In an interview sent by his Information Office to the media, and have been received by Islam Times in Palestine, Al-Barghouti pledged again that the banner of resistance will stay high and that the constants of our people would continue to be our guide, recalling with pride and honor the launching of the first popular intifada since nearly a quarter-century, as well as the initiation of Al-Aqsa Intifada a dozen years ago.
Al-Barghouthi saluted those who were wounded and injured and are fellows in prison and detention, the champions of Intifada and the heroes of resistance, the militant prisoners in the Israeli jails who are still stuck to their principles and constants. He also addressed a greeting of pride and loyalty to our great people everywhere marking the beginning of the revolution led by the Fatah movement, pledging and promising again that Fatah, according to him, would continue to be loyal to its principles and faithful to its constants, particularly the sacred right of returning the Palestinian refugees to their homes from which they were expelled by the Zionist terrorism.
The full text of the interview is being divided into two parts. The first part is found herein as follows:
By which side is Fatah standing 48 years after the initiation?
Fatah has had the honor of firing the first shot and launching the contemporary armed revolution, saving the Palestinian identity from the rubble of the Nakba, and crystallizing the political entity through the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Yet, Fatah is now facing significant challenges, particularly the challenge of ending the occupation and expelling it out of our land. Knowing to what extent a faction, party, organization, or leader is having a national loyalty depends on the extent of their contribution to the battle of ending the occupation, since this challenge is the most important. The Fatah movement, which was the first to shot and the protector of the historical role in the two uprisings, and which established the first authority on the occupied Palestinian territory and achieved great political victories and achievements internationally for the sake of our people, should start the new year with a high spirit and a great readiness to meet the challenge of ending the occupation at all levels, in all fields, and with all means and methods. It should also mobilize all potentials and devote all energies and efforts to achieve this goal.
As for the second challenge, it is represented in ending the division and fragmentation that offended our people and their just struggle. This could be done through accelerating the implementation of the agreements that have been signed starting from the document of the prisoners, the national reconciliation, and including the Doha document and everything in between, as well as through the formation of a single and unified government of national unity, unifying all the institutions, and preparing for the conduction of actual presidential and legislative elections including that related to the membership of the National Council. This comes especially since the elections took place several years ago and the leading institutions became weak and fragile. Staying away from ending the division is no longer acceptable or justified, and history, the people, the martyrs, and the prisoners would never forgive any party, any leader or any official putting obstacles in front of the wheel of national reconciliation.
The third challenge is to face the failure of the option of negotiations with courage and wisdom and to activate the option of resistance. We have warned over the past years of relying on the stick of the absurd negotiations and on the illusions and mirage of negotiations or diplomatic contacts with this party or that. Moreover, we stressed the need for having wise, courageous, and smart pairing between the resistance and the political and diplomatic action. The events and developments have proven that the negotiations will not work, but would seriously damage the Palestinian National interests and Israel would utilize this to cover up the settlement, occupation, siege, aggression, and detention. In fact, it is time to insist on a clear and definitive position that says that the negotiations will not take place before a frank and clear official declaration and pledge by Israel to accept the withdrawal to the 1967 borders, to stop the settlement completely, and to recognize the Palestinian State as having full sovereignty and having Jerusalem as its capital. Israel should also recognize the UN Resolution 194 relating to the Palestinian refugees, and release all the prisoners and detainees before any negotiations, as well as to conduct any negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations and its guarantees.
Do you think it is possible to achieve national unity and reconciliation after these years of division?
It is a shame and pity, and even a disgrace to turn the national unity and reconciliation into a controversial issue that have diverse view points. If the passage of 45 years since the occupation, and 65 years since the Nakba, and the war of Judaization of Jerusalem, the aggression, detention, barriers, settlements and the siege, if all this does not require a national unity or reconciliation what then would require so?
I call the Palestinian people and the youth of Palestine, including all the stripes and the future generations, to take the initiative and to impose unity through going out to streets in the West Bank, Gaza and in the Diaspora to protest in front of the headquarters of the factions and leaders to end the division.
You were one of the most prominent draftsmen of the prisoners’ document of national reconciliation, why don’t you compose a new initiative?
We do not need initiatives, documents, or proposals; we need a national will and a high spirit of responsibility towards our people and their holy cause that needs to rise above partisan, sectarian, and personal interests. History will not have mercy on the leaders that are playing with the fate of the Palestinian people, and if reconciliation was not achieved during the short period of time, the prisoners would engage in an extensive ongoing dialogue to take decisive steps, particularly the possibility of undergoing an open hunger strike in order to achieve reconciliation and national unity.
Marwan Al-Barghouti has been sentenced for life imprisonment five times ever since the year 2004.