Saturday, 24 September 2011

Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas has submitted full membership bid to UN, despite opposition from US and Israel. Press TV has interviewed with Haidar Eid, Professor at Al-Aqsa University, to share his opinion on this issue. Press TV: First of all, the Palestinian statehood bid has been handed over to the UN chief and Mahmoud Abbass has called on all nations to recognize the Palestine state. This initiative is being well accepted in the West Bank but just how much does it resonate with the Gaza Strip and Hamas? Eid: Well this is a very important question. I think because yes, it comes one day after the very famous speech given yesterday by President Abbass and I think it was unpredictably very defiant, especially when you look at it as a speech that came after the speech of the President of the United States of America which was very pro-Israel and which was very Zionist. But at the same time I think, you know, most Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are refugees. Two third of the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip are refugees who were ethnically cleansed back in 1948 from villages and towns that they used to live in 1948 when Israel was established. One of the major problems that most Palestinians have with this speech and with the bid, the United Nations and the declaration of independence is that it reduces the Palestinian question only to one third of the Palestinian people. It never addresses the question of the right of return which is guaranteed by international law, which is guaranteed by United Nation resolution 194, neither does it address the question of cultural and national rights of more than 1.2 million Palestinians living as third class citizens in the state of Israel. Press TV: I like to have your opinion on the initiative itself. How well structured is this initiative? Eid: Well I think that it is not structured very well because it does not deal with the roots of the Palestinians question .One of the major problems as I said is that it takes back the Palestinian question only to 1967 when Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. That is to say one third of historic Palestine, 22 percent in fact of historic Palestine, whereas the roots of the problem go back to 1948 with the establishment of Israel at the expense of more than two third of Palestinian people who were ethnically cleansed in 1948 but it also failed to address the very apartheid nature of the state of Israel. Israel is based actually on ethnic cleansing and genocide as we witnessed in 2009 when Israel actually invaded the Gaza Strip, killed more than one thousand four hundred people, the overwhelming majority of whom were civilians and I think that one of the other things that this initiative fails to address is that Israel is an apartheid state that needs to be isolated the same way apartheids of Africa was isolated in the 70's and 80's and instead of that the President Abbass actually insists that we Palestinians should go back to the negotiating table with the Israelis. Press TV: Ok, correct me from wrong. So what you are trying to say is this initiative is still yet another compromise, should I say or not? Eid: I strongly believe that it is a compromise because as I said look in 2005 the overwhelming majority of Palestinians civil society organizations, nationalists and Islamist organizations came up with the call, the famous BDS call, calling on the international community to boycott apartheid Israel, impose sanctions against it and divest from it until it complies with international law. In other words our call should be right based rather than calling for the establishment of a Bantustan on parts of the historic land of Palestine. Press TV: I mean suppose the bid goes through without a veto of the United States. How much will it have an impact on relations between Hamas and Fattah? We know that Hamas is calling for unity talks. Eid: Well you know one of the problems is that Hamas lacks a political vision. In fact, Hamas accepts the establishment of what they call a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and at the same time it does not support the PA bid to the United Nations and this is in itself contradictory. But Hamas also and other political organizations have been calling for a resumption of the unity talks and I think that if Mr. Abbass comes back within the next week to Ramallah, I think the first think he should do to try to resume negotiations with Hamas and other political organizations and stop seriously considering the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority and take the Palestinian question to its roots, a question of national liberation rather than a question of the establishment of a Bantustan and calling it an independent state. 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