[News] Palestinian struggle, unity and liberation

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 4 11:42:27 EDT 2015


*http://pflp.ps/english/2015/08/02/interview-with-khaled-barakat-palestinian-struggle-unity-and-liberation/* 



  Interview with Khaled Barakat: Palestinian struggle, unity and liberation

*August 2, 2015
The following interview was translated from the original Arabic 
<http://pflp.ps/ar/post/11077/%D8%AD%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%B4%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D9%81%D9%8A%D9%82-%D8%AE%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%8A-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AC%D8%A8%D9%87%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D8%B9%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%88%D9%85%D9%86%D8%B3%D9%82-%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%84%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%B6%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B1%D9%81%D9%8A%D9%82-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%A6%D8%AF-%D8%A3%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF-%D8%B3%D8%B9%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AA> by 
the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat:*

The Central Information Department of the Popular Front for the 
Liberation of Palestine conducted this comprehensive political interview 
with the writer, Comrade Khaled Barakat, coordinator of the 
international Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat 
<http://freeahmadsaadat.org>. The interview addressed a number of 
issues, including the current situation of the Palestinian political 
struggle and developments in Palestine and in the Palestinian diaspora. 
Today, we publish the first part of the interview with Comrade Khaled 
Barakat:

Q1. There is a heightened state of tension in the occupied West Bank and 
throughout the homeland after the burning and martyrdom of the 
Palestinian baby Ali Dawabsheh (18 months). We see continuous Israeli 
crimes, but also continuing political and security meetings between the 
Palestinian Authority and the enemy, the most recent being that between 
Saeb Erekat and Silvan Shalom in Amman. How should we assess the enemy’s 
behavior both politically and on the ground, and the performance of the 
PA leadership? What is required of the Palestinian national forces?

A: What is needed today Is what was needed yesterday: to leave aside the 
fragmentation and tampering with the Palestinian cause and work 
immediately to achieve operational and political unity on the ground to 
confront the enemy and thwart its plans and policies. The crime of the 
burning of the child martyr Ali Dawabsheh at dawn on 31 July was 
preceded by the assassination of the martyr Mohammed Abu Latifa in 
Qalandia refugee camp and the near-daily bombing of the Gaza Strip 
targeting fishers and farmers, the imposition of collective punishment 
on prisoners, the storming of Muslim and Christian holy sites, 
particularly the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and other crimes, reaching Lebanon and 
Syria. This reflects the nature of these crimes, inherent in the nature 
of the Zionist enemy as a settler colonial invader. This entity, this 
state can only be and always has been, a criminal and a murderer. And it 
requires a united political response to live up to the level of the 
sacrifices of our people.

And I say that knowing that the PLO and Palestinian Authority leadership 
has sought to exploit such events not to fight for our people but to 
improve their negotiating position and maintain their privileges. 
Particularly, the Fateh movement must bear its national responsibility 
and not trade on the national struggle and its historic role. Popular 
armed resistance alone has the potential to defeat the occupation and 
the settlers, not anything else.

The protection of Palestinian land and holy sites and the advancement of 
Palestinian rights advocated by Palestinian factions in separate 
statements requires first the unity of all patriotic forces to uphold 
their responsibility and duty. Confronting the occupation and the crimes 
of the settler colonists and responding to them must be part of a plan 
of action and a unified strategy.

Q2: Comrade General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat threatened an open hunger 
strike if the Prison Administration did not repeal its order prohibiting 
him from family visits, and the PFLP Prison Branch expressed its 
willingness to join in such a strike along with its leader. Later, he 
was transferred to Nafha prison and there is now a boiling state of 
tension in Nafha prison and throughout the prisons, the General 
Secretary and his fellow prisoners were beaten and abused. How do we 
follow up on these developments – what are the steps that can be taken, 
particularly outside occupied Palestine?

A: Comrade Sa’adat threw a stone into still water, as he has done on 
multiple occasions in the past, with an idea that is known and 
intuitive, shedding light on what is happening – the confiscation of the 
most basic rights of the prisoners, who are confronting brutal attacks 
by Zionist prison authorities. The hunger strike is an ultimate weapon 
to which a captive resorts after exhausting all means to achieve their 
goal. What is important is to achieve the demands of the prisoners 
collectively, of the national prisoners’ movement, its leadership and 
solid core. The issue here is a simple right; family visits are a basic 
right of a prisoner. There is no human conscience that can justify the 
collective punishment of Palestinian families, prisoners’ parents, 
spouses, children and grandchildren.

It is required of us to do our duty and uphold our responsibility to 
pressure the occupation, its institutions and organizations at the 
Palestinian, Arab and international levels to advance the demands of the 
Palestinian prisoners’ movement. Everyone is needed to uphold their 
responsibilities. The final word in determining the demands is that of 
the comrades and brothers in Israeli jails, who are best able to 
identify and determine the nature of the battle, the details and the 
timing, as they are the most knowledgeable and intimately acquainted 
with the situation.

Q3: Gaza is still a massive wound. The dust still settles after the 
battle; the crossings are continuously closed, there is a constant 
siege, and the reconstruction process is non-operational. There are also 
fears of political deals to cut Gaza off from the struggle against the 
occupation of our entire people, to liquidate the resistance over a 
long-term calm, or to use blackmail and threats over the suffering of 
our people. How do you see these positions and what do you advise to our 
people in the Strip to confront such plots?

A: Our people in the Gaza Strip do not need advice from us as much as 
they need us to act to provide a positive climate at the national level 
to protect the struggle and accomplishments that were made through their 
blood and suffering. You should not accept the transfer of the call for 
“reconstruction” to a political blackmail project that seeks to benefit 
the enemy and hostile forces to impose their will through cement, 
medicine, and food, after they failed to impose their will with bombs 
and massacres. Again, Palestinian elites, political parties and 
political forces must elevate their role to the level of the sacrifices 
and commitment of the people, and bear their national responsibility by 
implementing the popular demand for the achievement of national unity 
without hesitation or delay. The road to national unity is known to 
those who want to achieve it, and not to reproduce empty and false 
slogans with no political will behind them.

What is needed is perpetuation of the status of confrontation with the 
enemy as required by the stage, nature and conditions of our people in 
each area. It is required to strengthen the resilience of the popular 
classes and the poor, to protect and amplify their voice and their 
achievements in the refugee camps, both inside and outside the homeland. 
What is required is to demand of the official Arab regimes, and first 
the Egyptian state: act now to end the siege on our people. What is 
needed is a unified Palestinian political stance that opens the way for 
a new political stage. All of our people know what is necessary.

In the final analysis, we must say the following: The Palestinian 
popular classes who pay almost the entire price in the conflict with the 
enemy do not wish to see their blood, their sacrifices and their 
struggle wasted or dissipated, their achievements traded or auctioned in 
the market of policies, or lost between the forces and countries that 
vie and contend in the region for their own private economic and 
political interests. The siege must be broken without political 
concessions. This is a critical Palestinian, Arab and international 
responsibility that is not limited to the resistance and our people in 
the Gaza Strip.

To the extent that over a century of militancy, struggle and permanent 
readiness for sacrifice has assured us of the leading role of the 
impoverished and oppressed classes as stakeholders in progress, change, 
and liberation, we are equally assured through experience of the 
permanent readiness for compromise and trading on our rights by the 
traditional reactionary forces who sit on the throne of the Palestinian 
political decision which they have monopolized and confiscated for 
themselves.

The reality is that our people are aware of and understand, almost 
instinctively, the meaning and requirements of the stage of national 
liberation. National unity does not mean uniformity and conformity in 
all situations; in fact, consistency means diversity in the context of 
our battle for return and liberation in a broader and larger national 
movement than simply “factions,” although these are supposed to serve as 
a revolutionary vanguard. Our people understand this equation well and 
have always preceded far beyond their “leadership,” and we have always 
faced the curse of a layer of “pashas,” “leaders,” “sheikhs” and 
traditional leadership at the head.

Reliance on the so-called “long-term truce” or “negotiations” and 
similar deals with the enemy and dealing unilaterally with all of these 
“initiatives,” are all  miserable options that have only benefitted the 
enemy. Not one such similar initiative has succeeded or benefited our 
people since 1948, so why would it be different today? This is 
particularly true in light of the political fragmentation on the 
Palestinian scene.

Engaging in such behavior is always rationalized with the goal of 
alleviating the suffering of our people. In reality, however, such 
“initiatives” only prolong the suffering and torment, whether 
intentionally or through erroneous understandings of the nature of the 
enemy, its positions and the political conditions. Relying on illusions 
necessarily leads to equally disastrous results.

Q4: But what about reconciliation between Fateh and Hamas? How do we 
understand this in light of this analysis, particularly when we are 
discussing the largest Palestinian movements?

A: What prevents Fateh and Hamas from ending the so-called “division” 
are political options, negative positions, and considerations of 
regional and international sponsors and authorities that each movement 
takes as a source of legitimacy, as well as their insistence on a 
political role as a partner in the Palestinian Authority. Any who 
accepts to be a follower or a tool in service of regional and 
international forces, or even a junior partner, must bear the 
consequences before history and our people.

Our people is the reference above all references. And when we say that 
“no voice is louder than the voice of the Palestinian people,” this 
slogan must not be emptied of its democratic essence and content by 
minimizing it into a call to “resolve the issue of elections” and divide 
the roles and functions of the Authority between Fateh and Hamas, 
diminishing the Palestinian cause. It is required of all national 
forces, and specifically the radical left and the Popular Front, to 
embark on a broader program of mass popular organization inside 
Palestine and in all countries of exile to impose a new reality to 
achieve national unity and to raise awareness and hope. The situation of 
our cause is absurd and condemns us all; it must not last long, this is 
a time of historical responsibility, of suffering and of blood.

Q5: Popular resistance, especially in the West Bank, is facing major 
threats, there is little support for the “youth movement” in Jerusalem, 
the national liberation project is being undermined because of the 
continued policy of the Palestinian Authority in relying on 
negotiations, its continued security coordination with the occupier, its 
political arrests. The Palestinian political system is confiscated, our 
case is divided into files of humiliating negotiations and agreements. 
What is the alternative?

A: If we follow the movements of the enemy and read the proceedings of 
the Herzliya strategy conference and the visions presented by Zionist 
forces, we easily realize that the Zionist enemy does not want to give 
anything to the Palestinian Authority, not even illusions. It views the 
West Bank and Jerusalem as an integral part of the “Land of Israel;” for 
them, this is “Judea and Samaria.” The leaders of “Israel” view peace 
today as the development of joint industrial zones in Bethlehem, 
Ramallah, Nablus and other cities, and strengthening its relations with 
a Palestinian capitalist comprador layer. And thus the Palestinian 
resistance has a double task: to deter the enemy and its settlers on the 
one hand and to deter the Palestinian class cooperating on security and 
economic levels with the Zionist enemy. These struggles are important 
and interrelated – and this is not a new issue for our people in the 
occupied homeland.

The popular movement in occupied Jerusalem and in areas that are not 
controlled by the Palestinian Authority needs to develop 
self-sufficiently from inside and do not need to be contained or 
directed by the factions. Whoever wants to struggle, they stand before 
an open and empty field. Maintaining our struggle and an open conflict 
with the enemy requires removing the shackles of the security, economic 
and political role of the Palestinian Authority which stands as a 
barrier between the masses and the enemy – usually in favor of the 
enemy. On the ground, where there is no Palestinian Authority control, 
the Palestinian resistance is more able to organize, to act, and to move.

In this respect it should be noted that there is a renewal of creative 
forms of resistance, of studies and articles produced by today’s new 
generation of young Palestinians, addressing forms of popular resistance 
and current challenges. There is no political project of liberation 
without the attendant intellectual and cultural project of liberation.

Q6: To return to the question, what is the revolutionary democratic 
alternative to what exists today?

A: The answer is that the revolutionary democratic alternative is born 
in the squares and the streets, the universities, factories, trade 
unions and prisons; it must be advanced from a matter of wishful 
thinking and dreams to a practical question. This means that we must 
resurrect a revolutionary renewal, cut the Oslo path and establish a new 
phase in which the Palestinian national liberation movement can regain 
its role and the prestige it lost in favor of NGOs, with the leadership 
and initiative of the refugee camps and the popular classes, workers and 
the poor.

The conflict with the enemy is long and difficult. It will continue for 
decades to come, and the task of the new generation includes 
communication with previous generations, reading and learning about 
their experience and in turn establishing new mechanisms of struggle to 
advance the movement. The question of the revolutionary democratic 
alternative is a collective question that requires a collective answer. 
This revolutionary democratic alternative cannot be born through a 
decision, statement or appeal of any faction, no matter how hard we try 
to perfect the language.

Q7: What is the reality of the Palestine Liberation Organization today 
and its challenges? Is it possible to repair and restore its role and 
status?

A: Today, the PLO’s leadership does not reflect the aspirations and 
dreams of our people. The actions and attitudes of this leadership is a 
source only of despair for the masses of our people. The PLO was a great 
historical achievement of the early Fedayeen (freedom fighters), and the 
organization must be restored and its decision-making process and 
institutions freed from the monopolizing grip of this “leadership.” It 
must include in its ranks all of the national forces of resistance from 
different intellectual and political trends, without exception. The PLO 
that we want is a national united front fighting to achieve our full 
national rights, for return, the liberation of Palestine and the 
establishment of a democratic Palestine on the entire land of Palestine 
with Jerusalem as its capital. And in this arena, let us compete with 
one another to achieve these goals.

Q8: The occupation abducted leader, activist and Palestinian Legislative 
Council member Khalida Jarrar, and before that dozens of MPs, in 
disregard of the international community and flagrant violation of 
international law. There has been broad solidarity from progressive 
international forces, but on an official level there has been very 
little action from the international community, particularly the United 
Nations, regarding the imprisonment of members of the PLC. How can we 
build pressure around this issue?

A: The enemy failed to forcibly displace the leader, Khalida Jarrar, 
from Ramallah to Jericho, due to her struggle and the wide support she 
found. If they had been successful, they would have created a dangerous 
political precedent. There was clear popular and international 
solidarity with her as a Palestinian leader confronting occupation and 
injustice. And she achieved a victory, forcing them to cancel the order 
for forced displacement. There were efforts throughout occupied 
Palestine, the Popular Front held a strong political position, there 
were dozens of meetings with parliamentarians around the world, visits 
from solidarity delegations, and Khalida Jarrar’s protest tent turned 
into a daily space of organizing solidarity. All of this forced the 
occupation within a month to turn back as it failed to implement its 
order. In other words, the occupation’s order was defeated.

Khalida Jarrar’s detention, her imprisonment, comes in this context, to 
cover up the failure of the occupation in achieving its goal of forced 
displacement. If we look at the list of charges against Jarrar, we can 
see how much the occupation has failed. The international press and even 
the Israeli press have published articles exposing the fraudulent nature 
of the “Jarrar case.” Dozens of parties, activists, parliamentarians, 
delegations and trade union and party leaders have denounced these 
charges and are defending Khalida Jarrar against the occupation.

Q9: The Zionist occupation has confessed that the boycott campaign is no 
less dangerous to its existence than the strikes of the armed 
resistance. What are the reasons for the escalation of these campaigns 
and the growing results that have led to serious losses for the 
occupation to the extent that it is investing millions of dollars to 
suppress these campaigns?

A: Nothing hurts, frightens and impacts the occupation and its interests 
more than armed resistance. However, there are real blows being dealt to 
its image, public relations, and economy by another weapon of struggle: 
the economic, political, academic, and cultural comprehensive boycott of 
the Zionist entity. The Zionist state is afraid of isolation, and the 
boycott movement is building international isolation and rejection of 
normalization, in accordance with the logic of accountability: a 
criminal state must be punished with isolation.

In addition, the growing global boycott movement raises many questions 
about the occupation state, its founding and future, its nature and 
role. Herein lies the greatest fear of the Zionist entity and its 
leaders, whereby it sees the international boycott movement as a 
strategic threat which must be confronted, and for which it is willing 
to spend millions of dollars to stop what the Zionist state itself has 
labeled the battle of the “delegitimization of Israel.”

The occupation, with all of these efforts, has failed to prevent the 
global boycott campaigns from making real achievements in what might be 
seen as the “forbidden triangle” for Palestinian organizing: 
universities, trade unions and churches. These institutions have huge 
social, political and economic investment in the occupation; trade 
unions, for example, in the United States, have poured efforts and funds 
into investment in the Zionist entity, in particular “Israel bonds,” in 
retirement accounts and pensions. These social institutions have 
provided a cover to the Zionist state, using the justification of 
reparations for the European crimes and the Holocaust against Jews in 
Nazi Germany, through alliances with US and Western states’ imperialism 
and colonialism, and with the strategic imposition and threats of the 
Zionist movement.

Today, these institutions are divided, and some play a major role in 
participating in the boycott campaigns. There is a deep internal 
struggle, and in the corridors and meetings, a constant debate and 
political battles between “supporters of Palestine” and “supporters of 
Israel,” particularly in general assemblies and conferences. We may not 
win every vote, and every clash, but the presence of Palestine on the 
agenda is becoming a clear reality and is recognized by the enemy as a 
major breakthrough which it cannot tolerate. Thus, it regards the issue 
as a matter of strategic, and existential, threat.

It is always important to remind ourselves that this achievement is 
possible due to the blood of the martyrs, the suffering and sacrifices 
of our people, and the popular resistance in all of its forms, in the 
first place, the armed resistance. There is no way to mobilize a 
solidarity movement with a silenced or defeated victim; silence for our 
people means death. The people, the forces of justice in the world, will 
stand by the side of those who fight, who scream, who rebel and defend 
their rights.

The conscience of humanity cannot observe the images of death and 
destruction and war crimes perpetrated by the Zionist enemy in Palestine 
and stand by as an observer. The United Nations have done so for seven 
decades, in the exercise of a crime and the complicity of silence, but 
the liberation movements, progressive forces, and the democratic, 
popular, student, feminist movements, labor organizations and popular 
movements do not stand silent in the face of these crimes, and demand to 
hold governments accountable. These forces have different calculations 
than states.

Finally, the Zionist enemy has gone too far in the use of its military 
arsenal against our people. It has used all weapons with the exception 
of nuclear weapons, targeting our people specifically.

Q10: France continues to imprison the Arab struggler, Georges Ibrahim 
Abdallah. What do you think needs to be done to build the campaign of 
solidarity with him and pressure for his release?

A: Solidarity with Comrade Georges Ibrahim Abdallah is an ongoing 
campaign, based in Beirut, with the family and friends of Georges 
Abdallah and individual Lebanese and Palestinian activists, but without 
any meaningful support from the Lebanese state and major parties, 
including, unfortunately, forces of both the Lebanese and Palestinian 
resistance. But, particularly in the cities of Toulouse, Marseille, 
Paris and elsewhere in France, events and struggle is continuing, with a 
series of events and rallies outside the prison where he is held.

There is also a connection with the campaign of solidarity with General 
Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat, which since its inception in 2002 has sought to 
build solidarity with Arab and other political prisoners in the prisons 
of France, Canada, the United States, the Philippines, Colombia and 
elsewhere, linking the struggles of our peoples against imperialism, our 
common enemy, as we work to raise the voice of indigenous peoples, the 
true owners of the land, to confront the forces of colonialism and 
settler colonialism, from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United 
States to Mexico, South Africa and Palestine.

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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