Dr. Sa’di Al-Krunz of Al Azar University is a Fatah representative from the Deir Al-Balah District in the Gaza Strip in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
IMRA interviewed Dr. Al-Krunz in English on May 19. The interview, in its entirety, appears below.
IMRA: Does the current impasse in Israel-Palestinian Authority (PA) relations hurt Palestinian national unity?
Al_Krunz: No. I don’t think it is hurting Palestinian national unity. When we have troubles we are united.
IMRA: What about Chairman Arafat’s position?
Al_Krunz: It isn’t not hurting Arafat’s position. It is helping the opposition of the people to the peace process. The percentage of people supporting the peace process is decreasing in a very bad way.
IMRA: Is time on Netanyahu’s side or Arafat’s side?
Al_Krunz: The time is on Netanyahu’s side because they are building settlements and this helps their position.
IMRA: Does that push the Palestinians to compromise?
Al_Krunz: I don’t think so. We want – that is both the people and the Palestinian Legislative Council – to stop the process. Today, with the peace process, we are protecting the settlers. The Palestinian Police is acting like Lahad’s army in South Lebanon.
IMRA: If there is no peace process then what do you see in its place?
Al_Krunz: I don’t think that what the Israelis see now of peace and prosperity will continue. There will be more military operations agaisnt the Israelis because under these circumstances the Palestinian Police will have to be with the people. Arafat can’t be tough with the Palestinians and he can’t make concessions. There can’t be any security cooperation with Israel.
IMRA: Will the stalemate lead to war?
Al_Krunz: You see that the Palestinian problem is the core problem in the Middle East. The relations between Israel and the entire Arab world will be bad. Even Israeli relations with the Gulf countries will also be affected. If there was peace then you would have warm relations between Israel and all the Arabs states along the lines that Israel used to have with Jordan.
IMRA: What will happen ultimately?
Al_Krunz: After the Madrid Conference things between Israel and the Arabs countries started to improve – to the benefit of everyone in the Middle East. After what has happened I think we will return to what was before Madrid.
IMRA: What happens with the PA?
Al_Krunz: Believe me, if Israel came back to the territories that they occupied before – including Gaza – it would be better for the Palestinians. I talk with the people and many feel this way.
IMRA: A return to the occupation is preferable to the current situation?
Al_Krunz: We have nothing to lose if it continues this way. What are we gaining from the current situation? A return to Israeli occupation would be better so that we can fight with no constraints. Right now under the situation we are helping them confiscate Palestinian land. Since the peace process started the rate of settlement activity is maybe ten times what it was in the past. Today the settlers are feeling safe in Gaza, Nablus, etc. so there are new settlers arriving because they feel safe. We are in a bad situation. Before, any settler who wanted to come to Gaza would think twice.
IMRA: And then?
Al_Krunz: What I believe is that what the Israelis will gain from constructing new settlements is nothing compared to what they will gain by making peace with the Arabs. And if Israel makes peace here it can make peace with everyone in the Middle East because things will change. Because instead of hating each other we would understand that there is Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, etc. and we have to work and live together etc.. If the peace process would go in same direction as during the time of Rabin/Peres it would be good for all – more money for everyone, a better life, etc..
IMRA: What do you think of the Beilin-Mazen plan?
Al_Krunz: We know nothing about Beilin-Mazen. Maybe there was some talk. Some kind of agreement. But nothing official that could be said to be more than the thoughts and opinions of Beilin and Abu Mazen.
The Likud isn’t sincere about the peace process but we are sincere as we have no choice.
IMRA: One of the major issues is the return of refugees to within the Green Line. What do you think is the solution?
Al-Krunz: For me I believe that only solution is to apply the United Nations resolution – every person who wants to return can return. But if we reach the situation that have peace and love between neighbors then why should that be a problem? I used to live in Indiana with all kinds – Jewish, Indians, you name it, and there was no problem.
The apartheid in South Africa ended. The Jewish state which was built with the idea of keeping out the Arabs will lead to the same results that happened in South Africa. It is inevitable that the world won’t accept this. I have visited Germany and other European countries and I see that the sympathy is for the Palestinian people. Maybe not yet in the United States but eventually it will be.
IMRA: The Israeli Labor Party keeps talking about separation. It sounds like you feel separation is impossible.
Al-Krunz: You see everyone knows that you can’t draw a line. You can draw a line but it won’t be a real line. They will have no choice but to allow the refugees back into all of Palestine. We have refugees everywhere. If there are Jews who want to return to their homes within the autonomy that would be OK. In the end we would have two states – one with a Palestinian majority and the other with a Jewish majority.
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