Somewhere on A1A...

Thursday, October 17, 2002

How will Muhammad Dahlan's comments play in the Palestinian Press? MEMRI has a translation of an interview with him that was reported in the London-based Arabic daily, Al-Hayat. Most interesting is:

"[Dahlan] revealed that following the events of September 11, he sent a report to President Arafat suggesting that 'we leave the Intifada behind us. The Intifada is the means, not the purpose... We should have turned it into a popular Intifada and stopped the armed activity, but we didn't, because we don't have the courage, as a leadership, to do so.'"

"After he said that the Palestinian people is 'a mob that opts to extremism and rejection,' Dahlan added: 'The Palestinian leadership must force its decisions on the people, in some issue, even if it has to use a stick.' He said that Ben Gurion, 'the most important statesman in the history of the Israeli state, agreed to the establishment of a state without Jerusalem, just in order to establish a [political] entity and then to strengthen it. He agreed to resolution 181, made the decision, and announced the establishment of Israel, even though many Israelis objected to that. We can force a [certain] faction to stop launching mortar shells, because the Israelis are bulldozing 200 dunums in response. Had Arafat declared a state without Jerusalem, he would have been labeled 'a traitor,' even by the Fatah.'"

"Dahlan added: 'The Palestinian leadership missed no opportunity to make mistakes... The Palestinian people has the peculiar ability to die a martyr's death and to [be] steadfast. There are two streams in the PA: Those who say the people can suffer and [are] steadfast, and those who say the people has collapsed. Both are wrong. The people can suffer if its sacrifice will be politically rewarded.'"
Also, fighting words for Hamas:
"'We were soft on Hamas. They caused us problems with the Americans and the Israelis and after all this they treat us as if we were idiots. They burnt down police stations and said: 'the people burnt them down.' We will get the people out [on the street] to burn all the Hamas centers down.'"


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