Palestinian Legislative Council member affiliated with the Fatah movement, Hussam Khadhr is a frequent critic of PA corruption. In an interview with the Arab-Israeli weekly Kul Al-Arab, published November 17, 2000, he harshly condemned the PA's actions in the Intifada. The interview was omitted from the internet edition of the newspaper.
Following are excerpts from the interview:
Question: "Do you think that Sharon's visit to Al-Aqsa was orchestrated in order to bring about the Intifada?"
Khadhr: "I think that Sharon made his visit to Al-Aqsa for political reasons and against the backdrop of the internal conflict in the Likud, as well as the historical struggle with the Labor party. He wanted to embarrass Barak's government... This Intifada, however, with this high level of violence and sacrifice, did not come about solely because of Sharon's encroachment of Al-Aqsa. ... [It] was merely the spark that ignited the explosion. We had seven dry years of political activity and negotiations with the enemy, which culminated in a negative effect on the public. The Palestinian public was also frustrated with the future of the peace process. Additionally, the citizens feel that [civil] institutions are not being built and there is no struggle against corruption. These feelings led to an accumulation of [tension] which was unloaded in the struggle against the occupation."
"The Intifada, until now, remains a body without a head. There are those who are trying to appoint themselves, through the media, as leaders of the Intifada. I refer to those media-generals who describe the Palestinian situation [on TV] but are incapable of leading the Palestinian struggle. The true leader of the Intifada, as it stands, is the blood of the Palestinians. These 'generals' deceive themselves and the public. There is no clear political rationale behind the Intifada."
Question: "...Who exactly is leading the Intifada?
SUPPORT OUR WORK
Khadhr: "The Intifada has no united central leadership, as was established in the first week of the 1987 Intifada. Various Palestinian factions are leading activities in various regions... but unfortunately they are acting like professional unions rather than resistance organizations. They call for strikes and processions but they themselves do not take part in these actions. They send others to participate under their flags and slogans... There are two streams within the PA: one stream never supported the Intifada. The second is a national stream that responds to the public...but the true leader of the Intifada is the blood of the Palestinians and the movement of the Palestinian people, disconnected from the factions, the political leaders and the PA."
Question: "What do you think about Hamas' activities?"
Khadhr: "I said in a newspaper interview on October 7, that Hamas will not carry out even one suicide attack... I repeat this: Hamas did not and will not participate [in the struggle]. They are only interested in destroying the political process. If the blood of the Palestinians forces Israel to return to the negotiations based on UN resolutions 242 and 338, to further re-deploy, and to release prisoners - there is no doubt that [Hamas] will return to its seasonal propaganda [terrorist] attacks in Dizengoff, Mahane Yehuda and other places, in order to obstruct the negotiations."
"Hamas participates in the funerals of the Shahids, waving their green flags. This behavior is primitive and extremely negative, especially given that the Palestinian cities are no longer under occupation.... When the Fatah movement still believed in the armed struggle, the Arab borders were strewn with mines. Despite this, Fatah carried out more than 300 operations in one month. Now Fatah has returned to the struggle and attacks settlers and Israeli soldiers every day. Hamas on the other hand, is a political movement. It has never been and nor will it ever be a movement of struggle or Jihad."
Question: "Fatah wants the head of [IDF Chief of Staff] Mofaz in retaliation for the murder of Hussein 'Abiyyat [A Fatah leader killed by the Israeli army]. Will there be a clash between the interests of Fatah and the PA?"
Khadhr: "I am certain that the armed struggle to which Fatah was accustomed in the past will not return at this stage. Fatah has chosen negotiations as the path to peace. On the other hand, Fatah is a movement of the Palestinian people and cannot offer flowers to the murderous soldiers and settlers. Fatah took a stance and established armed militias in order to defend the achievements of the people, that is [control over] Area A..."
"How can we demand that the Fatah youth engage in armed struggle against the soldiers and settlers, while we have 14 security apparatuses, the smallest of which have thousands of men? Likewise, the slogan 'Intifada until liberation' is false. It is beyond the power of our people. The goal of this Intifada is to emphasize the people's right to independence and not to bring about the independence itself. The media-generals must realize that they cannot use the Palestinian blood to achieve personal interests, to strengthen their status with the Americans or Israelis, or to gain ministerial positions in the PA. The PA must closely watch the internal Palestinian situation, because the next explosion will be an internal one and will be directed against corruption..."
Question: "Will the politicization of the Intifada ultimately lead to a return to the negotiation table?"
Khadhr: "Without a doubt.... Whoever thinks that this Intifada will lead to victory and independence outside of the framework of negotiations, causes great injustice. This Intifada supports the Palestinian negotiators and President Yasser Arafat, [and] encourages them to adhere to our national-political rights. Were it not for Arafat, this Intifada would already have been directed against the corruption. As long as people still believe in Arafat, the process is directed at Jerusalem. We are aware that the president faces a fifth column in the Palestinian arena. In the Palestinian leadership there are those affiliated with Jordan, and others affiliated with Israel or the US. The President is aware that more than 50 senior PA officials smuggled their families abroad and transferred money to foreign accounts. All of them, without exception, have had airplane tickets and visas ever since the first week of the Intifada. The defenseless citizens are the only ones who have always supported Arafat. The time has come for the president to count on them and not on all those who affiliate themselves with the US, Israel, and various Arab states. The time has come to purify the Palestinian house."