Heads of Fatah and Hamas delegations, Azzam al-Ahmad (L) and Saleh al-Aruri (R) after signing a reconciliation deal in Cairo, October 12, 2017 - AFP/KHALED DESOUKI
CAIRO – 23 November 2017: A plan led by the Zionist Regime to prevent the restoration of national unity and end the Palestinian division was revealed Thursday by the Deputy Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Ahmed Fouad.
He pointed out that there are many other parties that will work to thwart the Palestinian reconciliation, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Palestinian national authorities and factions met in Cairo on Nov. 21 and 22 upon an Egyptian invitation to resume talks between Fatah and Hamas to find a common ground on which the next step of their Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal reached last month is to be implemented.
Fouad praised, in an interview with Egypt Today, the Egyptian role positively and their preference that this issue be managed by the Egyptian leadership, stressing that the Egyptian role is required, necessary and important.
The meeting discussed the Palestinian situation on various aspects including deepening and boosting national unity and the threats that face the Palestinian case in light of an escalated Israeli aggression against Palestine’s authorities and people.
"We will cooperate with Egypt and with the participants until we reach the implementation of what was agreed to in 2005-2011, and the agreements that were made under the auspices of Egypt," Fouad stated in the interview.
The following is the text of the interview:
Is it possible to activate the agreement signed in 2011?
Yes there is a chance to activate the 2011 agreement. However, the dialogues that took place was not easy and we discussed different viewpoints, and faced serious disagreements about some of the said agreements or the 2005 agreement.
Do you have a contingency plan that you aim to use in solving some thorny issues that threaten the reconciliation?
We do not have a specific initiative or contingency plan and all of our ties will be in the interest of our people and our national cause over sectarian interests. We will work with all our might to overcome any obstacles that stand in the way of ending the division.
Once again, I will emphasize that obstacles and difficulties will arise, but that everyone will support our Egyptian neighbors. We will reach solutions to the problems that will confront us.
What are the most pressing issues that pose a great challenge to the Palestinian national reconciliation government?
The most pressing issues facing the National Reconciliation Government are the reconstruction of Gaza, the provision of the requirements of our people in Gaza from education, health, electricity, etc., as well as, the salaries of the employees. The other main pressing issue that the government must work on as soon as possible is preparations for the elections; namely the elections for the National Council, Presidential Elections and Legislative Council. This is very urgent and must be done within six months
What do you think of an alleged international and regional conspiracy that aims to thwart reconciliation? Do you have the ability to counter that conspiracy? If so, how?
Yes, there will be many activities to prevent the restoration of national unity and the end of the division. The first entity that aims to thwart the reconciliation would be the Zionist Regime, and there are many others who would aim to do so as well. The Palestinian people and their national factions are determined to maintain resistance until liberation and until the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Our people will resist any conspiracy aimed at terminating their cause and rights. Some 100 years have already passed since the Balfour Declaration, and our people have not been defeated and are still preserving.
Deputy Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Ahmed Fouad,November 2017 - Egypt Today
Do you think Egypt's sponsorship of the agreement can render the Palestinian reconciliation successful?
The Egyptian role is positive and we are still in favor of this issue being managed by Egyptian leadership. This is what we have called for many times when we were faced by a difficult internal situation in Palestine. We affirm that the Egyptian role is required, necessary and important, and we wanted them to assume this role for a decade, since the division happened. What is important now is that this issue remains with the Egyptian leadership and we will cooperate with it and with the participants until we reach the implementation of what was agreed on in 2005-2011, and the agreements that were made under the auspices of Egypt with the approval of all participants, which are still valid to this day.
Do you accept negotiating with the occupation? Do you have conditions for that?
We will not negotiate with the occupation and we will not agree to the return of the executive leadership of the PLO and the PA to the negotiations, either. As for negotiating with the enemy, we said the alternative is to implement the resolutions of international legitimacy.
How would you evaluate the PA's performance since Oslo? Do you think that the agreement is still in place or is there a need to sign the annex to the Oslo agreement/ a new agreement?
The Oslo Accords are a crime committed against the Palestinian people and their national rights. The 25 years after the Oslo Accords and the subsequent agreements that were not in the interest of our people and the beneficiary has proved to be the enemy with concrete facts to prove so. The authority must come out of the Oslo agreement, especially since this agreement has officially ended since 1999.
Do you think that peace between the Palestinian and Israeli sides can be achieved?
There have been no agreements made to that end at this stage and the only option is to persist in resistance until we achieve our national goals, no matter what sacrifices or difficulties may present themselves.
How would you assess the performance of the Arab League in terms of the Palestinian cause's issue?
The role of the Arab League is very negative and the Palestinian cause is no longer its central issue nor a priority.
In your opinion, what is the reason for the decline in interest in the Palestinian cause during the past years?
First of all, many Arab countries have been preoccupied with their internal problems, in addition to being distracted by international variables, the role of the American administration, and some Arab regimes and their willingness to normalize with the enemy.
Can legislative and general elections be held in Palestine soon?
I would rule out that these elections are set to take place soon. We see that the Palestinian National Council (parliament) is the representative of the Palestinian people wherever it was. In any case, the institutions of the central bodies of the Front are examining the issue of the Legislative Council and whether it is still necessary because it came as a result of the Oslo agreements.
Do you think that the inclusion of other factions of the PLO will strengthen it after being weakened in recent times?
Yes, we will strengthen it. It should allow everyone to participate in democratic elections to build leadership for the Palestinian people.
Some believe that the position of the Popular Front is vague and always supports the Palestinian Authority. How do you respond to that? Will your position be decisive towards the party that is obstructing the reconciliation agreement?
The Front is a triangle of strength opposing the political approach represented by the powerful leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. This is known to all. The voice of the Monetary Front is always high. Today we appreciate the positive actions of these institutions and we strongly condemn any actions or steps that are detrimental to the interests of our people or the national cause.
We opposed the Oslo Accords and the subsequent agreements and strongly opposed the division. We also opposed the practices of the Palestinian Authority and the powerful leadership in the actions taken against our people in Gaza. We strongly opposed security coordination and repression, either from the authority of Ramallah or the authority of Gaza. We opposed negotiations with the enemy. We also called for holding the National Assembly as it is now, as well as for the elections to be fully proportional in representation. It should be a unified council that includes everyone or else held outside the country and not under the occupation.
Would you accept a short-term truce with the occupation?
We do not accept any agreements with the enemy.