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memri
October 16, 1998 No.
8

Interview with the Head of the PLO's Political Bureau

Farouq Qadoumi, head of the PLO’s Political Bureau, is frequently mentioned in the Israeli media as a possible successor to Arafat. Recently, he was interviewed by Al-Khaleej, a daily newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates. On October 14, 1998, the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida featured this interview in its entirety. Following are excerpts from this interview:

Qadoumi lambastes Israel's Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, calling him a Yankee. He says Netanyahu was "brought up in Brooklyn" and therefore thought like "a Yankee, and treats Palestinians as if they were Indians."

Addressing mounting expectations for May 4, 1999, Qadoumi revealed that the Palestinian Government-in-Exile, which had been declared in 1988, would then enter Palestinian Authority territories, and exercise its sovereignty there. "After the future Palestinian State wins the recognition of most countries in the world - as we expect," Qadoumi continues, "Israeli presence on Palestinian territories will become illegal, and we will fight it with weapons. Fighting the Israeli forces is our right." Qadoumi, who opposed the Oslo Accords and did not join the PLO's leadership migration from Tunis to the West Bank and Gaza, said he would join the future Palestinian State as "an ordinary citizen, once an independent Palestinian State is declared."

Qadoumi commented on Hamas-PLO relations, saying the Hamas Movement was part of the Palestinian National Movement, and that its differences with the PLO were of a "tactical rather than a strategic" nature. Qadoumi added, "we differ from Hamas on everyday practicalities and tactics, but we all concur on a strategy aimed at fighting Israeli occupation and ending its existence on Palestinian lands."