Summary and Analysis

In one of the most revealing interviews ever on VOP, Ahmad Qreia (Abu Ala), Speaker of the PA legislature, discussed the coming Israeli elections and their effect on the diplomatic agenda. Qreia, who has logged more “Israeli hours” than almost anyone else inside the PA leadership underscored the PA’s main goals:

  • fulfillment of the Palestinian right of return;
  • fulfillment of the right of self determination;
  • and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Qreia placed the right of return at the top of his list, and it was not the first time that he and other PA officials have done so in the last two months.

Indeed, Qreia made it very clear that this Palestinian demand was unacceptable to Israel-as was the Palestinian insistence that Israel remove every Jew and every Jewish settlement “from any square centimeter of Palestinian land.” The PA speaker took cognizance of Ehud Barak’s position that 80-percent of Israeli settlers remain in place under settlements blocs that would be annexed to Israel-and he dismissed this position.

Qreia emphasized that the PA realized that the Israeli elections would have an effect on the peace process and that the Palestinians were waiting for a “historic leader” for Israel who would accept the Palestinian right of return and the total withdrawal of Israel and any Israeli presence from the West Bank and Gaza.

VOP continued in-depth coverage of the deaths and funerals of the martyrs as well as those wounded in assorted attacks. The gritty descriptions of these incidents still leads the news shows, even ahead of the announcement of diplomatic developments involving President Yasser Arafat. VOP quoted Arafat as saying that Israel was using internationally-banned weapons against the Palestinian people.

Quotes from Interview with Ahmad Qreia (Abu Ala), Speaker Palestinian Legislature: (8 am morning news round-up)

“First I would say that what is happening in Israel is a sign of the realization of the desires of the Palestinian people, the goal of the Palestinian people to exercise its legitimate rights: the (right of) return, self determination and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital. These are the reasons Netanyahu was defeated, because he did not realize this, and these are also the causes for the speeding up of the fall of Barak….

They were not willing to concretize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and the desire of the Palestinian people to cling to these rights. That is why we see in Israel an unusual political entanglement: a prime minister who cannot stay in power longer than a year and a half, resigns, and for more than half a year is operating without a majority in parliament. And on the other hand, the opposition is divided and broken. Its internal formations change constantly…based on ideologies and histories that have no foundation.

Anyone who does not realize…(the need) to recognize the just demands of the Palestinian people, based on international legitimacy-which is the same international legitimacy that established Israel (i.e. the U.N.)-then this situation will only lengthen the entanglement inside Israel….

I do not see any alternative-coming from inside Israel– but for a strong call to the Palestinian people to exercise (its rights), its heroism, its sacrifices, its mighty intifada which will show Israel and the whole world its strong desires which will not be denied….

We’re not afraid of blows. A day does not go by when we don’t absorb some blow-even a light blow-from the occupation of 1967 and of course from 1948. Yet our way is the way of banners (i.e. flags), sacrifices and redemption.

(Note: Qreia used the term “fidaya” which is the root of “Fedayeen” or “men of sacrifice and redemption”-a term used by Palestinian fighters especially in the 1950’s and 1960’s.)

We are in the final hours of the realization of our victory and our independence, God Willing. We will be steadfast. We will be steadfast…. We will continue in our way, focusing on our goals. We will continue with our intifada. Our refusal of any occupation is clear. On the contrary, it only gets stronger. We will continue on our path….”

Q: “Some… say that the only chance for Barak is in the hands of the Palestinian people….What do you say?”

A: “His chances for success are in his hands, not in those of the Palestinian leadership. Because if he wants an agreement…. He has to face the Israeli people on all the subjects, with complete courage and with complete candor and say that here are the rights of the Palestinian people which must be granted if we are to live in security and peace.

These rights are represented by the Return for the Palestinian refugees, self-determination, and an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital, and the complete withdrawal from every square centimeter of Palestinian land.”

(note: He said “Al-Awda “, “The Return”, not “The Right of Return” – and this suggests strongly that Qreia and the Palestinian leadership are not talking about even a symbolic recognition or token)