of heroism, dignity, courage, and the two
intifadahs, and that it has not given up on its people in the West
Bank or the Diaspora. Gaza and the rest of Palestine, God willing.

"We, dear brothers, in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and
wherever we are, constitute an integral part of our Arab and Islamic
nation. This is our strategic depth. Our strength is also the strength
of the Arab Republic of Egypt; our strength is the strength of Qatar,
Syria, Sudan, and Iraq. We are not against the sons of our nation at
all. This is our nation, our kinfolk, our broad base of support.

"We have had our political differences and have disagreed on some
issues, but we will not break away from our people, our nation, and
our homeland, nor do we think of an independent emirate or advocate
statelets or feudalities; quite the contrary. Therefore, the whole
discussion is basically circulated by Israel to terrify our people,
the sons of our nation, and the neighbouring Arab states so that
people would say Gaza is lost. Gaza has not been lost; it is in safe
hands and will remain a part of Palestine, God Willing. It is not
lost.

"The third point I would like to raise is with regard to the
separation between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Brothers, is this
something new? Is it only after the recent events that this divide was
created? The occupation has created a compulsory separation between
the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Can a Gaza resident reach the West Bank?
Can a West Bank resident reach the Strip? Only VIPs. Not all the VIPs,
after all we are also VIPs but.... There is a real separation.

"In fact, Gaza today is separated. By God, there is an occupation that
created the separation, be it geographical or other, but there is no
divide in our feelings, our nationalism, or our hearts and minds.
There is a separation that was created by the occupation. Many of the
Gaza residents in particular have relatives, daughters, and sisters
inside the 1948 territories that cannot come to the Gaza Strip. I have
three sisters residing inside the 1948 lines, whom I haven't seen for
more than three years. God forbid the Israelis should arrest them now.

"I wonder also who created this divide; was it the recent events or
the decisions that have been adopted at present? When we say that
those who wish to continue their work in the police forces or security
apparatuses will not receive their salaries, this creates a split
between the same people. When we say that all passports issued in Gaza
between this and that date are annulled, this is a divide. When
administrations and bodies are moved from the Gaza Strip to the West
Bank, this is creates a divide. When we cancel an entire government,
this is separation. So who is it that seeks separation?

"I am not searching far. Is it the one creating a divide through his
decisions, decrees, and procedures who is responsible for this, or is
it he who says: No, salaries should be paid to everyone? We say: Do
not fight the people over their bread. Therefore, I salute all the
officers and leaders in the police and other institutions who returned
to their work, disregarding political pressures, saying: We are the
sons of this country and this nation.

"Violation of the law. There is much talk today of the law and claims
that we are in violation of said law. Here I wish to discuss a number
of points: The law grants the president the right to dismiss the prime
minister; it is within his power to do so and no one disputes this.
The law allows the president to declare a state of emergency. These
are the president's powers, and we respect the law. However, the
problem lies in violating the law. Where did this happen?

"First, if the president declares a state of emergency there are
certain provisions: The first provision stipulates that such a state
cannot continue for over 30 days; no president can declare a state of
emergency for more than 30 day. The second provision stipulates that
if the president wishes to extend the state of emergency, he must
bring this before the PLC for approval. If two thirds of the PLC
members approve this, then it can be extended; otherwise, it cannot.

"The third provision - and this is the important one - says that if
the president declares a state of emergency, the incumbent government
- our government - is responsible for enforcing the emergency laws and
running the affairs of the homeland. This is the law. How was the law
violated? First, the formation of an emergency government; not only
declaring a state of emergency. There is no such thing as an emergency
government in the constitution or the law.

"Second, hindering the implementation of some articles of the Basic
Law that make it compulsory to appeal to the PLC, as the PLC itself
was disrupted. Third, dissolving the government and considering it non-
existent. This is also a violation of the law. Thus, there is a
violation of the law, not only of the law that is upheld by the courts
but also of the Basic Law, which organizes Palestinian political
affairs. Therefore, those doing this are in violation of the law.

"Another question: Where does the law stand on what is happening in
the West Bank? Our brothers looked at the Gaza incidents, made
decision and called them laws. We say that there are problems with
this law. Are the people in the West Bank not our kinfolk and our
people? What is the position of the law towards the utter desecration
of rights that is taking place? The arrest of PLC deputies, scholars,
youths, and the attacks on institutions and municipalities, the
replacement of elected municipal councils, gunfire, etc.

"Are all these events legal? Are they happening in the name of the
law? Are these acts in the West Bank legal? If the events the
transpired in the field here were related to the security institution,
the events in the West Bank are not. The security institution has
started to allow all manner of infringements in the West Bank. Even
the house of the PLC Speaker was burned down. Maybe some might say
that this was in response to what happened to the houses of Abu-Mazin
and Abu-Ammar in Gaza, but I stand here before the media and the world
and challenge anyone to go and see for themselves the condition of
President Abu-Mazin's house, which I have placed under special guard.

"Go and see the house of President Abu-Ammar. Is the complete
violation of institutions and municipalities, the arrests, the closure
of institutions, and all the events the occurred in the West Bank in
accordance with the law? Is this happening in the name of the law? We
therefore say: The situation and events in the West Bank must come to
an end, and level-minded individuals must intervene in order to end
this situation, preserve the unity of our people, and prevent us from
taking the events and procedures in the West Bank too far.

"No, the law should apply to all; the law - in both parts of the
homeland at this stage - must apply to all sons of the Palestinian
people - members of Hamas, Fatah, the Popular Front for the Liberation
of Palestine, and the Islamic Jihad, and citizens. The law should also
apply to the president and the prime minister. If we are to respect
the law, we must respect it in all its facets.

"The events in the West Bank constitute a dangerous violation,
infringement on rights, and a breach of the red lines. This is not
acceptable. We therefore tell all our people in the West Bank: We are
with you; have patience and faith in God, and, God willing, this will
be a fleeting hardship, and only the rights of heaven and earth will
remain. The issue of the assassination of His Excellency the president
and all issue pertaining to this. Actually, we can say this clearly:
Political assassinations are not part of our culture or our policy.

"The issue of President Abu-Mazin never was and never will be.
However, a recording is circulating showing youths building a tunnel
against the Israeli occupation some eight months ago; perhaps you
noticed that they were wearing winter clothes and had lit a fire, so
this happened in the winter. This was done eight months ago in the
northern Gaza Strip in order to face the Israeli occupation, and is
not related in any way to the president or to any plan against the
president. We never thought about this.

"We are men of honour who respect their obligations. We signed an
agreement, and we are partners to a political regime. We are not
backstabbers and never learnt how to do so. This is not our logic at
all. I therefore vehemently stress that this accusation is totally
false. Some people say that there is a recording and things to that
effect. We clarified our position; we maintain that these accusations
are false and that this tunnel was prepared to fight the Israeli
occupation.

"Hamas and the Al-Qassam Brigades carried out numerous operations via
tunnels, including Operation Dissipated Illusion. These tunnels are
built to fight the occupation and not against the president or any
other figure. So some people were angered by this false impression. On
the other hand, what can we say; when we were fired upon directly as
we entered through the Rafah Crossing?

"This was a direct assassination attempt, which martyred one of my
personal bodyguards, martyr Abd-al-Rahman Nassar may God have mercy on
his sole, and wounded my political adviser and other individuals
including my son, Abd-al-Salam, who was hit in the face. The brothers
who have the documents say that the issue has been exposed and that
they may present the offending officers to the Palestinian people to
tell them how the assassination operation was planned and carried out.
Why should we as a people, as a nation, as officials not be upset by
this? Why did we not take any procedures?

"As the members of the government - the national unity government -
were meeting to discuss the events in the West Bank and Gaza Strip,
shots were fired at the meeting hall; all the ministers, including the
prime minister and minister Sa'di al-Kurunz of Fatah who was attending
the meeting in Gaza, left the meeting while the gunfire continued. Is
this not an assassination operation? When an RPG is fired at my home
and the shells penetrate three walls while I am in the house, is this
not an assassination operation?

"Do we pause to think about an imaginary operation but do not stop as
Palestinians and as a nation to ponder real assassination attempts,
including confessions regarding the planning of the assassination of
former interior minister Sa'id Siyam whose bedroom suffered a direct
RPG hit? When projectiles are fired at the home of our brother Dr
Mahmud al-Zahhar and when many leaders are attacked, are all these not
preplanned assassination operations?

"Why did the people and the officials not raise questions about these
incidents? I therefore stress: We reject the policy of political
assassinations and will never walk down this path. We are merciful
towards our Palestinian people and will remain so, God willing. Of
course, our brother Dr Husayn Abu-Ajwa dedicated a whole hour to
discussing these events.

"Another issue is that we are part of an axis and the incidents in
Gaza are part of regional arrangements. This has also been exaggerated
by claiming that Iran is involved and other issues. These scarecrows
in the form of Iran, Syria, Qatar, and Egypt, all these are scarecrows
designed to serve US policies in the region and are an attempt to
weaken these opposing these policies based on the notion that there
are regional alliances.

"We therefore wish to note the following: We cherish all our ties with
Arab and Islamic state without exception. We have relations with the
Islamic republic in Iran just as we have relation with the Arab
republic of Egypt. We have ties with Syria just as we do with Jordan.
We have ties with Qatar just as we do with Algeria, Morocco, and deep-
rooted with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Did we take money from Iran
when the Palestinian people were under the siege and when we were
looking for money high and low?

"Yes, we did, this is something we do not hide. However, we took money
from many Arab countries; fraternal Qatar granted us more than $400
million; Algeria more that $100 million; Sudan more than $50 million;
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a while ago while we were still in a
unity government, had agreed to grant $0.5 billion to the Palestinian
people. We take money from everyone because we are a besieged,
destitute, wounded people.

"This is the Arab nation's duty towards us and we have the right to
claim this from our nation. But to claim that the issue has a
political aspects? I want to understand, how is Iran related to the
events in Gaza? Did it send aircraft that over flew Iraq and other
countries and entered this area? This is wrong, let's not use these
scarecrows. Events escalated and developed in the field until reaching
this point; people left headquarters.

"We are not affiliated with anyone and nobody owns us. We make our own
national decision, but take pride in our Arab and Islamic strategic
depth. At the same time, no one can affect our decision at all. Many
countries may not have liked Hamas's political flexibility in the
Mecca agreement, but this was our belief, which we followed without
hesitation. Therefore, we are not swayed by pressure from anyone; ours
is an equal, positive relationship with everyone.

"We are proud of these ties with all the sons of our Arab and Islamic
nation, and we thank them and their countries that stood by our side
and did not give up on us, welcoming us, our kinfolk, and our people.
Therefore, we reject viewing the matter in this context and ask that
this erroneous understanding be revised.

"Gaza and its internal security: It is clear that God has bestowed
upon us small measures of the security that was so lacking; we lacked
security for a year and a half. You can probably see this security
with your eyes just as the foreign media saw it when dozens of outlets
entered the Gaza Strip. We directed everyone to allow anyone to enter
Gaza, which is now wide open before all foreign media outlets, as we
have nothing to hide.

"Let them watch, monitor, follow, and convey to world what it is that
they see. There is now a security that was lacking. I now remember our
Palestinian people and media outlets that used to come to me saying: O
Abu-al-Abid, we are willing to eat just as long as you give us
security; we are willing to go hungry just as long as we have
security. Today, a measure of security is being restored. However, my
dear brother, I say: We do not accept partial security.

"We will not accept a secure Gaza Strip and an insecure West Bank. We
will not allow the security lawlessness to end in the Gaza Strip and
spread in the West Bank. We are all sons of the same people, and we
seek security in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and everywhere we
exist. However, we are happy that the people are sensing a certain
level of the previously non-existent security that was lost through a
predetermined plan.

"I met with officer and leaders in the police, before they received
orders to stay at home, they all told me that they are prepared....
one of the top-ranking officers told me: O brother Abu-al-Abid, we are
ready, willing, and able to work for the sake of our country and our
homeland. I also want to tell you that we used to receive orders from
our leadership - regardless of the level of said leadership - to
maintain the state of lawlessness and chaos until Hamas drops out of
the government.

"This is what all officers told me in a meeting; these were the orders
they received. Therefore the problem before was not a lack of fuel,
cars, and.... No, this was preplanned so that the Palestinian people w
ould loose their security. Engineer Salim Sabra was kidnapped for 15
months. We formed dozens of operation rooms in order to release him,
and told the security apparatuses: O brothers, o security forces, he
is in such and such a place; and they reply: Yes, ok, we will send
people, we sent people.... 15 months.

"Now the engineer Salim Sabra is at home among his family members and
children safe and sound, by the grace of God first of all, and then by
the actions of the Muslim reformists and of the Executive Force and
the Al-Qassam Brigades. Now we only have the case of the reporter
Johnston. Johnston has been kidnapped for a long time, and is being
held by a group of youths. We have announced out position condemning
and rejecting this abduction. I sent several messengers to these
youths, telling them: if you believe this action serves Islam, you are
mistaken; this harms Islam.

"If you believe this act serves the Palestinian cause, you are
mistaken; this harm the Palestinian cause. If you think this is a
proof of your manhood; it is not a sign of manhood to have three men
abduct and hold a poor, foreign, unprotected journalist moving in the
streets of Gaza. This is not an act of manhood. We therefore announced
that the journalist's abduction cannot continue, but the British
Government asked us not to use force in order not to endanger his
life.

"We respected the wishes of the British Government, but we employed
every means possible and went through all channels, including a
special channel from the Prime Minister's Office that met with them at
all hours, in order to remove this blemish from the pure face of our
Palestinian people. They kidnapped this journalist and paraded him in
an orange jumpsuit; today they even paraded him wearing an explosive
belt.

"This issue must come to an end. We will not allow the continued
abduction of the British journalist. This is our religious, moral, and
ethical commitment to guest in our land. Had he harmed us, had there
been reports of him spying on us, then there is a Palestinian legal
system and he would have been put on trial. But journalists attest to
the fact that this man worked and was.... Therefore, the case of
journalist Alan Johnston must come to an end.

"This is our commitment. This issue must not remain hostage to some
youths who hold beliefs outside the mainstream and objectivity of
Islam. We take pride in the fact that we are believers in objective
Islamic thought. We are those who spread light and not the edicts of
the dark. The Gaza Strip is lit up with the light of Islam and
Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa.... Isn't that right Shaykh Yunus? I ask God
to make you all beacons of good and light for all our people.

"We have offered protection to all institutions, properties, and to
every Organization of the Islamic Conference. We are of the opinion
that every institution in Gaza should be safe, God willing, and we are
willing to listen to any complaint about anything that happens to any
institution or legal, educational, charity, or political organization.
We are prepared to mobilize all people; we mobilized volunteers in the
thousands to organize traffic in the roads and to ensure security and
protection for institutions.

"We did not stand helpless before the threats of certain individuals
in the security apparatuses who fear for their salaries. We sent
thousand of volunteers to the streets. Therefore, we hope that this
security in Gaza will, God willing, spread to the West Bank and to all
parts of the homeland. But I also say that there can be no security
with the existence of the occupation; as long the occupation
continues, our people will lack security and we will not sense
security and safety unless the occupation leaves; and leave it will
from all our Palestinian land, God willing.

"The Arab League and the fact-finding commission: On your behalf and
on behalf of the Palestinian people, I denounce the statements which
slighted Secretary General of the Arab League, Dr Amr Musa. We praise
the role of the Secretary General, who has been in contact with us for
a year and a half. He has been in personal contact with us, and in
contact with the president and the leaders.

"The door of the Arab League has been open for all who wish to enter.
The role of the Arab League and its Secretary General is much
appreciated, as is their role in facing the siege. However, the
incapacity and the inability to make decisions were greater, true.

"Yes, efforts were made the convening of the Arab League at such
speech and the decision to form a fact-finding commission and to
launch an Arab-sponsored dialogue, we announce from here that we are
prepared to cooperate with the Arab fact-finding commission, and that
its first order of business should be to look into the sol-called
assassination of President Abu-Mazin.

"We are prepared to work with this committee, allow it the space and
atmosphere it needs, and supply it with all the necessary information
and files. We are ready for an inter-Palestinian dialogue under Arab
patronage; we have no problem with this. The final point, before I
conclude, concerns the Christian brothers in our country. First, our
commitment to the Palestinian and Arab Christian brethren is in
accordance with shari'ah. Praise be to God Almighty, who said: Allah
forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your)
Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly
with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.

"The commitment to our Christian brothers in Palestine is grounded in
shari'ah and in our ethics and patriotism. We have shared the homeland
and the same fate for decades. We wronged nobody. We wronged nobody,
and history can attest to that. By God, there are things I am unable
to say in public about their service to us and our service to them.
Therefore, because we are proud of this sector, the Change and Reform
list included one of our Christian brothers, Mr Husam al-Tawil, as an
independent member.

"In the 10th government, which was controlled solely by Hamas as it
was not a national unity government and we did not have any
commitments whatsoever, we were proud to have His Excellency Abu-
Ilyas, one of our Christian brethren in Bethlehem, as the minister of
tourism. He was a member in the Hamas-led 10th government. With regard
to the churches, they are under our patronage, under the protection of
the Palestinian people.

"The incident that took place has nothing to do with a church. As for
the Al-Wardiyah School, I will tell you who was behind what happened
there and who tore down the statue of the unknown soldier. They are
not connected to this. It was those who hold views different from
those of Hamas. They were not the sons of Hamas at all, and it was a
school, not a church.

"When I found out about this, I sent two distinguished brothers - Dr
Basim, his excellency the minister; Dr Muhammad Awad, cabinet
secretary; and our brother, Engineer Abu-al-Amir, his excellency the
minister of communications, to meet with Father Emanuel Musallam and
present the government's position, which rejects and condemns this,
and stress our commitment. We told him also: We are willing to provide
anything you need or want. Therefore, we should not break things up in
this way.

"I would like to send a message to the people in our beloved Gaza
Strip: First: I would like to stress that the siege will not last much
longer, God willing, and will be removed sooner or later. Second: No
one will be wronged. The rule of law is our goal and logic. This is
consistent with the general pardon we have declared.

"Third: We will not allow the merchants of death, such as drug
traffickers and thieves, to commit crimes. We have given the Executive
Force and the police clear instructions to launch a campaign against
the dens of drug dealers, and we are carrying out this campaign.

"Fourth: Any free, dignified, and noble person from among our brethren
in Fatah is safe and secure in the full sense of these words Fifth:
The same goes for the fraternal Fatah institutions. They are immune,
and will not come under any harm. We respect political pluralism, and
we are men of principle who understand what the equation is in the
Palestinian arena; we understand that we have a long way to go and
that the Palestinian domestic situation has fallen out of step. We
will extend our hand to any free, respectable, noble, and loyal man
who extends a hand to us.

"Sixth: We will not accept the notion of fighting people through their
livelihood. We will exert efforts to pay the salaries of the workers
and officials who are committed to their jobs even when their salaries
are not paid. Anyone who is committed to his job even when his salary
is not paid will find that we are committed to paying him his salary.
I also insist, however, that everybody receive their salaries, without
exception. We will not fight people through their livelihood. We will
not hold them hostage to political pressure, especially in light of
this siege.

"Seventh: We will strive to strengthen the spirit of national
reconciliation among the Palestinians - people, factions, clans, and
individuals - and work to solve all the problems and disputes and
settle the scores according to shari'ah and the law in a manner that
will correctly strengthen fraternal relations within the united
Palestinian people. Eighth: We are now studying the possibility of
legally registering and licensing weapons, with the exception of the
weapons of the resistance.

"Ninth: We will be on the lookout for those who attempt to profit at
the expense of the people's food; we will stand up against arbitrary
price hikes. Tenth: We would like to provide more freedom and fight
lawlessness. My dear brothers, o sons of the Palestinian people: I
hereby propose general political outlines for getting out of the
current situation.

"First, Palestinian legitimacies must be respected and protected. We
respect the president's legitimacy; we respect the legitimacy of the
Palestinian Legislative Council and the government's legitimacy. All
legitimacies must be respected. As for respecting one legitimacy while
doing away with another legitimacy, that is unacceptable. Therefore,
if we want to get out of our current situation, we must respect all
legitimacies, including the PLC and the government.

"Second, there is no other option except for an unconditional dialogue
in accordance with the principle of no winners and losers, no injured
party and no injuring party. There is no other way except coexistence,
and there is no other option but national unity. Shutting the door in
the face of dialogue means only one thing: seeking assistance from
outside against the Palestinian people. This will not have any effect
whatsoever, just as continuing with the siege will not help anybody
nor will it break our will and resolve, God willing.

"Third, the homeland must not be partitioned. We affirm that our
homeland and people - in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1948
lands, and in the diaspora - are united. Fourth, the establishment of
a national unity government based on national accord in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip.

"Fifth, commitment to the holy Mecca agreements. I hereby tell the
sons of our Palestinian people, our entire Arab nation, and the
custodian of the two holy places: We are committed to the Mecca
agreement and to a dialogue according to its principles. Sixth,
restructuring the security establishment according to national
foundations. Brothers, this is because the security establishment was
the source of the problems. It was the main reason and the essence of
the problem. The blowup was security-related, not political. On the
political level, we had coexistence; we had differences, and we
reached agreements.

"The blowup was security-related. This is why there is no other option
but to redesign the security establishment according to national
principles. I hereby confirm that we do not want the security
apparatuses and the security headquarters to remain outside of the PNA
framework. What we will not accept from others, we will not accept
from ourselves either. We say that the security apparatuses must be
laid on pure national foundations so that they belong to the entire
homeland and all patriots.

"They must not belong to any specific political party or any specific
group but rather to all the Palestinian people. Their mission must be
to secure the homeland and citizens, and they must be subjected to the
rule of law, operate under the supervision of the PLC, and carry out
the policies of the accepted government. Seventh, stop the all-out
campaign that is going on in the West Bank.

"Regardless of whatever differences there are, schools and exams must
not be disrupted. Education must be left out of the dispute. As for
the leaking of exam sheets, this is forbidden. I hereby ask the
security apparatuses in the West Bank and the legal system to pursue
the people who leaked the matriculation exams. Bring us those who
leaked the exams and harmed the education process. This move should
not target specific people, figures, parties, and institutions,
however, while exempting others.

"Eighth, during the incidents, sporadic transgressions took place
because nobody was capable of controlling the masses' emotions, and
things got out of control for a short period of time. We, for our
part, reject any violation of the law and any attack against public
property or other targets. We are bold enough to face these mistakes,
correct them, restore rights to their owners, and carry out our
religious and legal responsibilities.

"At the same time, however, we call for holding accountable those who
gave cover to the security apparatuses, turned the security
headquarters into centres used for torturing people, and allowed
houses and mosques to be destroyed; people, imams, preachers,
religious scholars, and university professors to be killed; houses to
be burned down; the sanctities to be violated; charitable societies,
NGOs, and Koran recitation centres to be attacked; the PLC speaker's
house to be burned; the houses of imprisoned leaders and martyrs to be
raided; and the local councils to be taken over in Gaza, in addition
to various crimes in the West Bank.

"Ninth, we hereby welcome the Arab League decision to form a
commission of inquiry into all the incidents, and we call upon it to
immediately carry out its decision. We are prepared to hand the
commission all the information it needs in order to succeed. Tenth,
stop all the harmful foreign interventions in Palestinian domestic
affairs.

"O brothers and sisters, sons of the Palestinian people. God willing,
we will uphold our covenant with God and uphold our pledge to our
people and nation out of loyalty to the martyrs' blood, to the
prisoners, and to the injured; out of loyalty to the Palestinian
people's unity and our territorial unity; and out of loyalty to the
resistance and mujahidin who bestow pride upon us. They are heroes,
heroes in every place and at all time and on every land on which they
walk. May peace and God's mercy and blessings be upon you." - TV -
Middle East, Middle East

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

PFLP on Palestinian situation

"[PFLP]: Fighting Over Jobs & Fictitious Seats Distorted the Struggler
image"

On June 23, the Palestinian-owned Al Quds Al Arabi carried an
interview with PFLP spokesman Dr Mahir al-Tahir, by Zuhayr Andraws:

"Dr Mahir al-Tahir, official spokesman of the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine, said in an exclusive interview to Al-Quds al-
Arabi on Friday 22 June that the Palestinian cause was going through
its worst stage since the fateful catastrophe. Al-Tahir added that the
Palestinian cause was much larger than Fatah and Hamas. He said: The
internal struggle between Fatah and Hamas is a struggle over jobs,
seats, and fictitious power, while the Palestinian people are under
the burden of the Israeli occupation.

"In reply to a question, Al-Tahir said that releasing the funds to the
emergency government would be tantamount to mere bribery. He added
that what was required now was a meeting of the secretaries general of
all factions to form an interim national command until the convening
of the Palestinian National Council. Al-Tahir said that since the
signing of the Oslo Agreement the Palestinian Authority kept the PLO
in the shadows, and hence we ought to rehabilitate the PLO as the
point of reference for the entire Palestinian people.

"[Andraws]: "What is your opinion of the formation of the Palestinian
emergency government headed by Salam Fayyad?

"[Al-Tahir]: "I believe that this is not the solution for the internal
crisis in the Palestinian street. I am afraid that this solution might
increase the complications of the situation, and might add water to
the mud. This is because the Palestinian domestic situation is deeply
divided, and we are now facing two governments: one in Gaza and the
other in the West Bank, while we all are under Israeli occupation.

"This means that we have two governments while there is a complete
Israeli control. Therefore, this Palestinian scene has become
unreasonable. We are in a dark tunnel, and the entire Palestinian
cause has entered a dark tunnel. Moreover, there is now a question
mark over the issue of the PNA in the light of the US and Israeli
rejection of peace. In fact the Palestinian cause has become
distorted. I mean rather than being a national liberation movement
confronting the occupation, we started an internal conflict over a
fictitious PNA, a PNA that does not possess any feature of
sovereignty.

"[Andraws]: "Do you support the proposal that the PNA ought to be
dissolved, and things should be called by their right names: The
occupation is occupation, and the resistance is resistance?

"[Al-Tahir]: "This needs to be discussed. In the light of the current
complications, the Palestinian arena is in a terrible condition. As
far as we in the PFLP are concerned, the basis is the PLO. However,
unfortunately since the Oslo Agreement the PLO has been rendered
absent and paralysed for the benefit of the PNA. We have reached the
stage that we do not have a serious PLO; we have become institutions
that do not meet. Also the authority of the PLO has received a blow;
the Palestinian citizen no longer feels that there is an effective and
serious PLO.

"At the same time, there is no real PNA; the PNA has also received a
blow; the members of the Legislative Council and the government have
been arrested. We are in a situation in which the unity of the
Palestinian reference point is threatened, and thus we really are in
an extremely dangerous situation. The Palestinian cause has never been
in a worse position than the one in which we are today. This is the
most dangerous stage in the history of our Palestinian people. The
entire Palestinian national project is in danger.

"After the elections for the Legislative Council, a power struggle
took place and we became a PNA with two heads. Security organizations
and a certain tendency within Fatah have worked to thwart the
experiment, and to place all kinds of obstacles in its way. On the
other hand, Hamas constituted the executive power. Therefore, we
entered into a destructive internal conflict, and the fighting, which
we saw and which disfigured the picture, took place. We engaged into
an internal conflict over seats and fictitious posts.

"Then a major mistake occurred when [Hamas] resorted to the military
settlement of the situation and the control of Gaza. At the same time,
the answer to this is not the dissolution of the government and the
formation of an emergency government, because this will increase the
complications and will not resolve the problem. We are facing two
governments, and we are facing a real danger of separating the West
Bank from the Gaza Strip. We are following up the US and EU statements
that they will lift the siege from the emergency government and will
release the funds; their undeclared aim is to deepen the crisis and
the domestic divisions on the Palestinian arena.

"[Andraws]: "In the light of Olmert's announcement about releasing the
funds to the PNA, how do you read the quadripartite summit that is
going to convene next Monday 25 June?

"[Al-Tahir]: "The basic issue that we ought to understand is that the
Palestinian cause is a political issue, and cannot be resolved by
bribing us with some money to deepen out divisions. The Palestinian
cause is a cause of national liberation par excellence. We have
rights, and Israel ought to recognize these rights and to recognize
the UN resolutions and the international treaties. These rights are
the withdrawal from the occupied territories, the implementation of
the right to return, and the withdrawal from Jerusalem.

"Through the latest experience, I firmly believe that Israel does not
want peace, and that it is supported in this by the United States.
Therefore, I do not think that the Sharm al-Shaykh conference will
lead to anything important. Also the Quartet and the Arab committees
will not get anything that will serve the interests of the basic
Palestinian cause. Israel would like to force us to capitulate on the
basis that it is a country that is above the law, and that no pressure
at all is exerted upon it.

"When a democratic process was established, a process that was
demanded by Israel and the United States, elections took place, and
after the announcement of the results and the winning by Hamas, they
imposed a starvation siege on the Palestinian people as a method of
political blackmail. Therefore, the international community shoulders
a great deal of responsibility for the situation reached in Palestine.
They have pushed the Palestinian people into a tight corner, they are
starving the Palestinian people, and Israel is on the rampage, kills
the Palestinians, and escalates the settlement process.

"Therefore, the international community really shoulders a great deal
of responsibility. I am not exonerating the Palestinian side, I do not
exonerate the Palestinian factions, be they Fatah or Hamas, but I also
do not exonerate the Arab silence, and the way that Arab countries
left the Palestinian people hungry and under siege for nearly one and
a half years. I have not yet heard about a siege imposed on a people
for practicing their democratic right by those who demanded holding
democratic elections.

"[Andraws]: "What is the solution to get out of this dilemma?

"[Al-Tahir]: "The solution is not by adopting measures and
countermeasures. We do not agree to the adoption of partitioning
measures by this-or-that side. The solution is by rehabilitating the
PLO as the supreme authority for the Palestinian people. This is the
uniting factor for the people at home and abroad. This is because we
really are facing the danger of dividing the Palestinian people and
squandering their unity; this is not only between those at home and
those abroad, but also among those at home. This is a very dangerous
issue.

"The solution is to convene an urgent meeting for the secretaries
general of all the national and Islamic factions, and to examine
deeply where we have gone wrong, where we have been right, what are
the reasons for what has happened, why we have reached this stage, who
is responsible here, and who is responsible there. A frank and serious
discussion should take place, in which the Palestinian people with all
their forces and the civil society institutions ought to participate.
This is because the Palestinian cause is greater than Hamas and is
greater than Fatah.

"Now the prevailing conviction is that there are two fighting sides,
and there are conflicts between them, while the Palestinian people are
standing by as spectators. The Palestinian people have great resources
that ought to get involved and play their role in protecting the
national cause and the national project. After the meeting of the
secretaries general, the issue of the PLO ought to be discussed. It is
possible to rehabilitate the PLO and form an interim national command;
therefore, the secretaries general can administer the cause until we
are able to convene a session of the Palestinian National Council.

"The Arab League and the Arab countries themselves ought to help us to
reach an agreement on our national unity. We need the efforts of the
Arab brethren and the Arab League. We have no alternative to dialogue,
because the military sett! lement and the formation of the emergency
government will increase the complications of the situation." - Al
Quds Al Arabi, United Kingdom

Monday, 25 June 2007

Hamas spokespersons criticise Abass's speech

PALESTINE:

Hamdan and Azzam lash out at Palestinian president’s speech

On June 20, the Qatari-funded Al Jazeera TV carried an interview with Usamah Hamdan, Hamas representative in Lebanon and Nafidh Hamdan, by Hasan Jammul:

“[Jammul]: “What is your reply to the accusations Mahmud Abbas made in his speech on the aims of what happened on the ground in terms of killings and so forth, in addition to his accusation of those who participated in what he called a plan and his rejection of dialogue?

“[Hamdan]: “In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. In fact, it is a long speech in which there are false and fabricated stories and a logic that has nothing to do with the logic of leaders and presidents. This is not the logic of a president of people or chairman of the PLO. This speech is not fit for a person in such a position. Also it is not proper for a president to close the door of dialogue in the face of a basic part of his people. He knows the weight and percentage of these people at a time when he is panting after a meeting with Olmert or the Israelis as noted at the end of his speech.

“He spoke in this speech about law and religion and accused others of treason. He falsely said what none can believe. Here I will ask questions whose answers are clear. Hamas won in the elections and formed a government and then a national unity government. Weapons were brandished against this government by the security services for one and a half years. Who carried the weapons? Did the government carry arms against itself or the security services which he protected and looked after?

“Here I want to stress that when Interior Minister Hani al-Qawasimah was named for this post, he was among the names listed by Abu-Mazin. When the government adopted the plan and he himself approved it, Rashid Abu-Shibak, secretary general of the ministry, obstructed it. He even issued a decision preventing the interior minister from entering any security centre without his permission. When the interior minister contacted Abu-Mazin asking him to either relieve him of his post or dismiss Rashid Abu-Shibak, Abu-Mazin rejected that.

“Therefore, the interior minister resigned. He resigned because Abu-Mazin covered the commanders of the security services who rejected a security plan that protects the Palestinian people. He lied and said the government carried arms against the security services. Regarding the story of the tape he claimed was sent to brother Abu-al-Walid, I want to say that one of the commanders of the security services gave him a fabricated tape.

“He called brother Khalid Mish'al and told him he had a tape. Brother Khalid Mish'al said: This is perhaps a fabricated tape, but please send it to me to verify things. Abu-Mazin has still not sent the tape. The question is: Why did he not send the tape? Is there really a tape or the issue is a mere media fabrication to justify a retreat on the Mecca agreement as dictated by the commanders of the security services and US Administration and perhaps regional quarters, in addition to Israel, with the aim of toppling the Mecca agreement after some had thought there would be no agreement?

“Let us draw a simple comparison between the language used by the head of the Hamas Political Bureau and the language used by the chairman of the PLO Executive Committee. The difference between the two languages is that the head of the Political Bureau calls for dialogue while Abu-Mazin rejects dialogue and calls for alienation. The head of the Political Bureau proves that mistakes are unacceptable while Abu-Mazin covers up mistakes.

“The head of the Political Bureau underscores the unity of the Palestinian people while Abu-Mazin personally asks Olmert to cut off fuel, electricity, and water supplies to the Gaza Strip. Today the senior negotiator in the PLO explained this in detail. To sum up, I ask: Why did the United States express support for Abu-Mazin immediately after he had turned against the elected government? What is the meaning of the call he received from Condoleezza Rice, congratulating him on the steps he took?

“What is the meaning of George Bush's phone call in support of him? What is the meaning of Livni's announcement that she asked the EU to lift the siege imposed on the government and the meaning of Olmert's statement that he will support the government and the president? Is this a national government? Is this a president who seeks the interest of the Palestinian people?

“[Jammul]: “Let me ask you about the main points he mentioned. These may shed more light on some aspects of the issue. He rejected dialogue and you replied to this. What is Hamas's response to his statement that Hamas in and outside the territories reached agreement with some regional parties on a plan to establish a black emirate.

“[Hamdan]: “With regard to dialogue, we stress our adherence to it. We thank the Arabs for the efforts they are making to restore Palestinian dialogue although his reply to these efforts was out of place. By talking about an agreed plan to establish an emirate of darkness, he tries to arouse the feelings of the ones who supported him. These are the Americans and Israelis. We stressed right from the first moment that what took place was not a battle against Fatah as proven by the fact that the Fatah leaders are now expressing all their opinions and positions in Gaza. Not a single Fatah centre or Fatah house was attacked in Gaza.

“They move. Even we accepted Fatah leaders' bail for some commanders of services who committed murder, and they were released. We clearly said the issue is directed against a security group which carried out the Dayton plan. He spoke about it and said there is an international security plan. It is a plan that tries to build a security apparatus that has complete loyalty to the ones who build it in order to subjugate the Palestinian people.

“To underscore this, he said at the end of his speech that he wants to change the proportional and absolute elections law. What does this mean? It means the entire crisis over the past one and a half years was due to electing the one the United States did not want. The elections brought Hamas, which wants to liberate all of Palestine. This is so while it was tailored for those who want to make peace with Israel at the expense of the Palestinian rights.

“Therefore, they want to change the elections law so that the one the United States wants and the one who is ready to live under occupation and accept the sway of occupation over his decision will win. Regarding talk about an independent national decision, I ask him: What is the national independent decision the United States and Israel support? What national independent decision leads to the abduction of 100 Hamas's men in the West Bank in five days and to 450 attacks, includ ing 150 attacks during which libraries, educational centres, schools, and social institutions were burned? Is this the national independent decision? Is this the law or order he is talking about?

“[Jammul]: “In his speech, he also spoke about what is being concocted abroad to establish a state with interim borders and about the postponement of the issue of refugees' return. There were almost direct accusations in this regard.

“[Hamdan]: “He specifically accused Ahmad Yusuf, adviser to the Prime Minister. I frankly say we said right from the beginning that the paper distributed by a European state was in the form of ideas which we as a movement rejected in a clear statement we issued. We sent a copy of our rejection to him and stressed to him during our dialogue in Damascus that we reject a state with interim borders as this conflicts with the national project in which we believe.

“I wonder why he is trying to tell fabricated and false stories. The answer is simple. It is because he cannot tell the people the truth as it is. He, for example, talks about an attack on the house of Abu-Ammar. We were the ones who protected Abu-Ammar's house. Mrs Suha al-Tawil contacted Brother Khalid Mish'al asking him to ask Hamas to protect the house from the mob who tried to loot it.

“[Jammul]: “He also spoke at length about attacks on churches.

“[Hamdan]: “By speaking about churches he tries to trade with the people's feelings. Our Christian people know Hamas's position. All know what Hamas does for them. This is not a favour done to them; they are part of our people and have the same rights and duties. Christians are not an alien part of our people in order to alienate them. They are a basic part of the national Palestinian fabric. Some of those who attacked the church were arrested while others are being pursued. They are not from Hamas. On the contrary, we believe that we are responsible for protecting churches in the same way as we protect mosques and both private and public establishments.

“[Jammul]: “He said there will be no dialogue with Hamas, considering the latter coupist, takfiri, and murderous. He, however, set some conditions like ending the coup, apologizing to the Palestinian people and the PLO, and returning the seized headquarters to the new government. What is Hamas's reply? Where are the Palestinians heading? Will Gaza be completely separated from the West Bank? By the way, President Mahmud Abbas said sedition will not be transferred to the West Bank.

“[Hamdan]: “Let me briefly say that his statement that the sedition will not be transferred to the West Bank is part of the lies he tells. There were 450 attacks last week and more than 120 brothers were kidnapped. We do not know where they are. They were kidnapped by the security apparatus gangs which we tried to stop several times. Some 150 establishments were burned and attacks are continuing. He is the one separating or trying to separate Gaza from the West Bank.

“We insist on the unity of the Palestinian territories not only in the West Bank and Gaza, but Palestine from the sea to the river. We insist on the unity of the Palestinian people not only in the West Bank and Gaza but also everywhere. We will not accept the sick attempts to accuse us of being behind this. Those who signed agreements in Geneva ceding the right of return, those who negotiated the way to cede part of Jerusalem in the Abu-Mazin-Beilin document, and those who divided the Palestinian territories into the 1967 land and A, B, and C areas are the ones who sacrifice land and squander rights, and not Hamas, which is offering martyrs.

“We believe that talk about closing the door to negotiations is a sign of weakness and fear of the US-Israeli conditions. We even believe that Abu-Mazin is afraid of the Arab fact-finding committee because what we will present to this committee will reveal many of the details which we did not want to reveal or talk about. Hamas is open for negotiations without conditions. We will not accept the imposition of any conditions on us in order to hold dialogue with our people.

“We are part of these people and even a majority among them and none can cancel us or our people whether he wants to do so upon his own decision or upon regional and international dictates and submission to the Israeli and US decision as frankly expressed in the media and elsewhere.

“[Jammul]: “Thank you, Usamah Hamdan, representative of Hamas in Lebanon. As a follow-up on this issue, I have with me Nafidh Azzam, a leading figure in the Islamic Jihad movement. How would you comment on what came in Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas's speech and Usamah Hamdan's reply?

“[Azzam]: “In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. Much of the speech spoke about what happened in the Gaza Strip. There were other points which President Abu-Mazin said were the outcome of what happened. We do not want to get into the details of the events which took place, but we may have reservations about some points mentioned in his speech like the general rules made about universities, schools, and mosques by saying they spread darkness.

“There are perhaps some mistakes but positions should not be generalized on the basis of some mistakes as seen by President Abu-Mazin. In general, the Palestinian territories are living a complicated situation as a result of the painful incidents which took place in Gaza and the West Bank and the subsequent decisions and measures. The Palestinians are living an extremely difficult and complicated situation. Israel and the United States are trying to exploit this.

“[Jammul]: “Let me ask you about some specific points about what happened and what President Mahmud Abbas said. The president spoke about a plan Hamas in and outside the territories approved in cooperation with some regional parties. What do you think of this?

“[Azzam]: “The brothers in Hamas can respond to this. If President Abu-Mazin has information and evidence, he can present them and the brothers in Hamas can respond to them.

“[Jammul]: “With regard to Gaza plan, he also accused Hamas. But do you in the Islamic Jihad movement think there is a plan to form militias and establish a black emirate? Is there a takfiri situation or other such things as the president mentioned in his speech? Since you are living in Gaza, do you see such things on the ground and are you afraid of the consequences?

“[Azzam]: “We live the situation on the ground and we are afraid that Israel might exploit this situation and its repercussions. Israel today killed six Palestinians. Today six martyrs fell. There is also incursion into some areas in the Gaza Strip. Areas in the West Bank are also raided. The United States tries to exploit this situation. The most serious result of the regrettable incidents which took place in Gaza and the West Bank was separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. The United States and Israel are trying to exploit this situation.

“They are trying to exploit Palestinian division and the bloody conflict among them in order to deal more blows to them and to weaken the resistance and confuse the Palestinian arena in general. We emphasize the need to be alert to this. Regardless of how we feel about what happened, we must give precedence to wisdom and reason. The Palestinian arena cannot be ruled except through accord and no group can cancel another group. The national interest requires that there should be accord in the Palestinian arena.

“[Jammul]: “Nafidh Azzam, a leading member of the Islamic Jihad movement in Gaza, thank you very much.” - Al Jazeera, Qatar


[Via mideastwire.com/ ]

Monday, 18 June 2007

PALESTINE

Hamas leader Khalid Mish’al's press conference on Hizbullah TV channel


Hezbollah’s TV Channel Al Manar broadcast a news conference held by Hamas Politburo head Khalid Mish’al on 15th June:

“...[Mish'al]: In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Thanks to God and may God's peace and prayers be upon Prophet Muhammad and all members of his family and friends. I pray to God to show us the right path and lead us to it, and show us the wrong path and divert us from it. Thank you, brothers and sisters, for your attendance. The event that occurred over the past few days is certainly major and significant. Normally, small events urge people to reshuffle their cards, so how about major events?

“We are talking to you now with full transparency and frankness and we are truthful with ourselves, our people, our nation, and above all with Almighty God. This is because we are held accountable before God for every small or big deed, and also because He knows us inside out. We think of Him before any other human being, because we hold inside us a religious, national, fraternal, and moral faith. I am directing my talk to those who reshuffle cards, make hasty! decisions, or deliberately misinterpret what has taken place.

“Some simply interpret what happened by saying that Hamas is rushing to establish a state in the Gaza Strip and it wants to separate Gaza from the West Bank. A statement of this sort should be for simple-minded people. Even if the idea of partitioning the homeland were acceptable, no wise person would believe that a state could be established in an area of 360 square kilometres, because it would become a big prison, the biggest prison in history and in the world.

“This cannot be true, as we reject the partitioning of the homeland. Gaza is not for Hamas, neither is the West Bank for Fatah. Gaza and Hamas are part of the homeland, which is for the entire Palestinian people. Neither Fatah nor Hamas is monopolizing the homeland. There could be some antagonist international parties, especially the Zionists, who are attempting to play this tune in order to corner Hamas in Gaza, not out of giving the Strip as a present to Hamas but out of strangling and isolating it.

“This type of thinking is out of the question and will not be realized, assuming that there are sides that are plotting against us and against our people in this regard. The homeland cannot be partitioned and nobody can take a piece of this homeland. The homeland is not for one particular party, but it is for all. We in Hamas respect the brothers in the Fatah Movement. This movement is one of struggle that has a national and struggling history, which we respect because its strugglers are our partners in the homeland, the resistance, the two uprisings, the course of struggle, and the national project. Before the measures that were taken by brother Abu-Mazin we were partners in a national unity government.

“The problem is neither with Fatah nor Abu-Mazin. We respect Abu-Mazin as a person, because of his rank, and for his legitimacy. Nobody can question his legitimacy. He is an elected president and we dealt with him and will continue to deal with him at present and in the future. We cooperated with him on many occasions and will continue to cooperate with him for the sake of national interests. It seems that the crowd of correspondents has heated the atmosphere, or is it because of the events?

“Brothers and sisters, the Hamas Movement has no intention to control the Palestinian Authority or to carry out a coup against the Palestinian political system. When we moved to assume the authority, we approached it through the widest door and by the most legitimate means; namely, the elections of early 2006. Some have accused Hamas of turning away from the legitimacy, and I wonder how this is true since it is part of the legitimacy. Hamas does not monopolize the legitimacy. Brother Abu-Mazin has legitimacy similar to Fatah, Hamas, the struggling groups, the Palestinian Legislative Council, and the national unity government.

“We are part of this legitimacy, so how can we stage a coup against ourselves? Normally, those who seek to carry out a coup are those who do not trust their people and masses. Frankly speaking, we have no illusions about enjoying authority and sovereignty as we are still under occupation. Our authority lacks sovereignty and the enemy is preventing us from establishing it. The enemy destroyed the Palestinian Authority and its security agencies. It is currently occupying and desecrating the entire West Bank and besieging the Gaza Strip; that is, the Strip is under the umbrella of occupation, even after its military withdrawal and removal of settlements from it.

“Accordingly, we do not have such illusions, and reality refutes what some have been claiming that the ongoing fight is for power and that Hamas is happy to see itself in the position of authority. In the past, there were people who were happy about the Palestinian Authority's sovereignty, but when Hamas formed the government they started to claim that it lacked sovereignty. I would like to emphasize that we lacked sovereignty before and after Hamas's assumption of power, because we are still under occupation.

“What we have is an internal affair that we can tackle, not that we are fighting to win power and establish a Palestinian state. It is too early now to establish a Palestinian state because such a stage follows liberation. Unfortunately, the stages were mixed and upturned, and we are still suffering from this mixing of priorities. Which is first, establishing the state or achieving liberation? I say liberation comes first. What happened is that we came to power with the presence of a fait accompli situation. There was an authority with which we dealt for the sake of serving our people and continuing the resistance project until liberation.

“Therefore, what has happened in Gaza? What happened in Gaza in brief is that it was an emergency measure to deal with a state that wanted to impose itself on everybody; that is, imposing itself on our brothers in the Fatah Movement and on the national project through bullying us with the help of an external factor, of which I decline to go into details, mention names, and reopen wounds.

“This party has always been deriving strength from this foreign external factor, the details of which you all know, in order to abort the national unity government as it did with the Hamas government before, and to foil the Mecca Accord - the accord that we rejoiced and thanked God for it, and on whose basis we were able to form the national unity government, halt internal strife, and stop the bloodshed. We reinforced the Mecca Accord by forming the government, but the obstacles that remained unsolved were the security file, the partnership, completing the reorganization of the Palestinian house vis-A -vis the PLO issue, and how to maintain a government that is capable of assuming its powers.

“It is not right that the government remains on one side and the tools for maintaining security remain on the other. The independent interior minister resigned after one month of his appointment when he discovered that the security agencies do not obey the government's orders. Frankly speaking, our people have been suffering for years from the occupation; and, internally, they have been suffering from the chaotic security situation.

“The people elected Hamas for many reasons, including their desire to have it control internal security. There has been a group of people who sought to deprive our people of such security through warlords, chaos, and other matters. I am confident that this constituted a burden on the shoulders of the people and on the shoulders of our brothers in the Fatah Movement and its institutions, which we respect. Accordingly, the tackling of this matter was a must for the benefit of the people and their interests.

“The checkpoints and the security towers required a solution because time was passing and we were in a whirlpool -a whirlpool of establishing a state of calm, reaching agreements, and breaking the state of calm by the eruption of new waves of internal strife. This was the case until we were exhausted and the interests of our people were harmed. It falls within our people's interest, not within one particular group's interest, to maintain the people's security. Imagine how our people can withstand the calamity of the occupation together with the chaotic state of security where an individual cannot feel that his house, car, and money are secured!

“I said it several times, and I conveyed it to Arab officials that the security file is the cause of the crisis, and is the one that ignites it every time. The new crisis erupted when the consecutive acts of killing took place. We were forced to take this emergency measure. We did not want to take it but we were forced to do it. This crisis occurred during the preparations for a comprehensive national dialogue in Cairo, after the arrival of delegations of many Palestinian groups inside and outside the homeland to prepare for a comprehensive meeting in the second half of this month, June.

“We were looking forward to reach a real accord and lay our hand on the core issue that weakens our unity, the interests of our people, and our internal accord; namely, the security file. Therefore, we had no alternative but to adopt this kind of measure. Brother Abu-Mazin, may God forgive him, took a measure, as you have witnessed, that dissolved the government and dismissed the prime minister. I do not want to discuss the legal and illegal aspects of this measure, of which you are aware.

“Nevertheless, the legal aspect of this measure is that the president has the authority to declare a state of emergency, but the body to manage the internal situation in a state of emergency is the current government, not a newly formed emergency government, as the law states. However, the differences are not over the legal aspects, because the Palestinian problem far exceeds the differences over legal matters or legitimacy issues.

“There is the law that we all refer to; brother Abu-Mazin and ourselves have legitimacy, without one side outbidding the other. What we are really facing is a Palestinian crisis, and what brother Abu-Mazin has done does not tackle the issue. Additionally, keeping a government in one part of the homeland and forming an emergency government in the other part will not solve the problem. There is certainly a crisis and division in the Palestinian arena, a reality that, regrettably, we do not ignore.

“It is a regrettable situation, the Palestinian crisis and division are both regrettable, similarly is the Palestinian infighting. Referring to the Palestinian people, Dr Ziyad Abu-Amr, the minister of foreign affairs of our national unity government, said: "If we put these people in a corner and cut off of all supplies from them, including financial support," under such circumstances brothers become unable to tolerate each other.

“Accordingly, I hold the world community mainly responsible for the deteriorating internal Palestinian situation, without excusing ourselves as Palestinians from shouldering our responsibilities. The world community that remained silent about Israel's crimes for many decades, ignored Palestinian suffering, and did not help our people to establish their state, liberate their land, regain their rights, or end occupation.

“What it did was merely to scrutinize our humble options towards defending ourselves and resisting occupation. This world community reversed its democratic values when it penalized the Palestinian people for electing Hamas. It did not respect democracy or the right of people to resist occupation and liberate their occupied territory. It also did not respect the national accord and the national unity government. This community did not respect either the Hamas government or the government that included members of Fatah, Hamas, and the majority of Palestinian groups.

“Following the Mecca Accord, the world community insisted on rejecting the national unity government, maintaining the siege, refusing to deal with our people, and discriminating between ministers. Some parties of the world community, particularly the US Administration and especially the Zionist entity, sought to ignite Palestinian sedition through supporting one team with money and weapons against the other.

“The world community, including the US Administration and the Zionist enemy, are held mainly responsible for our internal Palestinian crisis, notwithstanding that our Palestinian people are also held partially responsible for it. Thus, we have to be frank in order to solve the problem. Therefore, what is the solution? The measures taken by one side against the other do not lead to a solution. We were able to solve the security file, not by organizing the agencies but by removing the obstacles that hampered finding the right solution.

“Besides, the Palestinian crisis and divisions require also a real and radical solution. No one should turn his back against the other. What we need is a Palestinian dialogue under Arab patronage to include us on one side and the brothers in Fatah and brother Abu-Mazin on the other. I made several contacts today with a number of Arab leaders and officials before their ministerial meeting in Cairo. I also contacted the Arab League secretary general and put them in the picture.

“I told them that the Arabs should not be part of the problem but part of the solution and should patronize serious dialogue between us and the brothers in Fatah and brother Abu-Mazin in order to solve the current crisis by laying our hands on the real issues so that we will not repeat the scenario of reaching agreements and breaching them soon after. This dialogue should be based on the principle that the homeland must not be divided; that there should be a central government to manage Gaza and the West Bank, under the concept that this government and homeland is for all.

“It should also be based on the fact that there is no real crisis between Fatah and Hamas as two organizations. I explained the roots of the crisis, focusing on reaching a consensus on this view and solution. I told the Arab officials that there are two main issues which should be resolved during this direct dialogue between us and our brothers in Fatah, including brother Abu-Mazin in his capacity as the president of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO chairman as well as his rank in the Fatah Movement.

“These two issues are: First, the security file, which was the cause of almost all previous events. We asked for resolving this issue following the Mecca Accord and we discussed it with brother Abu-Mazin, who made some progress in this regard. However, there were parties that prevented him and the national unity government from solving the security issue. What is required is what we said in the past and continue to repeat, which is to restructure the Palestinian security services to be national apparatuses that are formed on patriotic and professional basis and not on a partisan and factional basis.

“They should neither be dominated by Fatah nor Hamas and remain far away from the quota principle, in order to avoid dividing the security agencies into divisions dominated by Hamas in Gaza, and others dominated by Fatah in the West Bank. We are seeking to have national apparatuses formed on professional bases to perform the duty of protecting the Palestinian people and their interests -agencies that should have national terms of reference and operate under the Palestinian Government's orders within frameworks that we agree on, such as a national security council or other related matters.

“Brother Abu-Mazin, the prime minister, and all of us are responsible for solving this security problem. This is what is required, and Hamas is ready to walk along this path. I am declaring this before the media as I did through my political contacts. This is not related to the fact that Hamas has a different position in Gaza today and wants to monopolize the situation. We want the security agencies to serve all sides, to have national terms of reference, and to remain distant from quotas or partisan and factional bases.

“The second important issue is how to run our internal affairs and what political tool we have to use. Putting aside all the formulas that have been prepared, we must have a national accord or unity government mainly by agreement between us and the brothers in Fatah and brother Abu-Mazin, and later with all other forces. We all need a national unity government, on whose details, prime minister, type, and duties there should be a consensus. This is a national responsibility. We are standing at a historical crossroads; the homeland and the Palestinian Authority cannot be partitioned since we are all partners.

“The authority is an honour not a profit particularly since we are still under occupation and lacking sovereignty. The path is long and our real battle is manifested in struggle since we are a resistance movement and will use all political and struggle means until we achieve our national project. This is our view. I made several contacts today, as I mentioned earlier, and conveyed this view to those I contacted. We had contacts with some Palestinian parties and discussed this subject with them.

“We will pursue our Arab and Palestinian deliberations during the coming days, God willing. We also had some international contacts with parties concerned with what is happening and about Hamas's view. We clarified our view to them extensively. While the Arab ministerial conference is being held in Cairo now, I wish that it would take a responsible and sound Arab stand that provides an umbrella for an intra-Palestinian dialogue aimed at reaching a Palestinian consensus.

“I explained that there is no need to use the language that supports the legitimacy of one side, but rather the support of the Palestinian legitimacy that comes to power through democratic elections. This is something that we advocate. Concerning the Palestinian public, which represents all the Palestinian people not only Hamas, it is in reality the Palestinian masses. This public is the main body and Hamas is only a part of this body. Hamas does not want to usurp power, as I explained before, but we were obliged to take such a measure.

“I would like to reassure our people inside and outside the territories that we are loyal to them and to those whose interests were harmed, not deliberately, during this regrettable strife that we stand on their side to compensate them for their losses. They are great people, of which we are proud and will always be on their side, God willing. We definitely do not approve any misdeed that has fallen to them.

“Concerning my brothers in the Hamas Movement, I would like to tell them not to think that this is the battle that we have been preparing ourselves for, but rather an emergency measure to tackle a chronic and deteriorating issue; that our real and only battle was and will continue to be against the occupation until it leaves our territories. My brothers in Hamas, be guided by this compass and behave with high standing as we have been accustomed to seeing you. Thanks to God, the steps that were taken, including the release of all our brothers, even those who did us wrong, fought against us, or those on whom we still have question marks, have been accomplished.

“Hopefully we will be able to spare Palestinian blood with the help of God. Our brothers in Fatah and all other groups are our partners and this is the language that should prevail. I call on our brothers in Hamas to be more humble and peaceful with their brothers and to be extremely humble before God Almighty. We want you to be vigorous in front of the occupation and humble before God; peaceful with your brothers in Fatah and the other forces within real brotherly ties.

“There are some points that are in the process of being tackled, yet there are some mistakes, which are being rectified. I want to frankly ask my brothers in Hamas not to hoist the flag of Hamas on official Palestinian establishments, as these establishments do not belong to Hamas. These flags can be hoisted only on Hamas's centres side by side with the Palestinian flag. The Palestinian flag should be hoisted only on national establishments, although it came to my knowledge that the Palestinian flag was hoisted with the flag of a certain political party in the past. Thus, we want to correct things.

“The enemy that is watching and claiming to be polite and uninterested in interfering in our affairs; thus, trying to play with our nerves and feelings and sometimes misleading us, is originally the main source of disasters that befell our people. This enemy that has been seeking to add fuel to the fire and ignite seditions can neither fool us in Hamas nor in Fatah. All sincere and loyal persons cannot be deceived by the Zionist enemy's ploys.

“Hamas does not care whether the events have benefited the enemy or not, because it knows well its duty for national struggle and how to steer the battle against the occupation. The enemy should not even think of exploiting our internal differences, as it did in the past, because we will not fall into its trap. We are definitely facing internal difficulties because we are running a national administration under occupation.

“The circumstances are complicated because we do not have freedom; but our national project and that of liberation and resisting occupation remain to be our main bases. Let the enemy behave as it wants and we will behave according to the Palestinian national interest. My brothers in the Fatah Movement, concerning the West Bank, someone may say that what you have done in Gaza will be repeated in the West Bank.

“What happened in Gaza was not directed against Fatah, and I swear to God that the Gaza events were not directed against the Fatah Movement, our partner in struggle and of whose history, leaders, and figures we are proud. Our crisis is not with Fatah, as I said earlier, because you all know who carried out a coup against brother Abu-Ammar may God's mercy be upon him, at a late stage before his death. Your crisis is the same as ours; therefore, do not shift sedition to the West Bank.

“We should not be dragged into sedition and into what is being taking place. This does not mean that Hamas in the West Bank is weak, because thousands of its men and leaders are imprisoned and because its members are not allowed to move freely unarmed, let alone if they are armed. No, this is not the reason, and we have never felt that we are weak. However, what is taking place in Gaza should not be repeated in the West Bank. I appeal to my brothers in the Fatah Movement and its official institutions, the Palestinian Authority, and brother Abu-Mazin, whom I believe does not also approve of what is currently taking place.

“However, an end should be put to it because it is not right. Our brothers in the West Bank will be patient, not because they are incapable, but because they are aware of their duty and know that their only battle is directed against the Zionist occupation. Concerning the Arab and Islamic worlds, I am reluctant to convey to them a message of reassurance because we are not a hobgoblin to fear us. If some of our Arab brothers, may God forgive them, use US and Israeli expressions such as 'a military coup', they should not use it as an excuse to antagonize Hamas.

“This is because these parties do not need an excuse to do that. When we came to power through democracy they antagonized, boycotted, and plotted against us; thus, this is not an excuse. Hamas is against coups and will not stage a coup. Had we wanted to stage a coup, we could have formed a government in Gaza. We tell brother Abu-Mazin that Gaza is for him, as it is for us, similarly the West Bank; and that his authority is exercised in the West Bank the same as it is exercised in Gaza. Abu-Mazin is the president of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and the West Bank together.

“Hopefully, we will be able to establish authority in the entire territory! of the homeland, within the PLO framework, to include the Palestinians inside and outside the homeland. Thus, we are not coupists and, consequently, we do not want anybody to exaggerate the story and portray us as a hobgoblin that spreads contagious coup d' etats since they said earlier that Hamas was spreading contagious democracy over neighbouring countries. All these exaggerations are baseless.

“None of our Arab brothers should be worried about viewing us as an Islamic fundamentalist project. We are Muslims, but do not monopolize Islam, and are proud of being Muslims and of being Arabs, Palestinians, and civilized human beings. However, we are originally a national liberation movement and our main objective is to resist occupation and achieve our national project side by side with the rest of the Palestinian forces. Our objective is not what some have been accusing us of; that is, imposing Islam on our society.

“Our people are free to engage in politics, hold meetings, employ intellect, and be religious. We do not impose religion, our beliefs, or our social, intellectual, and religious programme on any one. I would like to reassure the neighbouring countries that we do not export revolutions or spread contagious thoughts. We approach any Arab state through its legitimate gateway. We have ties with Islamic, national, pan-Arab, and leftist forces, but our dealings with any Arab country take place through official channels; namely, the regime, regardless of our agreement or disagreement with it. We do not interfere in the affairs of others.

“Also, we do not want others to scoff at us by attributing anything we do to regional accounts. This means that Syria is a superpower and Iran is a mega power. These exaggerations are inappropriate. Our project is a national one and our accounts are also national. We challenge any side that has more national accounts. Maintaining good relations with Arabs and Muslims is a duty for which we are honoured, not disgraced. What are disgraceful are the US and Israeli terms of reference, not our ties with the Arabs and Muslims.

“However, nobody can possess us. We have good ties with Arabs and Muslims, but we are absolutely not possessed by any of them. Our sole terms of reference are our leadership's institutions and our people's national interests. The point before the last is the international troops, within the context of cornering Hamas's will in Gaza. I responded to this issue regardless of whether the offer has come from abroad or from within the territories.

“The UN troops are rejected. Hamas will not accept international forces. I heard some say that we need the deployment of Arab troops; we do not need Arab troops; what we need is Arab sponsorship or umbrella that helps us to achieve accord and to stand on our side. The Arabs took such a stand during previous dialogues in Cairo, Mecca, Syria, and other countries, of which we are proud. We are looking forward for an Arab moral, political, public, and financial sponsorship, all of which we need. I thank the states that declared their rejection of the idea of the international forces, such as Malaysia and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

“Finally, we have been following up the case of British journalist Alan Johnston. Despite this, the British know where the journalist is being held, that neither Hamas nor any other group are responsible for this issue, and that we totally reject the kidnapping. Jilad Shalit is not abducted but is a war prisoner taken from our enemy with whom we are in a state of war. We reject abduction because it distorts the image of the Palestinian people.

“We have been following up on this file since the beginning of the crisis -and the British are aware of it -as a movement, government, and as a Palestinian Authority. I discussed this issue with brother Abu-Mazin in Cairo, explaining that we are examining the case. I urged my brothers in the Gaza Strip today and yesterday in light of the new situation to double their efforts to solve the problem of Alan Johnston, by exerting various efforts with the party that kidnapped him in order to guarantee his release.

“I am confident that the side that kidnapped Johnston would realize, in light of the new circumstances, that the national interest is not in continuing his abduction. I hope, without promising, that his release will be soon, God willing, within our capabilities. This is because the problem is not in our hands; however it stems from our national duty to double our efforts today to have him released.

“Lastly, I would like to say that our Palestinian situation is complicated and very difficult, and the crisis is grave; however, we pin great hope on God, the wise Palestinian people on all sides, and on the Arab patronage to succeed in solving this crisis, with God's blessing. I welcome you all..." - TV - Middle East, Middle East