PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas Criticizes Arafat's Approval of Anti-Israeli Terror Attacks in the 1990s and Talks about the Arab Evacuation of Safed in 1948
Following are excerpts from an interview with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, which aired on Al-Filistiniya TV on July 6, 2009:
Interviewer: When the Palestinians were forced to leave their land, they were driven by strong motives. Do you recall that?
Mahmoud Abbas: The main reason was that the people wanted to flee for their lives, and protect the honor of their women, which was very important. They feared the violence of the Zionist terrorist organizations. We, in Safed, in particular – just like the people of Hebron – could feel that there was [Jewish] vengeance for the 1929 uprising. This remained in the memories of our families and parents. The balance of military power – actually, it was not a military power in the true sense of the word... All [we] had was several young men fighting with primitive [weapons]... When they felt that the balance [of power] had shifted, they decided to leave. The city in its entirety left, in order to protect their lives and their women's honor.
Everybody knows my opinion: from day one, there should have been a single [Palestinian] Authority. It's inconceivable that while I am making peace, someone else carries out operations. I cannot allow such a thing. But military operations were allowed and prevented intermittently, in 1996, 1997, 1998, and the result was a complete loss of control in the 2000 Intifada. In my opinion, it was a mistake to conduct the Intifada. Okay, there was an Intifada because Sharon desecrated the Haram Al-Sharif and so on, but we shouldn't have allowed things to get out of control. When they did get out of control, the PA ceased to exist both in Gaza and in the West Bank.