Following are excerpts
from an interview with Nabil Shaath, head of foreign relations in the
Fatah movement, which aired on ANB TV
on July 13, 2011:
The recognition of a [Palestinian] state is basically a bilateral action,
which receives the blessing of the UN. This act, however, will make
many things possible in the future. Eventually, we will be able to sign
bilateral agreements with states, and this will enable us to exert pressure
on Israel. At the end of the day, we want to exert pressure on Israel,
in order to force it to recognize us and to leave our country. This
is our long-term goal.
In my view, it will be
difficult for a black president facing a white majority to exercise
his right of veto in order to defend his political platform on health,
security, economy, and so on. President Obama will not make his presence
felt in the coming 14 months.
Even though it is embroiled
in domestic politics, the US does not want to reach the point where
it does not play the main role in the Middle East. But in practical
terms, the US does not play a role anymore in the Middle East, although
it does not want to acknowledge or accept this.
What was the role of
the US in the "Arab Spring"? In the three weeks of the Egyptian
[revolution], Obama changed his position six times. He is constantly
reacting to events rather than generating them. What role does the US
play in Lebanon and Syria? What the role does the US play in Iran? Do
you even read about Iran in the newspapers? Nobody talks about Iran.
They want to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama's problem is that
he is being criticized by the Republicans for leaving so fast. With
regard to Libya, he is trying not to get involved, but he is being criticized
even for sending drones. The US has no real presence.
[The French initiative]
reshaped the issue of the "Jewish state" into a formula that
is also unacceptable to us – two states for two peoples. They can
describe Israel itself as a state for two peoples, but we will be a
state for one people. The story of "two states for two peoples"
means that there will be a Jewish people over there and a Palestinian
people here. We will never accept this – not as part of the French
initiative and not as part of the American initiative. We will not sacrifice
the 1.5 million Palestinians with Israeli citizenship who live within
the 1948 borders, and we will never agree to a clause preventing the
Palestinian refugees from returning to their country. We will not accept
this, whether the initiative is French, American, or Czechoslovakian.