In an emotional outburst during a recent TV debate, Fatah revolutionary council member Muwaffaq Matar called for an immediate ceasefire. "Stopping the bloodshed is our number one priority... How come the torn limbs of children don't move you to make a decision that is not driven by political considerations?" he asked Hamas political bureau member Muhammad Nazzal. The debate was broadcast by the Al-Jazeera network on July 23, 2014.
Following are excerpts:
: In times of war, there are always negotiations, and only after the sides reach an agreement does the fighting cease. So why are we supposed to stop shooting and only then start negotiating? What is the problem with starting negotiations right now between the Israelis and us – not directly, of course, but through channels to be agreed upon? We would conduct negotiations with the Israelis, and if an agreement is reached, the war would be stopped.
This, by the way, is what happened in the days of President Morsi, during the eight-day war [in Gaza in 2012]. That's right – Khaled Mash'al and Ramadan Shalah were in Cairo, and the Egyptian intelligence was negotiating with the Israelis, and the shooting stopped only when agreement was reached on every article...
TV host: What can't it be the same this time?
Muwaffaq Matar: My dear sister, what is happening today in Cairo... John Kerry has been in Cairo since last night, and now he is visiting Tel Aviv, meeting the Israeli government. Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives are in Cairo, and so are the representatives of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
All the parties are conducting negotiations. Kerry is negotiating with Israel, Israel is negotiating with Egypt, and Egypt is negotiating with everyone. All this is in order to reach a ceasefire.
Why do we demand a ceasefire agreement first? Brothers, what we want is to put an end to the bloodshed of Palestinians. Since the Egyptian initiative was declared, 600 Palestinians have been martyred. Today, the figure has exceeded 700. Since the Cairo ceasefire initiative was presented, over 3,000 have been wounded. We want, first of all, to stop the shedding of Palestinian blood, and then to enter negotiations, to establish a lull, and to reach any final solution that could ensure peace, stability, security, freedom, and independence for our people.
But stopping the bloodshed is our number one priority. We understand that it is not only us who suffer and that our enemy suffers as well, but the suffering of our children is horrific.
How come the torn limbs of children don't move you to make a decision that is not driven by political considerations? I am begging you, brother Muhammad. When you demand the lifting of the siege, you are pestering Egypt. This can't be! This simply can't be!
TV host: Okay, thank you...
Muwaffaq Matar: 600-700 victims... The torn limbs of Palestinian children... This has to stop, even at the expense of your right to make your own decisions. For the sake of our people, we are willing to do the impossible...
Muhammad Nazzal: Don't get so worked up, brother Muwaffaq...
Muwaffaq Matar: This was the position of the Palestinian factions yesterday.
Muhammad Nazzal: Don't get so worked up.