MB: No, I don't, because I think Palestinians can easily be unified if Israel removed its objection to the formation of a national unity government in Palestine. We managed - I was the main mediator of the construction of the first national unity government; we had a very good government that represented 96% of the Palestinian spectrum. We had a government that had a rather flexible political program. We were promised by many world leaders, including some American leaders, that that government would be recognized, and then it was Israel that launched a campaign to undermine that national unity government and its impact. So, we had the best democratic elections in the whole Arab world. We had the model of democracy, and it was thwarted by Israel, when Israel arrested one-third of the members of our legislature, who are still in Israeli jails.
So, the key to peace is that Israel accept our right, like their right, to democratically and openly and freely choose our leaders. If they recognize our right of freely choosing our leaders, like the people of Ireland chose their leaders, like the people of South Africa had the right to choose their leaders, like Senator Feinstein said, in the inauguration of President Obama, when she introduced him, and she said that very important sentence. She said: the root of democracy is the right of the people to freely choose their leaders.
If that is applied to Palestine, you can have a unified leadership tomorrow. But Israel has to accept our right of choosing our leaders. What Israel is doing is transforming the area into an apartheid system; they want, not Palestinian real leadership, they want cantons and something like a Vichy government, something like a security agency occupation. They want to choose for us who should be our leaders, and who should negotiate on our behalf, and of course the outcome would be a very weak leadership, and then they will say, we have a weak leadership that we cannot negotiate with.
The basic problem is, Israel up to this moment does not want to negotiate because Israel does not want to share the land, and does not want to accept our right as human beings, as equal human beings who are entitled to freedom and dignity, like Jewish Israelis have.
GG: A couple more questions, and just a couple, I know our time is a little bit limited. When you were running for the presidency of the Palestinian Authority in 2005, you were subjected to all sorts of extraordinary restrictions regarding your ability to speak to the Palestinian people, even your mobility within Palestinian land.
Could you talk about some of the restrictions that were imposed upon you even as you were running for president of the Palestinian Authority?
MB: During the period of six, seven weeks, I was subjected to several attacks from the Israeli side. I was basically arrested or attacked eight times, in seven weeks. At one point I was stopped at a checkpoint with my people and I was beaten by the Israeli soldiers. I was arrested three times inside Jerusalem because each time, even when I had a permit to go to Jerusalem, and meet with President Carter there, they, after the meeting, they arrested me and practically kidnapped me for a few hours.
GG: And Jerusalem was where you were born, right?
MB: I was in East Jerusalem, exactly. I worked in East Jerusalem as a medical doctor for 14 years in the major hospital there, and still they prevent me from reaching the people in Jerusalem and they arrested me.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Glenzilla with a really "interesting" interview of Dr. Mustafa Barghouti: