Transcript: Released Bomber Ahmed Jbarra - bombing for peace
[Transcribed by Terry Mendoza with thanks to David Frankfurter]
[IMRA: It should be noted that while Ahmed Jbarra (aka Ahmad El-Sukar)
expalins in this BBC interview that he bombs for peace and that the
situation has not chanced that one of the conditions of his release was that
he solemly signed a promise he would not bomb - for peace or otherwise -
James Reynolds speaks to the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner, recently
released by Israel.
BBC Radio 4: 'Today'
8:32 am 17th June 2003 [4 minutes 24 seconds]
Sarah Montague: Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen has little to show for
his time in office so far - no ceasefire and not much progress on the
'Roadmap'. But he has achieved one thing - he has secured from Israel the
release of the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner - a man who spent 28
years in jail. Our correspondent James Reynolds is in Jerusalem. Hello
JR: Hi Sarah. Thanks. Now back in July 1975, not far from here in the
centre of Jerusalem, a man left a refrigerator, packed with explosives in a
square. It blew up, killing 13 people[IMRA: 14 were murdered in the
attack], and the bomber, Ahmed Jbarra also known as Abu Sukkad[IMRA: Ahmad
El-Sukar], arrested, convicted and jailed and he stayed in prison until the
start of this month. Now, at the age of 67, he is free and he has become a
leading Palestinian figure. He's just been appointed a special adviser to
the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. I spoke to him in a hotel in Ramallah
and my first question: Do you have any remorse for the bombing?
AJ: When we fight, we fight for peace. We never fight for (to) kill people.
But, before you ask this question for me, ask for the Israelis if they make
the same thing.
JR: But I often do - I often ask Israelis in the aftermath of attacks, which
kill Palestinians how, they feel, and that's the question I asked you as 13
Israelis were killed.
AJ: They never feel sorry about that - they never.
JR: But what about you?
AJ: I had a home. I had land, I had a state, but now I didn't have
anything. I didn't have anything now.
JR: Nevertheless 13 people were killed because of what you did.
AJ: The Israeli people, they killed many, many people of us.
JR: Does that justify killing on the other side?
AJ: Because they kill us. They kill us, they kill many children.
JR: But again, does that justify killing 13 people in the centre of
AJ: The operation killed 13 people and injured over 78 people. But this is
just (because) we (are) fighting for peace.
JR: You say that was the 'right way to fight'. Just last week 17 Israelis
were killed in a bus bombing - that's very close to where you carried out.
AJ: Excuse me, excuse me - how many Palestinian killed in this time? They
kill at least, in one month, from 80 to 90 to 100 people. We must to stop
this dirty fight - between Palestinian and Israeli.
JR: In which you were a main player!
AJ: We hope, we hope and I wish to stop this mad war.
JR: So you say that if they kill your people then you should continue
fighting but you're also saying that you shouldn't carry out more bombings?
AJ: But there is (the) obligation to fight. We try to make peace. I am
ready and the leaders of the Palestinian Abu Mazen, Dahlan, all the
Palestinian leaders, is ready to sign the peace with the Israelis in 24
hours. But, let us live as people - we want a state - really. If they don't
fight, the Israelis, if they give something, no more (war).
JR: So its only through fighting that you get concessions?
AJ: If the Palestinian will not fight for their rights, never be state for
the Palestinians. The Israelis, they don't give us anything.
JR: Mr Jbarra, you were in jail for 28 years, how has the world changed
since you went to jail?
AJ: Nothing has been changed. Never been change in 27 years. Because I am
arrested in Ramallah before 27 year. It was under their occupation. Now,
now I came back to Ramallah it is worse.
JR: Do you support the road map?
AJ: I support the road map if (it) give us the state and within the state
Jerusalem, (the) capital.
JR: Next to Israel?
AJ: Yes, next to Israel. I believe in peace - we don't want to cast the
sky, we don't want to cast the moon, the sun.we want a small state, small
state - 6,000 mile.
Male Announcer: Well, that was a really remarkable interview by James
Reynolds with Ahmed Jbarra who has just released from jail after 27 years.
The time is .