Translated by George Rishmawi-IMEMC

{mosimage}Farouk Al-Qadoumi, chair of
the Political Department of the Palestinian Liberation Organization,
(PLO) says in an interview he gave to the Arab Media Internet Network
(AMIN) that he supported Abbas’ candidacy to prevent internal feuds. He
also said that he does not want to be a president of the Palestinian

Q. There have several statements by you related to
some violations of certain regulations in the Palestinian Authority
related who has permission for what and to do what, and what do you
think of the reports on personal dispute between you and Mahmoud
President Mahmoud Abbas.

A. The conflict between me and Abbas is not
personal, but legal. The law says, the Palestinian National Council
appoints the president, not the PLO executive committee, which is
really obsolete now. Therefore, Abbas can not appoint himself
president. Besides, one must not confuse between the President of the
Palestinian Authority and the President of the State of Palestine. They
are different. We do not want to have another one-man-show; we are fed
up with this.

Q. However, the late President Yasser Arafat occupied both posts and you had no problem with that.

A. Arafat’s time was special. He was a giant, and he
had foresight and we got used to him this way. However, I was in many
times in conflict with him. I do not think anybody can substitute him.
Abbas is the chair of the PLO’s executive committee and not the
President of the State of Palestine.

Q. Why did you say that the Executive Committee is obsolete?

A. The Executive committee lost its jurisdiction
after losing seven of its members, either passed away, resigned or
arrested. Therefore, its decisions are not legal and it has no
jurisdictions to appoint a President. This is the National Council’s

Q. You have mentioned earlier in another interview,
that Abbas was acting based on American and Israeli directions, yet you
approved and supported his candidacy for presidency, how is that?

A. Again, I want to affirm that there is no personal
conflict between us. There is a conflict between us on certain
political issues that I think it have unacceptable directions, however,
I supported his candidacy to preserve Fatah unity and to prevent
internal dispute.

Q. What do you mean by directions, can you give us an example?

A. We are a national liberation movement, occupation
did not end yet, so how do we accept to negotiate security issues
alone, and send thousands of Palestinian officers to retirement. Those
officers served the revolution for a long time, this is unacceptable.

Q. Some claim you have hard stance towards the American Administration, why?

A. The American administration did not fulfill its
commitments to the agreements it sponsored between us and the Israelis.
The PLO is still on the terrorism list. The President applies for a
waiver every six months to allow an exception to hold talks with the
PLO. How would you expect me to trust them as long as they view us as

Q. Since you object to Abbas; policies, why didn’t you run for presidency?

A. I am too old for that, besides, I do not want, I am against Oslo Agreements and do not accept to be part of it.

Q. Is there communication between you and Abbas?

A. Communication is very minimal, but there are some people who are trying to bridge the gap between us.

Q. Despite your objection to Oslo, you accepted the
Road Map, isn’t the Road Map an extension to Oslo accords? And could be
even worse?

A. No, the Road Map is internationally backed, and
it calls for going back to the situation before September 28, 2000,
which is different than Oslo accords. (September 28, 2000 is the day
the second Intifada started)

Q. However, we can find the same flaws of Oslo in
the Road Map, like delaying the main topics such as the refugees,
borders, Jerusalem and the settlement to the last stage negotiations.

A. This is true, but it is different from Oslo accords and has some positive sides.

Q. We heard of the dispute about privilege to
appoint and move ambassadors, and your objection to the meeting held
called for by Nasser Al-Kidweh, what is the story behind this?

A. Al-Kidweh is not entitled to appoint ambassadors,
as long as he follows the Palestinian Authority’s regulations. I want
to remind you that the PA does not have the privilege to interfere in
foreign affairs according to the Oslo accords. Paragraph 2A of the
article #6 reads: ‘According to the Declaration of Principles, the
Palestinian Authority will not have jurisdiction and responsibilities
in foreign affairs which include opening embassies or consulates or
other types of representations and commissions or foreign affairs
centers, or to allow opening them in Gaza nor in Jericho. It is not
also allowed to appoint consular and diplomatic missions or accredit
them’ therefore, Al-Kidweh is not allowed to carry out any change.

Q. Have you been consulted before the ambassadors meeting in Ramallah?

A. No, this did not happen and I repeat, no one has
the right to appoint, move or dismiss ambassadors except the elected
Minsiter of Foreign Affairs for the State of Palestine which is Abu
All-Lutuf. [Al-Qadoumi]

Q. However, president Arafat used to do that when he was President.

A. Allow me to correct you here; Arafat did that as
chair of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and not at the
President of the Palestinian Authority, besides he used to consult me
on this all the time.

Q. So, you and only you are the Foreign Minister of Palestine

A. Yes, for sure, this is what has been approved by
the Palestinian National Council in Algiers, on November 15, 1988.
Then, Arafat was appointed President, and I was appointed Minister of
Foreign Affairs, by the central council and we established embassies
and representative missions in the world.

Q. Can’t the Central Council replace you?

A. The central council at that time was an
exceptional case. The National council assigned the central council to
appoint a president and a foreign minister, therefore, the National
Council is the body who has the right to appoint.

Q. However, given these disputes, don’t you think
that the world is dealing with the PA as the highest body and reference
in the Political decision Making?

A. You have to review the central council’s
decisions that decided that the PLO is the only legal reference to the
Palestinian National Authority. Here you have to notice the Palestinian
Legislative council decisions are dictated by Israel according to Oslo

Q. What do you mean by that?

A. According to Oslo accords, Israel is allowed to object to any decision by the PLC within one month, and cancel it.

Q. However, I guess the appendixes and the
understandings that followed the agreement made this point clear and
gave more privileges to the council.

A. No, this is not true, the understands are trivial, every agreement was followed by devilish appendixes and explanations.

Q. What you are saying is very serious, do you think the upcoming elections would change things?

A. The elections are illegal, and referendums are
also illegal under occupation. The PLC decision to increase the number
of the members is also illegal because the PLC should not exclude the
National Council.

Q. So, given what you are saying, do you think that the solution is to terminate Oslo accords?

A. Oslo accords are already dead

Q. Yesterday you were asked whether you want to remotely control the country

A. No one can do this, what I am asking for is to
implement the regulations and laws of the PLO and not to allow anyone
to override them and to reactivate the institutions that represent

Q. So, what is the solution in your opinion?

A. Last March, I circulated a political program like
a work plan that establishes a national front, some of the principles
of this work plan are:

1- The (PLO) is the sole and legal representative of the Palestinian

2- Reactivate all the departments of the PLO

3- To hold a session for the Palestinian National Council (PNC) before the end of 2005

4- To reinforce the National Unity in accordance with the PNC decisions

5- To reinforce solidarity and joint Arab work to face external challenges and preserve the National Arab security.

6- Reinforce and enhance ties with the Organization of Islamic
Countries to support the Palestinian cause to find a fair and just
solution to the cause and preserve the holy sites and save it from the
Israeli occupation.

7- Calling the United Nations to implement the resolutions of the
Security Council concerning the Palestinian issue, including the
resolution 465 that outlaws the Israeli settlements and calls for
dismantling them.

8- To reactivate the Arab Initiative in International forums

9- The political settlement to be based on the ten points approved by the PNC in 1974

10- To Increase national awareness and educate Palestinians in the
Diaspora on their right to return according to the 194 resolution of

11- To support the popular resistance as long as the occupation is there and as long as the political process is on halt.

12- To urge the International community to implement the UN resolution
to remove the Apartheid Wall and take the needed measures.

13- Having all the Palestinian factions to take part of the Palestinian
Authority to share the responsibility of running the internal affairs
of the Palestinian People, to promote pluralism and prevent corruption,
taking into consideration that the PA is a temporary body.

14- To work to release all the members of the Executive committee and
the secretary generals of political factions in Israeli jails.

15- To take care of the social, health and cultural affairs in the refugee camps in Diaspora.

16- To investigate in the corruption cases and take strict measures against the corrupted under the rule of law.

Q. This is very good, but are there practical steps towards implementing it?

A. We work hard to hold a session for the PNC. I
will start with series of visits to put pressure to set mechanisms of
holding the conference. However the problem will be the location. No
Arab country will accept to host us in this time and holding it in
Palestine is impossible.

Q. What about the Fatah’s sixth conference next August?

A. The conference will not be held because Sharon delayed the pullout
from Gaza, therefore, we can not hold the conference under occupation.

Q. Would not that mount tension inside Fatah, given the corruption cases opened I the movement?

A. Tension exist, however Fatah is huge and will be able to overcome it

Q. Do you think the latest strong showing for Hamas in the election threatens Fatah?

A. On the contrary, our relation with Hamas is very
strong and they are part of this nation and we welcome them in the PA
and the PLO institutions.

Q. What about the corruption cases?

A. I demand all these files to be opened and to punish all the corrupted according to the law.

Q. You have repeatedly said that President Arafat died of poison, why do not you call to open an investigation in his death?

A. I already called for an investigation with
everyone who was close to Abu Ammar [Arafat’s nick name] during his
health set back to be able to reach the truth.

Q. What is the fate of the PLO money after Arafat’s death?

A. The Ministry of Finance is preparing accounts and we will know after this process is finished.

Q. There are several attempts to abolish the right
of return through some officials’ statements or initiatives, what do
you think of this?

A. No one has the right to abolish the right of
return. The is the right to return to the original land, other than
that is distorted and will be rejected

Q. One last personal question, do you intend to
document your biography, especially your experience in the Palestinian

Yes, a book of 40 pages has been published already.
I am now also working to document my experience as a witness to the
next generations.