IMRA: interviewed Jerusalem Fatah Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Representative, Hatem Abdul Kader, in English, on January 3rd. The entire interview follows:

IMRA: You are quoted in the weekly “Al-Bayader Al-Siyasi” today as saying that you don’t thing that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is doing enough in Jerusalem. Is that an accurate quote? What do you think they should be doing?

Abdul Kader: I think that the PNA can do many things in Jerusalem but for some reason, which I don’t understand, they have stopped. Why? I don’t know exactly.

We have, in the Jerusalem Committee of the PLC, made many decisions about east Jerusalem, but the PNA has not accepted any decisions.

IMRA: Do you think that this indicates that Yasser Arafat in the end may be willing to compromise on Jerusalem?

Abdul Kader: I think that maybe Yasser Arafat has an agreement with the Israelis about east Jerusalem- I don’t know exactly. When I talk about Jerusalem I mean the city and the villages around the city. The region. It is part of Jerusalem. But the PNA is also not doing anything about the electricity, water, building, housing. Nothing. But in Gaza they are doing all the things.

IMRA: Do you think that if Yasser Arafat would try to cut a deal with the Israelis, with something like Beilin-Mazen that talks about Abu Dis as the Jerusalem capital of Palestine, that the public would accept this? That he could get away with this?

Abdul Kader: No, no, no. Nobody has accepted it. Not the Palestinians. Not the Arab world. Not the Moslem world. Jerusalem is Jerusalem. It is our capital. In my opinion we need all of east Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.

IMRA: What do you think would happen to Yasser Arafat if he did make such a deal?

Abdul Kader: I think it would be illegal.

IMRA: What do you think would happen? What would the public do to him?

Abdul Kader: I am sure that Yasser Arafat isn’t doing anything like this. Abu Mazen-Beilin can talk what they want, but I think that there is nothing on the ground.

IMRA: One last question. Recently I have asked a number of Palestinians what they think what will happen to places like French Hill and Ramat Eshkol, areas beyond the 1967 borders which have been populated by Israelis and developed for many many years. They are quite strong that even those areas would be within the Palestinian state. Do you feel the same way?

Abdul Kader: I think that east Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. We think two capitals for two states. East Jerusalem and west Jerusalem. I think that east Jerusalem and west Jerusalem must be open, but not united. Two municipalities, two capitals, two cities, but it must be open.

IMRA: What do you see happening to the Jewish neighborhoods beyond the 1967 borders in east Jerusalem?

Abdul Kader: I don’t think It is a problem for us.

IMRA: They would be part of Israel?

Abdul Kader: No, no. It is not a problem for us. Any Jews who want to live under Palestinian rule in east Jerusalem are welcome.

IMRA: So they would be living in the Palestinian state.

Abdul Kader: Yes. And have all the rights like the Palestinians. We don’t want to transfer all the Jews from east Jerusalem.

IMRA: Many of the Jews living in east Jerusalem are living on property with 49 year leases – they don’t own the land, its government land. What happens to these people since they don’t actually own the land?

Abdul Kader: Any Jews who have paper – a right to land or buildings in east Jerusalem are not a problem for us. We are talking about the capital. About the policy. We want east Jerusalem under the Palestinians. But if any Jews have a building or land it is no problem for us.

IMRA: So they would become Palestinian citizens?

Abdul Kader: Yes. And also we have Palestinians in east Jerusalem who own buildings in west Jerusalem. We have papers to land and any Palestinians or Jews who have papers – any rights to buildings or land it is not a problem. I think that all of east Jerusalem must be under Palestinian rule.

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