Hamas, Islamic Jihad jointly reject notion of bi-national state as Qurei seeks int'l aid on pressuring Israel on barrier

Published January 11th, 2004 - 02:00 GMT

Both Palestinian Islamic movements - Hamas and the Islamic Jihad - have rejected PM Ahmad Qurei's threats for a bi-national state. The Palestinian PM publicly threatened Israel in response to its policy of continued re-occupation of parts of the West Bank.  


Islamic Jihad spokesman, Nafez Azzam, disclosed to Al Bawaba that the movement has refused the idea of a bi-national state [with Israel] as a permanent solution for the dispute, adding “this will be an indirect approval of Israel's occupation of the West Bank…our movement's concept of a solution is to have a Palestinian state run by Palestinians.”  


“A self-termination act done by the Palestinian Authority is a possibility, but I think that a more important step should be taken first. The PA should unite all Palestinian factions under one political banner, and then all Palestinians will be supportive of any [political] stance taken by the authority.” Azzam added.  


Azzam also said “We are not looking forward to taking power in case self-termination happens - not under Israeli occupation at least. We [as opposition groups] are not ready to manage a Palestinian state in case the authority steps down. The infrastructure is already damaged and there are more than two-hundred thousand unemployed Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.”  


Twenty-four hours after Qurei's statement, the Palestinian leadership reiterated its commitment to declaring a Palestinian state according to international treaties with Israel. This is believed to add doubts to the significance of Qurei's threats.  


Hamas has also criticized Qurei's suggestion and described it as “an extemporaneous decision that lacks thorough consideration.” He also added that “Hamas is not interested in suggestions that do not fulfill the Palestinian's expectations.”  


Hamas spokesman, Mohammed Ghazal, expressed to Al Bawaba that “such suggestions should be studied well before they are declared, and they should be agreed upon by all Palestinians before publicly announcing them. We don't think a bi-national state would be beneficial for Palestinians, yet we think a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state would be an acceptable option.”  


Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, spiritual leader of Hamas, declared last Friday that his movement would be willing to accept a Palestinian state on the entire West bank and Gaza Strip [according to the 1967 borders] in return for a truce with Israel.  


A double-edged sword 


Arab-Israeli analyst, Wadee’ Abu Nassar, believes that PM Qurei’s threats will have a negative impact on the Palestinians, but these impacts will be quite minimal compared to those that are likely to face Israel’s PM should the PA follow through [with the threats] and self-terminate the Authority. 


Abu Nassar added that “Qurei’s threats will stir fear amongst the Israeli public which should give Sharon full authority to do what ever he pleases [in defense].” 


“If the Palestinian authority declares self-termination, opposition to Sharon’s government will get stronger amongst Israelis. If Israel should start ruling the Gaza Strip and West Bank, all foreign grants will stop pouring from the international community. This means that Israel will be deprived from an estimated US$ 4 billion yearly,” explained Abu Nassar to Al Bawaba


However, Abu Nassar did suggest that this would be a remote possibility indicating that “Palestinian officials are not willing to sacrifice their positions of influence.” 


Embarrassing Israel 


For his part, Abdul Aleem Mohammad, specialist in Israeli affairs at Cairo’s Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, considers Qurei’s threats ‘a smart move’ as “they will eventually prove that Israel does not want to co-exist with the Palestinians in a one-state solution,” adding “this will embarrass Israel internationally.” 


Mohammad suggested to Al Bawaba that should Qurei’s threats be used wisely by the Arab media, they should form a lot of pressure and embarrassment for Israel.  


“The Palestinians could then have a peaceful struggle for parity with the Jews in a one-state solution – similar to the struggle that ended apartheid in South Africa,” the Egyptian analyst concluded. 


Meanwhile, Qurei on Sunday called on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to halt construction of its so-called West Bank "separation fence", saying that time is running out on chances for a negotiated peace settlement. 


While touring a part of the barrier near KalKiliyah, the Palestinian Prime Minister said, "This is the racist separation wall that intends to turn the areas of the West Bank into isolated cantons that are not acceptable to any form of Palestinian government or any form of Palestinian state." 


"We turn our direction to the US, to President Bush, to Europe, to Russia, to the United Nations," Qurei added. "Does this leave an opportunity for the creation of a Palestinian state?" 


"The Palestinian people ... will not accept this," he added. "They will resist, they will struggle, they will remain steadfast until they get their legitimate national rights." (Albawaba.com)

© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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