Interview with Fatah

01.28.03

MEMRI has an interview with Farouq Al-Quaddoumi (via LGF), head of the PLO political bureau and secretary general of Fatah’s Central Committee. The interview, translated from Arabic, expresses that, despite what the Palestinian Authority tries to tell the world, it actively supports terror.

Question: “Do you support resistance within the 1948 areas as well [as in the occupied territories]?”

Al-Qaddoumi: “It is the Palestinian people’s right to resist in all territories of the Palestinian land as long as Israel does not completely cease [its actions], and as long as it has no mercy on children, the elderly, trees, roads, institutions, and security personnel who have entered [the territories]… The resistance is legitimate; we are struggling for our national rights. It is Israel that bears the responsibility.”

“… Even if there is a single shot in a month, it is good for us, because we want the emotional and social pressure in Israel to continue, so that a message will be sent to the international community that there is an alternative to third-party intervention so that we can begin to arrive at a just arrangement.”

Question: “What is your opinion on martyrdom operations?”

Al-Qaddoumi: “We are fighting as a popular movement. We cannot stop every operation. We are not an army and we cannot prevent the martyrdom operations…”

Question: “Must a solution [to the Palestinian problem] come from America?”

Al-Qaddoumi: “No, not only [from America]. This problem was created by the United Nations when it decided on the partition resolution. The superpowers and the entire world are also party [to this].”

It goes on like this for a while. But the most telling quote is this one:

Question: “Then in effect your ideology is no different than that of Hamas.”

Al-Qaddoumi: “We were never different from Hamas. On the contrary; [Hamas] is a national movement and is part of the national movement. Strategically, we are no different from it.”

Now, this is old news for most people who have known for decades that there is no difference between Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, Fatah, or whatever incarnation terror takes. But Arafat likes to tell the world that this is not so. He likes to claim that his Fatah movement is against terror, even when attack after attack belies this.

Al-Qaddoumi made his position very clear: terror until Israel is obliterated. 1948 lines, 1967 lines, they make no difference to him. He just wants no more Israel – as is evidenced by his reference to the U.N. having “created” the problem when they voted on Partition in 1947. In other words, if those pesky Jews would just disappear into the sea, there wouldn’t be a problem, right?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hanthala 01.29.03 at 3:33 PM

Segacs, your last sentence is not a logical conclusion following from the premise that the UN created a problem when it created Israel. To be against the existence of Israel, as it exists now, is not to be anti-semitic or to wish for the death of Israeli Jews. It is to be against apartheid.

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2 James 01.29.03 at 7:37 PM

Hanthala, you’re saying that the oft-pillored “apartheid” isn’t one which exists in, or exclusively in, the Occupied Territories.

Rather, you’re saying that the so-called “apartheid” is within 1948 Israel; that apartheid in 1948 Israel is due to “the existence of Israel” (which you are therefore against), and not to specific and changeable Israeli policies; and that Israel is thus an illegitimate state which must be dismantled.

Is that what you’re arguing? Because, if so, you should know that you’re quite clearly setting yourself apart from the moderate Palestinian, Arab, and other pro-Palestinian voices who call for a two-state solution. You should also understand that Jews who interpret this as anti-Semitic do so because you’re arguing that, in a world of nation-states, the Jewish people has no right to self-determination.

I’m among these Jews. Like many Jews, I have many issues with Israeli government policy, and many things I’d like to see change. Like many Jews — most, I believe, but that’s just me — I’d like to see independent Israeli and Palestinian states with equal rights inside of both, and a growing partnership between them. And I know that that will take time.

My Zionism is as flexible as anyone else’s, in other words. The hard core at the middle is that the Jews have the same right to self-determination as every other people, even where creative and unorthodox ways of realizing that self-determination are put into place.

But know, too, that you shut down the space for discussing these things when you resort to the usual rhetorical strategies. Like denying our existence as a people — that we’re “just a religion”. Like denying our historic link and origination in the Jerusalem and Middle East in which our religious and cultural traditions are rooted — by talking of “apartheid”, in order to analogize us to the British and Dutch as “aliens” in Africa, or noting loudly that some of us were in Europe when generation-spanning family names came into fashion.

All of these rhetorical strategies do little more than marginalize Jewish dissent by trying to polarize the world into two sides — those who are unconditionally for everything the Israeli state ever does, and those who would disenfranchise the Jewish people in a world system of nation-states. Well, I’m a Jew, and I will always stand gainst the latter. So if that’s the game you want to play — then, yes, we are a people, we are rooted in the Middle East, and we have the same rights as everyone else. The latter are simple and leave a wide range of political possibilities. But they are what I understand Zionism to be, and what I mean when I say that anti-Zionism is racism, Hanthala’s included.

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3 Wondering 01.29.03 at 11:24 PM

Hey James,

When you say “the Jews have the same right to self-determination as every other people, even where creative and unorthodox ways of realizing that self-determination are put into place”, what do you mean by “creative and unorthodox ways” and “every other people”?

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4 James 01.30.03 at 3:23 AM

What is this, Clinton-on-a-stick? These are not especially challenging or contorted phrases.

“Every other people” refers to the idea of self-determination — you know, Bosnians, Palestinians, that sort of thing. It’s the political order at large today (“United Nations” and all that jazz); you may have heard of it.

And “creative and unorthodox ways” refers to, uh, thinking outside the box — you know, federalism; communitarianism; hybrid libertarian-anarcho-socialism; special head-of-state-like positions for Maronite and Sunni and Shi’a and, hey, Armenian representatives; winner-takes-all tiddlywinks; etc. Things that people agree on as a good way to govern themselves.

Why, which phrase mystified you?

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5 Me 01.31.03 at 12:13 AM

The mystification exists within the phrase itself:

“the Jews have the same right to self-determination as every other people, even where creative and unorthodox ways of realizing that self-determination are put into place”

Mystified is the fact that the “unorthodox” military occupation and “creative” settlement building trample upon the rights of the Palestinians, your “every other people,” in their quest for self-determination.

Also, challenge your mind to think beyond the ‘any critic of me must be a Clinton’ box.

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6 James 01.31.03 at 1:57 AM

Sigh.

The “Clinton” part refers to the “what do you mean by ‘is'” hearings. It’s got nothing to do with whatever he may have thought or not thought about the Middle East. But why should I be surprised that you jump to your conclusions?

And, of course, when you spew forth more of your my-way-or-the-highway racism — Mystified is the fact that the “unorthodox” military occupation and “creative” settlement building trample upon the rights of the Palestinians, your “every other people,” in their quest for self-determination — uh, I was pretty specific in talking about Palestinian rights to self-determination, and pretty clear on my belief in ending the Israeli occupation and a two-state solution. Yet, when I talk about the need for Israelis and Palestinians to work together and think hard — ultimately, there will always be Jews in Palestine and Arabs in Israel, and that will need cooperation — you twist my words and yank them out of context to try and cement me to pro-settlement and to pro-occupation thinking.

Well, I can’t say I’m surprised. There were always be racists whose insistence, like yours, on Jews’ non-peoplehood and non-right to self-determination depends on characterizing Jews as an either/or monolithic bloc — if Jews support Jewish self-determination, then they must necessarily want to prolong the Palestinian occupation, say the antisemites, hoping to turn the destruction of Israel into a necessary condition for Palestinian self-determination. Yes, this is the particular kind of racism known as antisemitism, and it has nothing to do with criticizing Israel, only destroying it.

So, again, know this. Like many pro-Palestinian Zionists, and like many Palestinians, I reject the attempts to portray Israel as a you’re-either-with-us-or-against-us colossus, and I refuse your efforts to shut down Jewish dissent. There will be two states. There will be peace between them. And this will pass even despite the racist rhetoric that seeks to prevent it.

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