IMRA interviewed Fatah Jerusalem Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) Ahmad Hashim Zughayar, Chairman of the PLC Jerusalem Committee, on 6th September, 1998. The English translation is via his son, Hiham Zughayar.

IMRA: Do you expect President Arafat to declare a Palestinian state next May even if the negotiations fail?

Zughayar: He says it might be. He says it is not for sure. It is possible.

IMRA: Does he think he would do it even if he thought it would mean losing a chance to have Jerusalem.

Zughayar: He says that there is no solution without taking Jerusalem over. Because, he says, Jerusalem is the most important thing in the subject.

IMRA: That’s why I was asking. Because if Arafat declares a state and he does not have control of Jerusalem at that time – then that’s it – he’s never going to see it.

Zughayar: That’s true [then translates into Arabic to his father]. He says that from now until the date he is talking about, May 1999, there still is a lot of time. During this time they are going to make a very good study of what they are going to do. What they are going to decide.

He said that they are going to do a big international study and also all over the Middle East.

IMRA: But he accepts the logic of what I am suggesting. That if you declare a state without having control of Jerusalem then you will never have Jerusalem.

Zughayar: He says that he is going to say something clearly. Anything without Jerusalem is no solution. So the main thing is Jerusalem. That’s what he said.

And he is laughing. He says that there is no way to negotiate about a body without a head.

IMRA: Again, that’s why it is a puzzle to me.

Zughayar: That’s why he is sure that nothing is going to happen. He doesn’t say it but I see it in his face. He is laughing.

IMRA: So there won’t be a declaration.

Zughayar: I don’t think so. The way he is talking to me – I don’t want to say there is no way – but he is sure that it is not going to happen.

He said that any step that the Palestinian side is going to take is going to take a very deep study of what is going to happen in the future.

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