This is an interview with Dr. Aziz Dweik, head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, imprisoned by Israel along with dozens of legislators and officials.This interview was published in Arabic by the office of Legislator Sameer Halaiqa on May 7, 2008, and was translated by Saed Bannoura of the International Middle East Media Center Highlights of the interview:

–          The detainees are still conducting efforts and talks to restore unity among all factions.

–          If Israel foils the truce efforts, Egypt must open Rafah terminal.

–          On the Nakba commemoration; the Right of Return is the solid rock where the dreams of the occupation break. It is the day of our unity.

The Interview:

Hebron – the office of legislator Sameer Halaiqa through the lawyer of Dr. Dweik.

Dr. Aziz Dweik, head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, confirmed that there is a new initiative which is being prepared by the Palestinian detainees imprisoned by Israel in order to restore unity among all factions.

Dr. Dweik praised the national and social relations between all detainees imprisoned in Israeli occupation jails regardless of their political affiliation.

Answering a question regarding the time of publishing the new initiative, Dr. Dweik said that talks are still ongoing in order for formulate all aspects of the initiative which is similar to the Detainees National Unity Document which was prepared in Hadarim detention facility  and resulted in signing the national reconciliation document.

He added that the talks encounter various difficulties as communication between imprisoned political leaders is very difficult due to the Israeli restrictions.

 Dr. Dweik confirmed that this document aims it ending all sorts of internal conflicts, and maintaining national unity to end the current crisis.

He called on leaders of his movement, Hamas, and leaders of Fateh, in addition to all other leaders in order to prepare the atmosphere for the new initiative.    

The Right of Return of the Palestinian Refugees:

On the sixtieth anniversary of the Nabka (the Palestinian disposition, the Day of the catastrophe) Dr. Dweik said that on this day, Israel rendered millions of Palestinians homeless and became refugees.

He stated that the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees is a red line that cannot be crossed and that the Right of Return will be “the rock on which the dreams of the occupation break and fall, it is a right which is guaranteed by the international legitimacy and the United Nations”.

He called for a comprehensive national agenda in order to commemorate this day and make May 15th not only the Nakba day but also a day of national unity.

Egyptian efforts to end the siege on Gaza

Answering a question of his evaluation of the Egyptian efforts to guarantee the success of a truce deal and end the siege on Gaza, Dr. Dweik stated that Egypt must continue its efforts to lift the siege imposed by Israel on Gaza, and added that if Israel refuses to end the siege then Egypt should implement “The Egyptian Road Map Plan” which was presented by the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, in which he stated that Egypt will not allow the starvation of the Palestinian people.

Dr. Dweik added that this issue in a national and humanitarian one, and that the minimum thing that Egypt can do is opening the Rafah border terminal in order to break this siege which is suffocating the people.

The detained head of the legislative council also addressed the Arab leaders and reminded them that Palestine is the core of the struggle in the Arab World and that it needs the maximum efforts of every Arab and Muslim leader to support the Palestinian people who aspire liberation and independence.

“The Palestinians are living under siege, their rights are neglected, and they need the efforts of support of every Arab and Muslim leader”, Dr. Dweik said, “ignoring the rights of the Palestinian people, and the ongoing siege should push the Arab leaders to double their efforts in order to save the rights of this steadfast nation, they are all responsible in front of God of any danger that threatens the Palestinian cause”.

He voiced an appeal to the Arab and Muslim nations to increase their popular pressure in order to save the Palestinian rights.

At the end of the interview, Dr. Dweik addressed the steadfast Palestinian people and saluted them for their steadfastness in defending their rights, their holy sites, and their freedom.

“I want to salute this nation which stands in courage and steadfastness defending its rights, its holy places and freedom”, Dr. Dweik said, “I salute the Palestinian people for defending their right of return to their land, Palestine”.

Dr. Aziz Dweik was born in Hebron city, in the southern part of the West Bank in 1948.

Masters Degree in Urban Planning, MPhD in Regional Planning Masters Degree in Education   Masters Degree in City Planning