Interviewed by Rashid Hilal- Palestine News Network
Qais Abul-Karim (Abu Laila), senior official at the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), head of Al Badeel (the Alternative) elections list, said that the front attempted in all of it dialogues with other factions, to create a flexible coalition to the upcoming legislative elections.
Al Badeel is a coalition between the DFLP, the Palestinian People Party (PPP), Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA), and independent candidates.
He said that the Front is currently formulating a plan which will be adopted by the coalition; the plan aims at reducing poverty rates, unemployment and reconsidering the priorities in the Palestinian finical balance, in addition to ending all sorts of corruption and improving the basic services provided to the residents.
Q: What are the social and political needs to form a third (democratic) stream?
A: There is an urgent need for change; the current political system is incapable of meeting the needs of the residents and the needs to counter the continuous Israeli military aggression. We need to create a developed political system which corresponds with the Palestinian aspirations.
If the current situation in Palestine transforms itself to the upcoming Legislative Council, the government will not be able to overcome the current crisis, and might even deepen it; therefore there should be a third power that works with all sides, everybody should be part of the decision making process.
This third power will be considered as a balance factor for the upcoming political system; it must be a democratic power, and resembles a wide coalition with all political fronts. The power includes figures of similar political ideologies which are based on steadfastness, and determined to implement the political program which aims to establish a Palestinian independent state, achieving the right of Return to the Palestinian refugee, in addition to conducting reforms in the political, economic, social and educational sectors.
It will also work in order to end all sorts of corruption, to create a democratic Palestinian State, and solve unemployment issues, and all difficulties the residents are facing.
Q: There are talks which aim to create a united bloc which includes all democratic fronts in Palestine; you announced recently a list which included three parties and some independent figures, why didn’t it include the rest of democratic fronts?
A: We wanted to conduct democratic talks and negotiations with all factions that belong to the democratic stream, this started since the preparations for the presidential elections. Several coherences in opinion were found of course, in addition to agreements on the political level approved by the democratic factions.
There are differences, and this is normal, we cannot agree on every political concept, but dialogue presented acceptable solutions for these differences. We want to be able to achieve an agenda which is accepted by the people, an agenda which is coherent with the Palestinian national agenda; we want to achieve and strengthen democracy in every Palestinian institutions, including the institutions of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (P.L.O).
The main differences were regarding that election lists, and regarding choosing the candidates of each faction, as candidates of the relative representation list or candidates of regional election departments.
We in the Democratic Front suggested that all of the members of the democratic factions should participate in the primaries in accordance to the regulations of the relative representation list, but a number of democratic factions rejected this idea, so the only choice we had left is finding common understandings among the factions, but even in this issue we faced differences on estimating the size of each faction, and which faction should be heading the list.
We were very flexible in arranging the members of the lists or regarding the issue of heading the list, we were ready to agree to the minimum of what we think is fare and represents the power of each faction, the local councils elections, student council elections and public opinion polls enabled us to know the size of each faction.
We faced tough choices, but we managed to overcome the obstacles through talks with the factions and public figures, we wanted to preserve the unity of the democratic powers, but unfortunately the comrades at the popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) wanted to have their own election list, maybe to measure their power, especially since they did not participate in the presidential elections.
Therefore, it is impossible to reach an agreement which is acceptable by all factions, and we created the coalition with the Palestinian People Party and the Palestinian Democratic Union, in addition to independent figures.
Even after we announced the coalition, we said that the door is still opened for agreements with the rest of the democratic factions, we are ready to cooperate with any democratic faction that wants to create the "third power" which the Palestinian political system needs in order to counter corruption and dominance.
Q: Will the legislative elections be the only occasion for joint cooperation between the democratic powers?
A: The main cooperation should be, of course, the joint struggle against the occupation, and its expansion policies. We have to work together to counter the annexation wall, settlements and the threats against Jerusalem, which include the plans Israel has for isolating the city from the surrounding Palestinian areas.
We always have to cooperate with each other in order to achieve democracy, the rights of the laborers, and the rights of the residents to achieve decent living and obtain their rights of receiving medical treatment, education, in addition to achieving the rights of women and the youth.
Everybody should be part of the decision making process, every resident has the right to work and be an effective member of the society.
Q: On the political level, what is the position of the DFLP regarding the events in Gaza, especially the agreements regarding the borders?
A: The recent agreements regarding the Rafah border crossing and other crossings are another proof that in spite of the Israeli withdrawal, and the evacuation of the settlers, the
Gaza Strip remained under occupation, and Israel is still controlling it by surrounding and isolating it.
Israel is still imposing its indirect control over the Gaza Strip, and is still controlling the economy and the movements of the residents, in addition to its continuous aggression.
This is another proof that the real issue in the Gaza strip is not disarming the resistance factions; everybody knows that as long as there is occupation, there will be resistance, either in Gaza or in the West Bank.
What is really needed now, is organizing the resistance factions, and their weapons, and to disarm all of the armed groups that are using their weapons to carry illegal activities, chaos, and all sorts of insecurity.
This issue is not only a security issue; it involves the ability of the Palestinian Authority to renew its legitimacy by democratic elections, which we hope will result in creating a legislative council which is based on a wide national coalition.
This coalition is needed in enabling everybody to be part of the decision making process, it is needed in unifying the Palestinian decision in different aspects of the Palestinian life. Unity will enable us control chaos, and insecurity in the Palestinian areas.
Q: What are your priorities for the upcoming legislative council?
A: Our first priority will be solving the problems our people are facing, especially poverty and unemployment. We are preparing realistic plans which will reduce these problems, and will reduce the suffering of the majority of our people.
We want to end chaos, end the misusage of the Palestinian resources, and the misusage of the public finance.
We have to focus out attention on advancing the services provided to the residents, we must improve health, and educational services, in addition to rebuilding the Palestinian infrastructure.
The second priority is to end corruption, which is wide spread in the Palestinian Institutions; we must create equal opportunities for our people regardless of their political preferences, and any other preferences. We must employ the right persons in the rights location, and create equal conditions and opportunities for every resident.
The third priority is developing the Palestinian political system, and creating a democratic multilateral system which will create a consecutive authority that will be responsible of implementing the regulations of the legislative authority.
We want to create a national unity government, which will enable everybody to be part of it, part of the decision making process.
We believe that advancing towards the three levels will help up end the chaos, insecurity and enforce law and order through the independent judicial system.
We also want to rebuild the security devices in order to carry its obligations in protecting the residents, and their rights.