February 21, 2002 Special Dispatch No. 347

Top Palestinian Official: Negotiations Are Ineffective, Give War a Chance

February 21, 2002
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 347

In an article in the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, titled "A Chance for the Fighting Negotiator,"Palestinian Information Ministry Director-General Hassan Al-Kashef urged Palestinians not to return to diplomaticnegotiations, and to allow the process of war to run its course:

Negotiations Proved Ineffective

"Today's most effective negotiator is the fighter active in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem. It is he who consciously and courageously targets soldiers and settlers."

"Since the traditional Palestinian negotiator [the veteran PLO and PA leadership] has become ineffective and incapable of breakthroughs, and since he has been given all the time and opportunity he needed [and failed], I propose that he cease his activity, and his public, covert, individual, and collective contacts [with Israelis]."

"He must also stop issuing declarations. He has nothing new, and no capability, to [pull out of] his hat. This negotiator has held rounds of talks the length and breadth of the planet since Oslo, and tomorrow will hold contacts the length and breadth of the land of historic Palestine, without our arriving at a permanent solution and without our restoring our rights in the interim stage – and all this with Israeli leaders less extreme than Sharon."

Fighting Strengthens Us
"Currently, the fighting negotiator is holding a serious, in-depth dialogue with all circles of decision [makers] in Israel, with all political and media circles, and with all the research centers. Furthermore, he is maintaining a dialogue with all strata and sectors of Israelis. The fighting negotiator, who opens fire [with] his national consciousness, with great accuracy and to great effect in the area to be liberated, demands our complete support."

"He is not asking too much: He wants us to demonstrate greater patience, [greater] trust in ourselves, more profound capabilities, a firm stance, and more solid unity. This fighting negotiator sacrifices his blood for us and asks for nothing in return, except loyalty. Through him, we are all stronger. The leadership is stronger, the national establishment is stronger, the factions are stronger, and the people is stronger."

"All the fighting negotiator asks for is that we give him time and opportunity. It won't take long. He will not exhaust us with declarations, negotiations, and years-long campaigns – unlike our traditional negotiator, whose time has come to be replaced, taken out of the game. [The traditional negotiator] is worn out; he has begun to bore us, and has brought us to despair of the chance of reaching any goal at all."

No Agreement Now
"We will lose much, and the loss will be shameful and historic, if we agree [now] to restore calm with security measures requiring us to protect the occupation's soldiers, bases, and settlers."

"We will lose even more by agreeing to an interim solution that solves nothing and does not put an end to the occupation. We will lose interaction with Israeli society – an interaction that brings 1,000 Israeli [army] officers to take a stand and 14,000 Israelis to demonstrate in Tel Aviv."

"We will lose if we extricate Sharon from the crisis he is in – a crisis that will cause him to end his life in political and military defeat. Economically and militarily, Sharon will bring Israel nothing but the worst [predicament] in its history."

"The opportunity is given now to the fighting negotiator. It is our opportunity…"[1]

[1] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), 2/20/02.

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