Interview with WB Fatah Leader Hussein Al-Sheikh
Translated by SaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ed Bannoura-IMEMC
Q1: How do you interpret the announcement made by Arafat to form a unified leadership?
A: This is only an old idea presented to the National and Islamic movements in order to discuss and conduct consultations, so farÃ¢â‚¬Â¦no agreement have been reached about it, or concerning ways to implement it.
Q2: Do you mean by a unified leadership, a leadership similar to the one formed in the first Intifada?
A: NoÃ¢â‚¬Â¦of course not, President Arafat means a leadership which works under the Palestinian authority and not over it, and over its rules; we understand clearly that the unified leadership will be a form and a part of the work of the P.A.
Q3: ButÃ¢â‚¬Â¦the origin of the idea of a unified authority, does it mean forming a leadership which is responsible of the authority itself?
A: No, neverÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ we mean forming a leading branch, which is part of the authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
Q4: Did you reach an understanding to form this leadership, in the way you just presented?
A4: This is not the first time in which such ideas are presented, we discussed it in CairoÃ¢â‚¬Â¦several times, but the talks stopped after we had differences, and disagreements concerning the authorities of the different departments and the issue of relative representation in the P.A.
Q5: What would be the percentage of Fattah and Hamas and other fractions in the unified leadership?
A5: Hamas demanded a high percentageÃ¢â‚¬Â¦(then he backed up and refrained from continuing his replyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to say what did Hamas demand, butÃ¢â‚¬Â¦we disagreed on this issue.
Q6: Ok, what is the size of Hamas in your opinion?
A6: I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really predict, the only way to know is through elections, without elections, no one can know the percentage which his fraction holds or the percentage of other fractions.
Q7: ButÃ¢â‚¬Â¦until elections time, what is the percentage of Hamas?
A7: I think it less than what the brothers in Hamas say.
Q8: I will assume that they demanded 40%, and that Fattah does not want to give them more than 20%?
A8: I will not answer this questionÃ¢â‚¬Â¦but I have to admit that this is a major obstacle.
Q9: ThenÃ¢â‚¬Â¦you wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t agree, and there isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to be any unified leadership before the electionsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦if the elections are conductedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ there is no need for a unified leadership, there will be an elected one?
A9: WellÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I think this is logical, yesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ but the obstacle is still there.
Q10: What is the solution then?
A10: First, we have to agree on the principle of making Hamas part of the leadership… and part of the decision, after thatÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Fattah should do some concessions, and in return Hamas should do some concessions too, this is the only way we can reach an understanding.
Q11: So, would you give Hamas 30%?
A11: I will not answer this question.
Q12: OkÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ do you agree that Hamas is the second biggest fraction concerning size, power and activities?
A12: Yes, I agree, Hamas is the second biggest Fraction.
Q13: And Fattah is the first?
A14: Of courseÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Fattah is the biggest fraction.