Interview: Hadash MK Issam Makhoul: Palestinians can kill armed settlers
Aaron Lerner Date: 1 January, 2001
Background: The following is the text of Proposed Law 4794B presented by
Hadash Mk Issam Makhoul, Mohammad Barakeh and Tamar Gozansky presented to
the Knesset on 31.12.2001:
Proposed Law to Amend the Order for Preventing Terror (Struggle Against
Amendment to Paragraph 1: 1. In the Order for Preventing Terror 1948, at the
end of the definition of "terror organization" will come:
Excepting a group of people who struggle against the occupation that do not
carry out one of the following:
(1) Acts of violence that may cause the death or wounding of a person
directed towards someone who is not among the security forces'
(2) Threatening the use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear,
biological or chemical weapons.
IMRA interviewed Hadash MK Issam Makhoul, in Hebrew, on 1 January 2002:
IMRA: I had a question about your proposed law. I see in the text the line
"someone who is not among the security forces". What is the status of
settlers in this law? Are they considered as being among the security
Makhoul: These are things that should be clarified more when we make
preparations in committee for the first and second reading. The proposed law
does not say that there should or should not be opposition to the
occupation, and things that are a part of the occupation such as the opening
of a bypass road, confiscation of land, settlements. The proposed law
addresses the question as to whether opposition to the occupation is terror.
From that standpoint it is not terror.
IMRA: There is a subparagraph and I will read it to you: "Acts of violence
that may cause the death or wounding of a person directed towards someone
who is not among the security forces". Are settlers considered as a group
that is "among the security forces"?
Makhoul: Armed settlers who carry out hostile acts - yes.
IMRA: A settler who drives in his car and carries a weapon.
Makhoul: What can I tell you. I will be more concrete: from my standpoint
blowing up a bus in Haifa or Jerusalem or blowing up the Sbarro restaurant
is considered terror and the action at Alei Sinai was an act of war within
occupied territory that was not terror.
IMRA: I am relating to what is written here. Subparagraph 1. According to
the text you proposed are settlers considered "among the security forces"?
A settler how caries a weapon in his car is considered "among the security
Makhoul: Look, armed people are part of the occupation forces.
The basic matter in this proposed law that should be taken into account is
that there is considerable hypocrisy in the reaction to it after the
proposed law by Yisrael Katz that a party list that supports a terror
organization cannot run for the Knesset. We are, after all, trying to have
the law be in accordance with international law. Everyone is going wild on
IMRA: A bus of settler children. . .
Makhoul: Look, for me this is something that is unforgivable. But I am
talking about people who are carrying out activities that are part of the
IMRA: Are you aware of any Palestinian group that would qualify via this
amendment for removal from the terrorist classification? The moment you say
that an action against children who are settlers is an act of terror . . .
Makhoul: It is not part of the rules of the game.
IMRA: Then is there any Palestinian organization that would qualify to be
removed from the terrorist classification?
Makhoul: Of course. Almost all the elements of the PLO that first of all
are for peace and the struggle for the end of the occupation. As long as
their activities are within this framework then it is not to be considered
terror. It may be considered an act of violence and it could be considered
something not to be done but it is not an act of terror.
IMRA: I get it. Someone who wipes out a bus of children would be engaged
in something considered an act of violence but not an act of terror.
Makhoul: No a bus of children is an act of terror.
IMRA: So you are not thinking of Fatah Tanzim but some other group inside
Fatah? I am trying to think of the subgroups of Fatah, which subgroup would
have that description?
Makhoul: I think that Tanzim. Tanzim doesn't advocate it and do not do it.
Ben Elizer and Mofaz can claim what they want all day but in practice they
attack soldiers in the struggle. . .
IMRA: Only soldiers?
IMRA: When I saw subparagraph (1) "Acts of violence that may cause the
death or wounding of a person" does this mean that someone who throws a rock
or a firebomb at a car that may cause death or injury would be engaged in
Makhoul: But that is not an act of terror. It is an act of violence,
rebellion. It cannot be compared to terror.
IMRA: I get it. Throwing rocks and firebombs in order to kill someone is
not an act of terror.
Makhoul: It is a popular act. Around the world you see it - blocking roads,
burning tires. . .
IMRA: And throwing rocks and fire bombs?
Makhoul: It is not terror. The strong claim that rock throwing is an act of
IMRA: Was Arafat's letter of September 1993 in which Arafat promised not to
use violence but instead to negotiate a forfeiting of what you see as an
international right to use force to liberate the occupied territories.
Makhoul: It is not naive to make such a claim. This was a promise made
within peacemaking - not to continue the occupation.
IMRA: So it was conditional.
Makhoul: I am not saying that. When you continue the war against the
Palestinians you cannot expect this to be honored.
IMRA: You are saying that the Israelis started it?
Makhoul: That's not the point. I am saying who decided that Oslo is dead?
Arafat gave this promise within that framework.
IMRA: The Fatah declaration that the Intifada should continue along with
the negotiations is just rhetoric.
Makhoul: No. I think that if the Israelis with the help of President
Clinton tried to impose a final agreement that was not just on the
Palestinian People - that left some occupied Palestinian land under
occupation - that should be freed according to UN decisions, and left other
issues unresolved, then this is not acceptable.
IMRA: I do not want to take you time. Am I to understand from what you are
saying that Arafat's commitment in the letter only applies if all the
demands of the Palestinians are met?
Makhoul: All the commitments of the US and the international community.
IMRA: Let's put it this way: as long as Israel does not offer complete
withdrawal to the 1967 line and the removal of the settlements in the final
agreement then Arafat has the right to go out of his promise not to use
Makhoul: That is my position - that the withdrawal must be to the 1967
lines. As long as the Israeli government continues with the position that
they seek a military rather than diplomatic resolution of the conflict then
Arafat's commitment does not hold.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director
IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-5480092
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