memri

December 12, 2004
Clip No.
424

Fatah Leader Faruq Qaddumi: PA Ministers Are Not Really Ministers

The following are excerpts from an interview with Fatah Leader Farouq Qaddumi:

Interviewer: Abu Al-Lutf, I'd like to talk about a strange paradox in the Palestinian political conduct. You are the Fatah chairman, as well as the head of the PLO political bureau, in other words, the foreign minister of the State of Palestine. Sometimes you make statements, and then Nabil Sha'ath, the foreign minister of the PA, or Nasser Al-Qidwa, Palestinian representative to the UN, make statements that completely contradict yours. Isn't it time to resolve this strange paradox?

Qaddumi:The Palestinian Authority is a partial authority. It is a local government, just like any local government in any country. We shouldn't delude ourselves that these "ministers" are actually ministers. The Executive Committee is their source of authority. We, the Fatah Central Committee, are their source of authority. This is a fact. I don't say this to belittle them, may Allah bless them and their efforts. But one must follow the law and the regulations. One cannot be a broker of embassies. Embassies are under the authority of Palestine's foreign minister. I repeat: This is the responsibility of Palestine's foreign minister, who was elected by the National Council in Algeria in 1988. It is not a game, it is his responsibility. But if there is some sort of confusion in the Palestinian Authority, there is no choice but to reexamine it, and I believe we will do so.

Qaddumi: The cooperation between us [PLO and Iran] on these issues is intended to maintain Islamic security in this region, and in order to liberate Jerusalem, which is every Muslim's cause. We are facing these challenges with faith in our hearts.

Elections under occupation?! There is no democracy without freedom, but this is what they want. Actually, there is no alternative but to have elections, so they could say: "This is the elected chairman of the Authority," because the chairman's job is limited to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He doesn't even have anything to do with the negotiations. All he does is manage local affairs. Like a local government.