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March 19, 2010 Special Dispatch No. 2867

Former Palestinian Plane Hijacker Leila Khaled: 'The Ultimate Goal of the Struggle is the Establishment of a Palestinian State Within the 1967 Borders, Including Jerusalem...But This is Just One Stage'; 'We Have the Right to Return To... All [of] Palestine'; 'If You Use Force, the Enemy Withdraws'

March 19, 2010
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 2867

The following are excerpts from an interview with PFLP member and former airplane hijacker Leila Khaled, which aired on Abu Dhabi TV on January 31, 2010.

To view the full clip on MEMRI TV, visit http://www.memri.org/legacy/clip/0/0/0/0/0/0/2389.

The Ultimate Goal of the Struggle

Interviewer: "Will we see the renewal of negotiations without a freeze on settlement?"

Leila Khaled: "I hope that President Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud 'Abbas] maintains his position, because – and I say this loud and clear – if he succumbs to this pressure, he will encounter formidable revenge by the people. At present, I am behind Abu Mazen, and I say to him: We are with you in the face of this pressure. You will not be alone in the battlefield. But if you agree to sit down at the negotiating table – we will be against you."

[...]

Interviewer: "You represent a large sector of the Palestinian public. You said that if Mahmoud Abbas agrees to negotiations, you will be against him. What does this mean in practical terms?"

Leila Khaled: "We will set the streets ablaze.

[...]

"The ultimate goal of the struggle is the establishment of a Palestinian state on the land of Palestine, within the 1967 borders, including Jerusalem."

The Right of Return

"But this is just one stage – not everything. Ultimately, we have the right to return to Palestine – all Palestine. I am from Haifa, and I want to return to Haifa. It is a human, legitimate, and natural right for people to live in their land. Of course, there are people who will say: 'Dream on.' I respond: 'Revolution begins with a dream.'"

Interviewer: "Many people say that Israel will never accept two things – giving up Jerusalem, and the issue of the refugees."

Leila Khaled: "So how come Israel agrees to release prisoners? It had declared that even if the prophet descended, it would not release so-and-so, but eventually, it did."

Interviewer: "But after how many years?"

Leila Khaled: "If you use force, the enemy withdraws. When the occupier begins to feel that the occupation is costly, what does he do? He withdraws."

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