August 1, 2001 No.

Yasser Abd Rabou in Gaza: The Struggle Cannot Be Separated From the Negotiations

Palestinian Authority Minister of Information, Yasser Abd Rabou, who together with Yossi Beilin, led the initiative to renewnegotiations based on a joint communiqué signed last week by Israeli and Palestinian peace activists,[1] participated in a conferenceheld by the Palestinian Council for Foreign Relations in Gaza on July 28, 2001. During the conference Rabou said that "the strugglecannot be separated from negotiations." [2]

"...from now on, the Palestinian side will make clear that the negotiations will go on along side the Palestinian struggle against the occupation. It would be impossible to continue the negotiations unless it is to a certain extent combined with a certain [level] of struggle against the occupation."[3]

According to Abd Rabou, "following ten months of Intifada, there is now a campaign which usually includes an armed struggle and defensive action in response to the increasing aggressiveness. Despite all the diplomatic efforts, the current situation does not bode [well], and it does not appear that there is a way out of the current situation. All the initiatives and the efforts which were presented touched on the same topic, which is the attempt to find a resolution to the existing conflict or [the attempt] to bring back the situation to a process of peaceful political negotiation, as it was prior to the eruption of the Intifada..."

"Many times, we had to cooperate with these [initiatives] so it will not appear as if we are the ones who are failing the international efforts. Our faith in the potential of these initiatives to bring back the situation to the way it used to be was very low, if it existed at all."

"It is impossible to return to negotiations in which Israel dictates facts to the Palestinian negotiator. If there will not be a third party, other than the United States, which will ensure the adherence to and implementation [of the results of the negotiations], then the negotiation process will be of no good."[4]

[1] The communiqué stated, among other things: "We, Israelis and the Palestinians, signed on this document, are meeting at a very difficult timefor both of our peoples. We jointly call to stop the blood shed, to end the occupation, to urgently return to negotiation, and to establish peacebetween our peoples. We refuse to accept the ongoing deterioration of our situation with a casualties list, which is becoming longer as days goby, with the suffering, and with the real possibility that we may all drown in the ocean of mutual hatred." Ha'aretz, July 27, 2001, Al-HayatAl-Jadida, July 26, 2001. In an interview for the daily "Al-Ittihad" Yossi Beilin said that Yasser Abd Rabou and he initiated the meeting and thepublication of the joint communiqué "in order to prove to the Israelis, the Palestinians, and to the world that there is a partner [for peace], thereis a plan for peace, and it is possible to renew the negotiations. . ." Beilin added that the biggest mistake that the Palestinians made is thatArafat did not immediately stop the violence [when the Al-Aqsa Intifada started]. Al-Ittihad, July 27, 2001.

[2] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, July 29, 2001.

[3] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, July 29, 2001.

[4] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 29, 2001.