Yasser Khalaf, the official spokesman for the Palestinian Freedom Movement, said that the Palestinian people had established new equations of steadfastness, resolution, adherence to their land, rights, constants and resistance in its different forms while insisting on undermining all conspiracies.
In an exclusive interview with Quds Press, Khalaf appreciated the flexibility shown by Hamas and the facilities it provided in the context of achieving reconciliation and ensuring the success of the Palestinian elections.
He explained that President Mahmoud Abbas is hiding behind the Occupation’s decision not to allow elections in Jerusalem, as a pretext to avoid elections altogether. This is because Abbas anticipates an inevitable loss. Khalaf referred to Abbas’ plan as an “exposed game, which our people will not fall for.”
Khalaf sent a message to “the honourable member of Fatah”, asking them to exert pressure with all their might to restore the movement’s glorious history and principles, and resume the proper path towards resistance and uniting with the entire Palestinian national resistance to confront the Occupation.
The following is the full text of the interview:
– How does the Palestinian Freedom Movement assess the internal Palestinian scene and the conflict with the Occupation in 2019?
It is no secret that the size and pace of risks threatening the Palestinian cause at all levels did not slow down, considering the ongoing Zionist occupation aggression and its settlement and Judaization plans that keep increasing steadily.
Likewise, the US conspiracy against the Palestinian cause aims at nullifying the Palestinian struggle. Also, there is an alarming growing Arab endeavour to normalise with the Occupation, which is another form of stabbing our people and our cause in the back, as it constitutes a cover for the Occupation state to continue its aggression.
In light of the continuation of the catastrophic division, which affected the Palestinians in a significantly, Israel has taken advantage of this situation to intensify its oppressive methods. These include arresting campaigns, increasing pace of settlements’ implementation, looting the lands, Judaization of the holy sites and feeding the division tendency, in addition to tightening its siege on Gaza, which affected all aspects of life in the area.
However, the Palestinian people continue their steadfastness, resolution, adherence to their land, rights, constants and resistance in of its all forms. This is especially so in Gaza, where the Occupation is most cautious about the resistance, despite the exaggerated violence and methods of deterrence employed by the Israeli authorities.
We have perceived the strong will of our people in the Return Marches, which have proven that the Palestinians have several renewed options in facing the Occupation and maintaining a constant state of resistance against it. Thus, the Palestinian people have shown that they can work within the framework of a unified national collective action, as we have seen initiatives like the Supreme National Authority of the Return Marches and the Joint Operations Room emerging as positive indicators.
– The year 2019 has turned its last pages, and the Palestinian elections are still in the headlines. How do you read the positions of Hamas and Fatah movement regarding these elections?
First, we affirm that elections are a sacred right guaranteed by law for every Palestinian citizen to choose who represents him in the framework of implementing the electoral program that the candidate proposes. These elections are significantly delayed due to internal conditions, including division, contradictions, and the insistence of the Palestinian Authority and its president to dominate, hijack the political decision-making process, reject the other parties, as well as the lack of respect for principles of partnership.
There are also particular external circumstances, which can be summarised in the fact that the Occupation is the biggest beneficiary of the continued Palestinian state of division and fragmentation. The Israeli authorities do not want us to unite our efforts and re-arrange the internal Palestinian affairs, as well as the international community and the successive US administrations, which proved to be aligned with the occupation and supporting its plans.
Since the President of the Palestinian Authority announced the intention to hold the elections on the United Nations platform, we have said many times that this is only a manoeuvre aimed to frustrate the factions.
By making this announcement, Abbas attempted to tell the world that he adheres to the democratic option while believing that Hamas will refuse to hold elections, and therefore to hold it responsible for this before our people and the world at large. However, unexpectedly following this call, a serious national movement to follow up the election’s procedures and mechanisms and steps has been established.
Abbas realised that he was in trouble in light of the estimated and valued efforts shown by Hamas movement. Thus, Hamas had mainly demonstrated and provided extreme flexibility during all the necessary procedures to reach the elections in a way which was welcomed and appreciated by all the Palestinian factions, confirming its strong will and belief in partnership.
Unfortunately, until this moment, the president of the Palestinian Authority is still manoeuvring, delaying, dodging and creating pretexts and problems to escape the issuance of the presidential decree for fear of being defeated in the elections, in light of the deteriorating and fragmented condition of the Fatah movement internally and in the Palestinian public eye.
Do you think that the Occupation’s rejection to hold the Palestinian presidential elections constituted a lifeline to the Palestinian Authority?
Israel is seeking to save Abbas from the predicament of the elections.
On the other hand, President Abbas has also participated in imposing the siege and reprisals on Gaza, while identifying with the Deal of the Century and remaining silent. At the same time, the settlement and Judaization attempts kept increasing. He did not make the required steps to confront this colonial wave, whether on the popular, national diplomatic or legal levels, which further motivated the Occupation to hold on him as a president and prevent the elections from taking him down.
Abbas’s attempt to create a pretext out of the Occupation’s decision not to allow holding the elections in Jerusalem as an excuse to evade it is an exposed game, for which our people will not fall.
If Abbas is serious about holding the elections, then he must issue a presidential decree. This will mean that the decision to organise the elections in the city of Jerusalem will become constitute a battlefield in the media, legal and diplomatic levels.
– What is your comment on the leaks related to the Palestinian Authority’s involvement in the assassination of a senior commander of the Islamic Jihad Movement, Bahaa Abu El-Atta?
Unfortunately, the considerable decline experienced by the Fatah movement has become apparent to everyone. This deterioration did not occur due to the lack of patriotic or honourable people in the movement. Rather because of the influential leaders, who hijacked the movement’s will and insisted on converting its leaders, who are affiliated to the Palestinian Authority, and its security apparatus into mere employees, who work for the Occupation by proxy, adhere to security coordination with the enemy, and oppress their own people, instead of performing their resistance duty.
This is what the Ministry of the Interior in Gaza revealed more than once; i.e. the direct cooperation of prominent personalities, officers and officials in the Palestinian Authority with the Occupation against our people and their resistance. The latest example was a crime of cooperation and provision of information concerning the martyr Baha Abu El-Atta to the Occupation intelligence service, and before that the head of the Authority’s talk about his high estimation of the security coordination with the Israeli authorities and the pursuit of the resistance militants.
Our message to the honourable members of Fatah movement is: for how long will you remain silent, disregarding the attempts of obliterating your struggle, erasing your history and trading in the blood of your martyrs and the martyrs of our people. We pledge you to move and restore Fatah’s history and principles and redirect the movement towards the proper path of resistance while standing by with all the Palestinian national forces to confront the occupation.
History will not have mercy on those who keep silent about this massacre to which Fatah is subjected. You can make changes with your own hands and regain Fatah’s national and revolutionary role without the security coordination or holding any ties with the Occupation.
Where does the Palestinian Freedom Movement stand today within the Palestinian scene, and how do you perceive the year 2020?
By the grace and assistance of Allah, the Palestinian Freedom Movement has constituted, since its establishment, a qualitative asset to the resistance factions, and we are working very hard. By the grace of Allah, the movement managed to fulfill its plan at the internal organisational level. It established all its institutions, which were launched to the field of work with full force, to win the admiration of everyone, who has been following the movement’s national and political and social work, as well as its feminist, military, security and educational efforts, in addition to its projects with university students.
Today, the movement stands on solid ground, while enjoying robust ties with all the colours of the Palestinian spectrum, who always praises the role and work of the Palestinian Freedom Movement and its presence at the national, political, media levels, as well as on the ground. Thus, the movement is continually seeking to gather the Palestinian factions in political media meetings at one table to enrich the national and political scene and bring the concerned parties closer, while looking and searching in-depth for a way out of the internal impasse and facing external challenges.
We hope that 2020 will bring prosperity to our people and our cause and that the division, siege, suffering and pain of our people will end. We renew our call to the Palestinian people to gather around our rights, exert pressure with all force to achieve unity and reconciliation, hold the elections and develop a national strategy based on mobilising the strength of our people to confront the Occupation’s aggression and the conspiracies, which have ravaged our cause.