IMRA interviewed Marwan Barghouti, Secretary General of Fatah in the West Bank, in English:

IMRA: The English translation we have of the Fatah decisions from the March 23rd meeting includes a “call on the masses of the people to go out against the settlements via all legal means…” Is that an accurate translation – “legal”.

Barghouti: Yes. By “legal” we mean “peaceful.”

IMRA: What kind of “peaceful” activities do you have in mind. Can you give some examples?

Barghouti: Peaceful activities. Demonstrations, marching.

IMRA: Rock throwing?

Barghouti: You mean stone throwing.

IMRA: Stone throwing?

Barghouti: Yes. Including stones. I don’t think that stones are violence. It is peaceful to throw stones.

IMRA: You also call on the people to “close the bypass roads before settler traffic.” How do you see closing the roads?

Barghouti: With stones.

IMRA: Throw stones at the cars?

Barghouti: Close the roads by putting stones in the road.

IMRA: This is legal?

Barghouti: Of course it is legal

The following are the decisions passed at the end of a meeting of the Supreme Council of Fatah on 23 March in the evening at Beit Sahour:

To place the responsibility for the serious breakdown in the peace process and all developments which result from it on the Israeli government. To consider the decision of the government of Israel regarding the establishment of new settlements, as an act of terror and aggression against the Palestinian people, the Arab nation, and international legitimacy.

To emphasize the support of Fatah in the Palestinian Authority and president Abu Amar in the struggle with this policy. To emphasize the strengthening of unity among all political, national, Islamic forces and the masses of the Palestinian people. To call on the PLO and the Palestinian Authority to stop the negotiations with the Israeli side and stop all measures of coordination with Israel, principle among them security coordination.

To call on the masses of the people to go out against the settlements via all legal means and close the bypass roads before settler traffic.

To declare a condition of general alert among the ranks of the Fatah movement throughout the homeland. To call on the peace camp in Israel to fill its role and increase its activities within Israel in order to put pressure on the government of Israel, which is drawing the region again into violent turmoil.

To punish the land agents.

To consider Land Day a Palestinian day for popular processions in all the cities, villages and camps in the homeland and camps in the diaspora under the slogan “Jerusalem eternal capital of Palestine” and “No peace with settlements”.

To call on the Arab public throughout the Arab homeland to hold demonstrations as a sign of solidarity with Palestine and in the defense of the Arabness of Jerusalem.

To denounce the position of the U.S. which leans completely in favor of the Tel Aviv government.

To praise the decision of the Palestinian Authority to free many prisoners from Palestinian Authority prisons, and call on it to free everyone.

To call for the branch committees to hold conferences of the movement in every district with the participation of all activists, public structures and movement offices, in preparation for popular conferences with the participation of all Palestinian forces. To praise the popular action in the Hebron district, Bethlehem, Jerusalem and the rest of the homeland and in particular the general strike held by the people in the camps in Lebanon on 23 March.

To call on the masses to boycott Israeli products which have a substitute in Palestinian markets.

(Al-Hayat al-Jadida – 24 March, 1997)

Editor’s note: Marwan Bargouti has been suggested as the liason between the Israeli settler population and the Palestine Authority

Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645