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Tuesday, December 28, 2004
PLO's Qaddumi: Iranian infiltration of Palestinian ranks welcome - good

PLO's Qaddumi on Iran Visit, Ties With Syria, Suicide Attacks, Apology to
Kuwait GMP20041220000246 Doha Al-Jazirah Satellite Channel Television in
Arabic 1730 GMT 20 Dec 04 [Interview with Faruq Qaddumi, "foreign minister
of the state of Palestine and Fatah Movement chairman" by Abbas Nasir in
Tehran; from "Today's Encounter" program; date not given--recorded]

[FBIS (US Government service) Translated Excerpt]
[With thanks to www.mideastweb.org/mewnews1.htm ]

Doha Al-Jazirah Satellite Channel Television in Arabic, independent
television station financed by the Qatari Government, at 1730 GMT on 20
December caries a 25-minute recorded interview with Faruq Qaddumi, "foreign
minister of the state of Palestine and Fatah Movement chairman" by Abbas
Nasir in Tehran; from "Today's Encounter" program. The date of the
interview is not given.

Nasir begins by asking Qaddumi the following question: "Let me begin by
asking you about the Iranian-Palestinian relations, now that you are on an
official visit to Tehran. Clearly you have been visiting Iran from time to
time. Clearly the Islamic Republic of Iran shut down the Israeli embassy
and replaced it with the Palestinian embassy, and that the late President
Yasir Arafat was the first Arab leader to visit the Islamic republic after
the revolution. But despite all of this, Iranian-Palestinian relations
went through a crisis, especially after the Oslo agreements. Does your
visit today mean that there will be a comprehensive revision of
Iranian-Palestinian relations?"

Qaddumi replies that the Oslo phase was very difficult and adds:
"Therefore, the Palestinians themselves differed on Oslo. I myself did not
support Oslo. This created some differences or led to lukewarm relations
between some Arab states and Palestine or between the PLO and the Islamic
states that are basically concerned with this issue, such as the Islamic
Republic of Iran. These tensions resulted from everyone's eagerness to
support the PLO and the Palestinian resistance in order to liberate the
Palestinian homeland.

"I have always visited Tehran because I know that Iran adopts a firm and
principled stand on the liberation of the occupied Palestinian and Arab
territories. Our relations have started to take their normal course only
recently. They have started to improve. Therefore, now that brother
Abu-Ammar [Arafat] has departed, we should explain our stand to the states
concerned, be they Arab or Islamic, and brief them on the Palestinian cause
and developments and on the general conditions in the region."

Asked if this means that Arafat had been an "obstacle or a barrier" to
improving these relations, Qaddumi says: "No, on the contrary, Abu-Ammar was
flexible. He worked as mediator, along with the Islamic states, between
Iraq and Iran, and I worked with the nonaligned states for reconciliation
between Iraq and the Arab states on the one hand and Iran on the other.
However, Oslo stopped these relations because this approach was
unacceptable."

Asked what has changed now, given the current Palestinian approach to a
settlement and to negotiations, Qaddumi says that the death of Arafat had a
great impact on the Palestinian leadership and was a tragic development for
all the Arabs and Muslims.

Asked what he heard from the Iranians, given that "Tehran adopts a
negative stand on negotiations with Israel," he says: "This is not true.
They are aware that the solution will be a political solution. However,
they support what the Palestinians consider to be solutions to this problem,
provided the occupied Palestinian territories are liberated and provided
Jerusalem is liberated. They say that if the Palestinians want this, then
it is up to them."

Nasir asks Qaddumi: "Some say that Iran is infiltrating the Palestinian
ranks, as far as Gaza, through the Hizballah cadres or the Palestinian
Islamic organizations in Iran. Is this true? What do you think?"
Qaddumi says: "If you say infiltration, then we welcome it because this is
good. It means that they are extending support for the Palestinians
because they support the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause and
the liberation of Palestine. Therefore, this is truly a positive and not a
negative thing. Therefore, we welcome all the Arab and Islamic countries
to come and infiltrate us with such support."

Nasir then cites the newspaper Al-Watan [not further identified] as
saying that "you will receive $5 million from the Iranian embassy in
Damascus or from an Iranian representative in an Arab states." He asks
Qaddumi if this is true. Qaddumi says: "I believe that Al-Watan is not an
embassy for Iran. So far we heard this report only from Al-Watan and our
pockets are still empty."

Nasir asks: "About the comprehensive revision that you mentioned,
Abu-Mazin paid visits to Syria and Beirut, does this comprehensive revision
come within this diamond triangle, as Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabil
Birri calls it; namely, Iran, Lebanon, and Syria? How far you reached in
this revision?" Qaddumi says that his relations with Syria are very old
and he has his Arab nationalist roots. He says that he paved the way for
the Palestinian leaders to go to Syria, and adds: "As a result of Oslo,
there was really tension with the Palestinian Authority. The visit of the
brothers and officials in the Palestinian Authority was essential. We
arranged this and we informed them that His Excellency the president would
welcome them."

Asked "what has changed" and "has Syria changed by allowing Abbas
to come to Damascus?" Qaddumi says: "What happened was that the settlement
of the Palestinian issue failed. Oslo failed and everybody realized that
Oslo was a failure. Therefore there were no longer any differences between
us and there is no settlement except the Road Map. This also failed
because Mr Bush committed several violations of this Road Map by eliminating
all positive aspects of the Road Map. Bush says the 1949 borders are not
legitimate, the refugees will not return to their property but to the new
Palestinian state, if it is ever established, and there is no partner for
the war criminal Sharon to negotiate with."

Asked if Abu-Mazin's visit came because the Syrians also joined the idea
of a settlement, he says: "No it is not so. Everybody wants a political
settlement. We are sincere in our intentions to reach a political
settlement. Israel lies and the United States support Israeli lies."

Nasir argues that Abu-Mazin himself is advocating negotiations with
Israel and a political settlement with it, and Qaddumi himself supported
Abu-Mazin, criticized Marwan al-Barghuthi's nomination, and threatened him
with expulsion from Fatah. Qaddumi replies: "We notice that those who work
in Al-Jazirah always speak in a language that twists the meaning and
substance of words that we utter. It was said that I threatened brother
Marwan. Marwan is one of our young men. How can I threaten him? I just
reminded him of laws and regulations."

Interrupting Qaddumi, Nasir asks: "Is this not a threat?" Qaddumi
replies: "Please let me speak. I do not like anyone to interrupt me.
This is not a valid logic. There is no political settlement. There is
the Road Map which is devoid of any meaning."

Qaddumi says that there is a new phase after Arafat, and Abbas goes to
various states, adding: "They must know us and understand our principles and
our political program." He further adds: "We have never denied that we
support a political settlement. But it must be a just settlement.
However, the other side is a liar and keeps stalling. Therefore, the only
way to deal with them is resistance; yes, resistance."

Asked to comment on Abu-Mazin's statement that he does not support the
militarization of the intifadah, Qaddumi says: "That was in the past."
He adds that when the Palestinian revolution began armed struggle was the
basis of the revolution. He says: "It is wrong to use the term
militarization of the intifadah. Intifadah means armed resistance against
the occupation." He says: "The popular war is the war of the masses, the
war of convictions, the war of morale. It is not a war of confrontation.
We fight for one hour and incite the masses for 23 hours. We fight when we
find fighting to be useful and stop fighting when it is not useful. We
might stop for a month and then resume the resistance." He says that
"armed struggle is a basic requirement if there is no political settlement."

Asked his opinion on methods of resistance of the Islamic Jihad, HAMAS,
and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, he says: "They wanted us to stop the
martyrdom operations. We told them that we are not a regular army. We
are a people's army and we cannot control our fighters. When the struggler
sees the tank just near his house; when the struggler--whether he is within
the popular army or not--finds that the Israelis are demolishing his home or
killing his father or mother, we cannot prevent him. We told them:
Please withdraw to the 28 September [2000] borders so that we might have a
political achievement by which we can convince the fighters, whom we cannot
control, of our demands." He argues that "it is not easy for us to stop
martyrdom operations."

Nasir tells Qaddumi that the Palestinian Authority is of the opinion
that Sharon is the only one who can realize a political settlement that
preserves the Palestinians' primary demands, and asks him if this is right,
he says: "This is wrong because Sharon is a war criminal and has no
intention of realizing peace. I believe that his political life will end
next year." He says he does not believe that there will be any settlement
with Sharon.

Asked about the role of Egypt and Jordan, he says both countries have
"certain obligations" because they signed agreements with Israel. He says
they advise the Palestinians and if the advice suits the Palestinians they
accept it.

Qaddumi praises Al-Barghuthi as "a staunch struggler" and says "we were
very pleased when he withdrew is candidacy."

Asked about the apology to the Kuwaitis, he says: "I do not know why the
apology, if it really happened. I chaired the Arab League Council [when
Iraq invaded Kuwait] and issued the resolution as the chairman of the Arab
League council at that time, denouncing the Iraqi incursion into Kuwait.
Why then should we apologize?"

Asked if he objects to the apology, he say: "I say that there is no
reason for an apology. This reason is not valid. However, in order to
calm down our Arab brothers, we in fact show them our good intentions. As
for me, I will not apologize because I myself issued the resolution and I do
not find any reason whatsoever for an apology."

Asked if that is why he is not welcome in Kuwait, he says: "Yes.
Whether they welcome me or not, I am a Palestinian revolutionary. I
struggle for the sake of pan-Arab security and not only for the sake of
Palestine alone. If some want to join us, we welcome them. We are the
sons of Jamal Abd-al-Nasir and we were educated by him."

Asked if he intends to return to the Palestinian territory, given his
previous statements that Oslo was unjust and he would not return to live
under this injustice, he says: "You are right. I will not return to the
Palestinian territories as long as they are occupied. I am not prepared to
live under occupation so that Sharon might besiege me. God cursed him when
he was born and will also curse him when he dies and the dogs eat his
flesh."

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