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Sunday, May 17, 1998

Aaron Lerner Date: 17 May, 1998

IMRA interviewed Marwan Barghouti the head of Fatah West Bank in

Aaron Lerner Date: 17 May, 1998

IMRA interviewed Marwan Barghouti the head of Fatah West Bank in
English, on May 17, 1998. Barghouti is also a member of the
Palestinian Legislative Council.

IMRA: Before the "Nakba" march last Thursday, the Palestinian
Authority (PA) expected at least a million people to participate.
Why do you think the turnout was so much lower?

Barghouti: I think that there were more people than were
expected. In all the centers of the cities in the West Bank and
Gaza - Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem, there were very big demonstrations.
huge numbers. This despite the boycott by the Islamic Movement and
Hamas of the marches.

IMRA: So the reports by the press of around 20,000 people in
Nablus were incorrect?

Barghouti: More than 60,000 in Nablus. It was the largest one.
And there were also in Hebron, Ramallah and Jenin. Under the
difficult circumstances in the peace process and under the
suffering of the economic situation I think it was a huge success.

IMRA: Also on Friday only 20,000 people came to the Al Aksa Mosque
while in the past over a hundred thousand have come to the Mosque
on a Friday. Were these reports also wrong?

Barghouti: You know that the people from the West Bank and Gaza
cannot reach Jerusalem. I was there. I was in all the streets in
the city and there were more than 2,000 Israeli soldiers and
policemen there. They reoccupied the city. It was like the first
moment that they occupied the city. It reminded us of the 5th of
June 1967. This is the situation.

IMRA: What does it mean at the rallies when models of settlements
are blown up. What is the message supposed to be?

Barghouti: That means that the people are very angry about the
enlargement of settlements and the building of settlements. This
is an important thing in the view of the Palestinian people. They
feel that this thing is putting their future at risk. And this is
a dangerous thing that the Palestinians are facing. So this is to
encourage the people to resist the settlement policy.

IMRA: So blowing up models of settlements is in order to encourage
people to resist the settlements.

Barghouti: Yes. And I think that we have the legitimacy to
resist the settlement policy.

IMRA: To blow up settlements?

Barghouti: To fight, to resist the settlements.

IMRA: So that would include blowing them up.

Barghouti: Everything. Because the settlement policy is
terrorism. We have the right to fight against the terrorism.

IMRA: Two weeks ago Yasser Arafat met with a group visiting from
the United States and he is reported to have said at that meeting
that he would be willing to consider Abu Dis as the Jerusalem
capital. What do you think of that.

Barghouti: No. No. I think anybody who is saying that is a

IMRA: Is this just positioning or if the only way Arafat can make
peace is by doing this then if he did It Arafat would be a traitor.

Barghouti: This is not acceptable for any Palestinian or Arab and
I think that the issue of Jerusalem is the core of the peace
process in the Middle East. If the Israelis accept everything
except Jerusalem then the peace process will collapse.

What is the meaning of a Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its
capital? It would mean having a state composed of some village
here and there and refugee camps. The soul of the Palestinian state
will be Jerusalem.

IMRA: When you say 'Jerusalem' you mean all of Jerusalem beyond
the 1967 line?

Barghouti: Yes, yes. Of course.

IMRA; There is no compromise on that.

Barghouti: Yes. Of course. I don't think that we have to make
compromise after this. I prefer to live without peace and continue
to fight without accepting a compromise on Jerusalem.

IMRA; If the PA had Al Aksa Mosque and other areas in eastern
Jerusalem but not all of eastern Jerusalem?

Barghouti: Eastern Jerusalem is not just Al Aksa.

I am not a religious man. Jerusalem for me is the important thing
as a Palestinian. It is the title of Palestine. And also from a
geographical point of view it is very important, for example, for
the South and North of the West Bank. Jerusalem united the
Palestinians over history. It is the symbol of the Palestinian

IMRA: So even if you got part of Jerusalem but had to compromise
on other parts that wouldn't be enough? It would blow it up?

Barghouti: Why do we have to do this compromise?

We did the historical compromise when we accepted two states for
the two peoples in historical Palestine. According to UN
resolution Palestine is to be two states with more than 60%
Palestinian and the Israelis by force took more than 77% and now
they want to partition the remaining 23% - this is the West Bank,
Jerusalem and Gaza. I don't think that this would be justice -
peace. Maybe it would last 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. But
finally it will collapse.

IMRA: Would Arafat also be traitor if he did something along the
lines of Beilin-Mazen regarding settlements. That the large
settlement blocs would remain under Israeli control?

Barghouti: I have full confidence in Mr. Arafat that he will
refuse this. Any Palestinian who accepts a compromise on the pre-
67 War borders would bring a disaster for the Palestinians. I
don't like to use this word but regarding Jerusalem it is very
clear that anybody who accepts will be a traitor from the
standpoint of the Palestinians.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director
IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-9-7411645
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
pager 03-6750750 subscriber 4811

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