PLO's Qaddumi on Relations With Jihad, Hamas
[Humaydi] Do you think that your recent statements have succeeded in dispelling the clouds of tension that loomed over the skies of relations between President Yasir 'Arafat and the Lebanese Government?
[Qaddumi] Undoubtedly, many of the media interpretations of Abu-'Ammar's ['Arafat's] statements have not been correct. I do not think that 'Arafat would ever contemplate harming any Arab country. Indeed, he has always been and remains anxious to safeguard his relations with the Arab countries particularly those connected with the political settlement [of the Arab-Israeli conflict]. Furthermore, Abu-'Ammar holds the fondest of memories about the Lebanese people for embracing the Palestinian revolution for numerous years.
[Humaydi] Do you mean that Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al- Hariri has gone somewhat too far in his criticism of 'Arafat?
[Qaddumi] We had hoped that there would have been no statements. When I discussed this matter with Abu-'Ammar, he gave instructions to issue further statements. We can never do anything to harm Lebanon particularly as Israel's aim is to poison the Arab climate.
[Humaydi] Did you clarify the situation during your meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shar'?
[Qaddumi] When we come to Syria we do so knowing that Syria is the stronghold of the Arab struggle. So we discuss all matters, particularly as Syria is keen on doing all it can to serve the Palestinian cause.
[Humaydi] Have you discussed the question of a possible visit by Abu-'Ammar to Syria?
[Qaddumi] We will choose the proper time for Abu-'Ammar's visit so that it yields the desired fruits. We have talked frankly about this matter with our Syrian brothers.
[Humaydi] Do you think the freeze through which the peace process is going at present provides an adequate climate for 'Arafat's visit?
[Qaddumi] This depends on the evaluations of both the Syrian and Palestinian sides. Damascus always welcomes the presence of Palestinian leaders and at no time whatsoever has it objected to the presence of Palestinian leaders. Indeed, Abu-'Ammar started his revolution from Syria's bosom.
[Humaydi] What role did you play in the visit [to Syria] by the delegation of 1948 Palestinians [from Israel]?
[Qaddumi] I am in constant touch with the brothers in the inside. They had a strong desire to visit Syria. I conveyed this desire to the [Syrian] brothers in many ways and continued to do so until Syria agreed to welcome them.
[Humaydi] Will the next stage be to invite the Israeli left?
[Qaddumi] That is up to the Syrian brothers.
[Humaydi] What did you discuss with the Palestinian opposition in Damascus?
[Qaddumi] The brother members of the opposition who operate under he banners of the PLO, the Executive Committee, and the Palestine National Council have the right to know all the details concerning the developments taking place. On our part, we are anxious to coordinate positions with those in the outside, because the [Palestinian] National Authority is far from them by virtue of its preoccupation with the negotiations.
[Humaydi] What would you say about the "initiative" by Ramadan 'Abdallah Shallah, leader of the Islamic Jihad organization, concerning his readiness to join the PLO?
[Qaddumi] We welcome them, and this is only natural. For these brothers form part of the national movement and consequently they should be included within the framework of the Palestinian mechanism.
[Humaydi] Even despite the fact that they are branded as terrorists by some quarters?
[Qaddumi] I reject such charges against them. The Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) are parts of the national movement and it is their right to resist the occupation in whatever way they deem fit.
[Humaydi] Including the launching of suicide-military operations?
[Qaddumi] We differ with them over the methods they use. You yourself know that our movement Fatah is a fedayeen organization. It is Israel which created the current situations and poisoned the skies of the occupied Arab territories, and consequently it has been the cause of such actions. We do not want at all to see harm coming to civilians. But, unfortunately, these poisoned climates created by Netanyahu have led to such actions.
[Humaydi] The Islamic Jihad leader set the condition of breaking the link between the PLO and the Palestinian Authority. What are your conditions?
[Qaddumi] We are negotiating with them without any previous commitments. For the PLO is the wider framework and so we should listen to what everyone says and discuss their views.
[Humaydi] Do you think the Palestinian Authority's arresting Hamas and Jihad elements would lead to an inter-Palestinian clash?
[Qaddumi] I do not think so, because the brothers in the three sides realize that internecine fighting is a very grave matter. However bad the relations among them become, none of the sides will embark on internecine fighting. May I point out in this regard that the three sides have had dialogues in the past and agreed that the Hamas and Jihad elements would not stage any operations from Gaza and would not announce any operations from there.
[Humaydi] Do you think the [recent] failure to claim responsibility for operations was due to this understanding among the various sides?
[Qaddumi] Nobody knows who carried out the [Jerusalem] double-suicide operation. It seems Israel has been exploiting this ambiguity to level charges against several Arab countries so that it can launch aggression on them and to justify its freezing of the peace process.
"Most of what I've heard from this panel is BULLSHIT."
There are many reasons the Israeli/Jewish lobby rules in Washington with hardly any effective opposition.
One of the main reasons is that the various Arab-American organizations that exist are all controlled, manipulated, and usually paralyzed by the political and financial corruption of the Arab world. That corruption and impotence is translated to Washington by Arab ambassadors and the many they employ, most especially by Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, now one of the longest-serving Arab representatives in Washington.
Not widely known, Bandar has actually been working closely and personally with some of the main elements of the Israeli/Jewish lobby for years, even before the Gulf war in 1991. His goal is simple -- use the power and influence of the Israeli/Jewish lobby to perpetuate the rule of the al-Saud family in "the Kingdom" -- everyone else be damned. For many matters involving commenting to the often gullible press, the Saudis use Jim Zogby, a kind of public relations flak masquerading under the guise of the "Arab American Institute" (AAI).
When it comes to the only Arab American organization that has any grass-roots, the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the situation is a bit more complicated. ADC does a few useful, though always very easy, things in the area of discrimination. Indeed, nothing could be easier in America then to oppose discrimination; and actually ADC doesn't really do that very well either. But far more importantly, when it comes to the serious and historical political issues of our day, here ADC is worse than a failure, it is a fraud and a deception -- one largely perpetrated on its own membership.
That fraudulent reality might well have been behind the private and unheeded call a few years ago by ADC founder, former Senator James Abourezk from South Dakota, for the organization to be closed down. Instead, some of the long-time Washington opportunists, with former Arab League Ambassador Clovis Maksoud and wife Hala in the lead, pushed ADC to make a kind of pact with the Arab establishment. In return for financial support from Arab businessmen closely aligned with the American-sponsored client regimes in the Middle East, ADC would not involve itself in anything politically controversial (i.e., anything important), would support the "peace process" and the Arafat regime (no matter how much corruption and repression), and would not involve itself in any way against the terrible abuses and corruption so rampant in many of the key Arab countries -- most especially Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait and Jordan.
In short, on matters political and historical, ADC has become a kept woman of the Arab regimes. All kinds of simplistic press releases go out to unknowing ADC supporters around the country touting as grand ADC accomplishments what are really very small, usually relatively insignificant, always easy matters. But when it comes to any major political issues, ADC hardly ever has anything to say and even when it does it is always the tritest of slogans always corresponding to whatever the Arab "client-regimes" are pushing at the time.
This sad reality couldn't have been better demonstrated this summer then what took place at the ADC annual conference which came during the month of the 30th anniversary of the 1967 war, a theme which was in fact one by which the conference was promoted.
After 30 years of brutal and crippling occupation, after a decade of the "Intifada", after the catastrophe that befell Lebanon, the 1982 war, the Gulf/Iraq War, and the apartheid-type "Peace process", all that ADC could muster for this 30th anniversary was a dull and self-serving panel of Arab Ambassadors representing the very governments (plus the new Arafat regime) who are historically responsible for what has happened and have every motive to misrepresent it!
Nothing more from ADC. Not a single independent commentator. Not a single important academic personality. Not a single notable journalist. Not a single comment about the subject that couldn't have been written by the Saudi press office. And incidentally, other than their own paid press services, no important media even bothered to come.
At the end of the session, the usually compliant ADC audience had a lot of questions. Right off the bat the first person succinctly indicated that what he had just heard was mostly "bullshit". The next couple of questioners took a similar tone, especially in severely challenging Arafat's representative on the panel (let's not contribute to the deceptions by calling him "Ambassador"). But then, all controlled and planned that way of course, the very short time for questions went by very quickly, and those standing in line with more disenchantment to express faded away as usual.
The kids of Palestine can take on the Israeli army with rocks and molotov cocktails, suffering so terribly in the process. The ADC, after some two decades on the Washington scene, can't even hold an honest and thoughtful session about what has happened.
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