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Tunisia: former president accuses Israel of ‘terrorism’ in occupied Palestine

December 19, 2022 at 2:30 pm

Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki holds a press conference in Tunis, Tunisia. [Nacer Talel/Anadolu Agency]

The former President of Tunisia, Moncef Marzouki, has described what is happening in occupied Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque as “terrorism” as part of an “ongoing war” by Israel against the people of Palestine and the holy sites. Marzouki made his comment as he shared his thoughts on the rise of the far right in Israel backed by extremists around the world, has reported.

“The current behaviour of the [Israeli] occupation reveals its ugly face, which is getting more and more extreme with the rise of the far right,” he told in an exclusive interview. With racist slogans calling for the death of Arabs, he said, Israeli behaviour is a natural result given that Benjamin Netanyahu feels that he has a green light from many parties in the region.

Nevertheless, the Israeli-led siege of the Gaza Strip still needs to be lifted. “Some parties want two million people in the besieged Gaza Strip to be extinguished quietly like candles. There is no electricity for schools; no sea for fishermen; no medicine for the sick; and no food for the hungry. This prompts all free people to work by all possible means to lift the siege.”

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Palestine, and Gaza in particular, stressed Marzouki, will remain a thorn in the side of anyone who ignores the fact that the oppressed can resist and survive. “We stand with you because you are defending a real holy cause,” ‏he said, addressing the Palestinian people directly. “The Palestinians have given the [Arab] nation a model of perseverance, steadfastness and determination for human rights, no matter how many generations pass or difficulties intensify. The Palestinian people have only one slogan: either they win or they win.” ‏

The former Tunisian leader said that the EU and other international parties have started to recognise the need to speak to Hamas. ‏”When I was president, I convinced them that the notion of Hamas as a terrorist organisation is wrong. It is a national resistance movement that defends a national cause.” Terrorists attack across borders and target civilians. Hamas defends its homeland, within the homeland. “So by what logic is that terrorism?” ‏

He pointed out that when he received Khaled Meshaal, the former head of the political bureau of Hamas, and the then Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, the US ambassador got angry, but Marzouki insisted on his position. The Americans were not convinced, but eventually they will be forced to hold a dialogue with Hamas, he said. “Hamas is pragmatic and can deal with various positions that work in favour of the Palestinian cause. ‏In today’s atmosphere, Hamas is a ray of light, as it resists Israeli arrogance valiantly but does not carry out operations outside its homeland.”

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That, he explained, is why Hamas is admired across the Arab world. “It has remained a national liberation movement and I do not doubt for a moment that it has nothing to do with the corruption infecting other factions in Palestine.” ‏

Marzouki acknowledged that there are obstacles and challenges facing resistance in today’s world. “The entire Arab region is in the eye of a storm and dark clouds are again on the horizon as the far right spreads all over the world. Conflicts and wars will result, the outcomes of which nobody will be able to predict.” ‏

‏‏Such challenges will test Arab existence as a nation, peoples and states that have the minimum level of independence, he concluded. “This requires efforts to be strengthened and implemented with intelligence and wisdom.”

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