You know, I think that Palestine has always been spoiled by the Arabs. It is not just my opinion but it is the opinion of many Arabic intellectuals such as Ali Salim. And what happens – whenever there is an internal problem in any Arab country and regime or the government always takes the opportunity to remember that Palestine has to be freed for instance. Now the appearance of this question mark about Arafat’s death, it is another try of taking the eyes from the internal problems of many of countries such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon or Jordan any way and have a look at the outside. So, I think that now it doesn’t matter whether Arafat has been poisoned or not, of course there could be some interest, but I think it is another case of Palestine spoiled by the Arabs.
But if we remember what he did, I heard certain experts saying that anyway at the time when he died he was kind of a worked out material from a political point of view. Is that really so?
Arafat like many other people and politicians in the Palestinian authority made many mistakes and of course it could be that at that time he was very weak and we’ve seen after his death the elections that saw Hamas winning all over. So, of course it could even be an internal problem inside Palestine. If he was poisoned – who did poison him? Israel or somebody inside Palestine who didn’t want him to go ahead with some kind of politics? There was somebody, I don’t remember who it was, who said that Palestinians never lost an opportunity to lose an opportunity. And this is true. It is not the Palestinians, the people’s fault of course, but of the rulers of course. And so whoever tried to have a path to peace, to a kind of a peaceful solution had his road cut by the other people, either was killed or killed from the political point of view. So, there could be many reasons for killing of Yasser Arafat.
But what were his relations with the Muslim Brotherhood which was already there? I’m not looking for those parties who could have killed him but I’m just trying to imagine what could be the implications of his policies in the present time, I mean what could be the continuation of his policy.
I think that now we reached the level of tension, now there is a regional situation that is totally different. Israel is now really surrounded, we don’t have to forget that the only two countries which had good relations, at least formal relations with Israel, that is Egypt and Jordan, they are not so good friends any more of Israel. So, we know that the present new elected President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi said – ok, we are not going to change anything of our relations between Egypt and Israel. But we know that he belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is the mother of Hamas. So, something which maybe is not going to change now but in the future something will change, I’m sure.
Jordan, we don’t have to forget that Khalid Mashaal was at least three times in the last month in Jordan. This means that there is a real approach of Hamas to Jordan. We don’t have to forget that the population of Jordan is made of Palestinians, more of Palestinians than of Jordan birth people. So, it is very difficult now with the Muslim Brotherhood which is very ahead in the front of the foreign relations of Arab countries and of course now it is very difficult to think of a peace treaty with Israel of any Arab country.
We don’t have to forget that in the preamble of the new Tunisian constitution there is written that we are going to fight for the rights of Palestinian people. So, Tunisia of course is not going to recognize the existence of the state of Israel. We don’t have to forget that for instance lately in Morocco at the film festival, so it has nothing to do with the governments, politics or whatever, there was an Israeli film which was going to be awarded and it wasn’t just because some Arab countries such as Tunisia and Egypt opposed it deserves this prize. So, there is an eternal hate between Arabs and Israel and now with the Islamic parties at governments in Tunisia, in Egypt, Islamic parties are very strong in any Arab country, and any peace treaty with Israel would be very difficult.
So, from what you are saying it looks like the positions of Fatah are also being weakened as compared to the positions of Hamas.
Yes, of course. There is no doubt at all.
Does that imply that perhaps Mr. Abbas becomes a less significant figure in this game in the Middle East?
He keeps on being an official figure but he is going to be much more a kind of a puppet in the hands of Hamas people.
Wouldn’t that imply any wave of unrest in the Palestinian autonomy?
The problem is that the Hamas position which is the position of the Muslim Brotherhood is not the position that is going to help the Palestinian people. That’s what I really think. I’ve got Palestinian friends and I’ve got Arab friends among the intellectuals and whatever, and I’m totally convinced that this kind of position is not going to help people, it is going to help political Islam, it is going to help Arab countries that still need Palestine suffering, a resisting Palestine than a free Palestine or at least a two states solution in the area.
So, and what is the prospect?
I think that nowadays the prospect is not a very good one. The problem is the regional stability and all what is happening in the area, with the Muslim Brotherhood gaining ground, we don’t have to forget that for instance in case the Syrian regime will fall, and it is going to fall sooner or later, the main opposition force is the Muslim Brotherhood again. And the opposition is not opposition is favour of stability of the region. We don’t have to forget that the Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said during some interviews before he was elected that Egypt will have to build again some good relations with Iran and we don’t have to ask why, because Iran is the first enemy of the state of Israel. And it is very clear, you know, the Muslim Brotherhood and the ideology spread in the region, we don’t have to forget that even people who are not linked to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, in all Arab countries, are very clearly against the existence of the state of Israel. So, all this with the regimes headed by the Muslim Brotherhood means that stability would be very difficult to be maintained in the region.