This is a translation of an interview conducted by the Palestine News Network (PNN) with Bassam Salhi, secretary-general of the leftist Palestinian People Party (PPP) in Palestine, and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
In the interview, Mr. Salhi, stated that what is happening in the Palestinian territories is tragic and unacceptable, he also demanded immediate national talks and called for a transitional government headed by a public figure that all parties approve.
PNN: How do you observe what is going on in the Palestinian territories in general, especially in Gaza?
What is happening is no doubt a tragedy, it brings back to mind the divisions, and the illegal incidents we witnesses last year. We condemn the explosion which took place in Gaza and demand the officials to investigate it and prosecute the attacker.
We reject all acts which try to politically incriminate a political party or a person, we reject these assaults against figures, leaders and institutions in the West Bank, and we also reject these acts in the Gaza Strip. We reject all practices and attacks against Hamas members and leaders, and against Hamas-run institutions in the West Bank.
We believe that we all must start comprehensive talks and dialogue in order to end the internal divisions and disputes.
PNN: Where is national dialogue heading right now, after president Abbas called for its renewal?
We believe that this dialogue should have started earlier, but having dialogue is better than no dialogue at all, we support talks, we support Abbas’s call on the Egyptian leadership to start consultations with different Palestinian factions in order to pave the road for successful talks.
PNN: What about the Arab efforts to launch this dialogue, in general?
The agreed upon mechanism states that Egypt will contact all factions and afterwards comprehensive talks will be conducted but we also need full Arabic support. We also believe that the Egyptian participation will be useful and should be supported by all Arab nations. We want these talks to be eventually sponsored by all Arab countries.
PNN: Where did your efforts and the efforts of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine reach as you are attempting to control the current situation?
We always tried to stop all attempts of political incrimination, we want to isolate all criminal acts, probe them and prosecute the assailants. We are trying to isolate the attacks in the Gaza Strip, we don’t want them to reach the West Bank, this is very dangerous and we need to end the tension and not expand it to the West Bank.
PNN: In your separate talks with Fateh and Hamas, did you sense a positive attitude towards easing the tension?
So far the responses did not rise to the level we desire, we fear that this situation would continue, but still there are efforts to stop any escalation and to call for starting the dialogue.
PNN: Do you think that the situation in Palestine is heading towards more clashes, or more dialogue?
What is happening in the ground is not heading towards dialogue, but we believe that all parties should act to correct this, that’s why we said “the fight for power can be delayed, but national unity is a necessity that cannot be delayed”.
PNN: How can this crisis end?
By starting immediate national talks. After the beginning of these talks, we can form a mini-government headed by Mahmoud Abbas; this government must act to unite all Palestinian Authority institutions in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
During the talks, the factions must choose a national figure who can form a transitional government and then call on the Legislative Council to convene. At the same time, all factions must start talks on forming a national security council in order reform the security institutions and end the duality of power in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.