Italy, June 2003


Interwiew with Ahmad Saadat, general secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

Jericho, May - He is imprisoned in a Palestinian prison at Jericho, patrolled by American and British guards. His predecessor was assassinated in August 2001. The same fate hit his brother one year ago. His wife has been arrested by Israeli agents last January. We are speaking of Ahmad Saadat, General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Arabmonitor was able to reach him.

How do you see the future of the region in the wake of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq?

"Colin Powell said that the American objective is the protection of the interests that the United States have in the zone, speaking bluntly, to maintain the area under the political, economic and military control of the United States. The military invasion of Iraq was preceded by the presentation of a political plan: that which Powell called "the construction of democracy in the Middle East" and the total control of the region through the collaboration with Israel. We are faced with the creation of a new international system following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The occupation of Iraq is the first episode of a series and it intends upon convincing the populations and the States of the region to oppose no resistance, because otherwise they could have the same fate as the Iraqi regime. The battle, however, is not yet over. The best choice remains the resistance, refusing the occupation and trying to make the life of the occupation forces as difficult as possible".

What do you think of the "Roadmap"? Why does the Palestinian National Authority attribute such great importance to this project?

"The Roadmap seems to be a compensation to the Palestinian people, or, if you prefer, the carrot that is given to the Arabs of Palestine instead of the stick used against the Iraqis. In reality, it must be said that the Roadmap is only an attempt to contain the Palestinians and to stop the Intifada, completing in that way the damage that the Israeli stick does with international American approval. The Roadmap wants to sidestep the United Nations' resolutions, that recognize the right of our people to have its own independent State. This project has the objective of reducing the aspirations of the Palestinian people, in such a way that the State is designated according to the needs and the measures indicated by Israel. I too ask myself why the Palestinian National Authority is so committed to this plan, and I'm unable to come up with a logical explanation, because the Roadmap doesn't bring anything new, but is merely an invitation to return to the road of negotiations, according to the standards of Oslo, which in substance have conducted us into a new blind alley called "Camp David".

Much is said about the government of Abou Mazen. Could the nomination of a Prime Minister be a solution to the internal problems of the Palestinians? In the form and condition in which it was born, could the new executive be able to ever create the expected reforms at a national level?

"The nomination of Abou Mazen came about under the pressure of Israel and America: consequently, it will be a government with limits. I think that this government not only will not be capable of realizing our national objectives, or the reforms that the Palestinian public opinion expects, but it will be an instrument that deprives us of our rights and reduces democratic space. It will be an instrument that consents the Americans and the Israeli to interfere in Palestinian internal affairs. There can be no democracy where there is no government freely elected in a nation that is free of foreign occupation. Our people must have our own free institutions, that are capable of reuniting the forces and improving their capacity of resistance. That is the road to freedom and later to democracy".

Several weeks ago the day of the Palestinian prisoner was commemorated. What role do the Palestinian prisoners, who number thousands in the Israeli prisons, play in Palestinian society?

"For the Palestinians, the Zionist prisons have always been one of the advanced posts in the resistance. They have been the places where new leadership has been formed. For this reason, the Palestinian political leadership must listen to the prisoners, and must consider their liberation one of their principal objectives, to take care of their families and to insert them in Palestinian leadership, because they are alive and they are present right in the heart of the battle".