Following are excerpts from an interview with Saudi cleric Awadh Al-Qarni, which aired on Al-Resala TV on April 2, 2010:
Awadh Al-Qarni: The choice of the Arab and Islamic peoples is clear, for many reasons. The first is that confronting and fighting the Jews and not making peace with them is a religious Islamic duty. There is something I would like to point out. The Prophet Muhammad did not speak of any future conflict of the Islamic nation as much as he spoke about the conflict between Jews and Muslims in Palestine.
Interviewer: We have with us General Tawfiq Al-Tirawi, a Fatah Central Committee member. Welcome.
Tawfiq Al-Tirawi (over the phone): Hello.
Interviewer: Should the Palestinians cause today be turning to peace or to confrontation?
Tawfiq Al-Tirawi: It is not a choice between peace or confrontation. We, the Arab and Islamic nation, are a nation of peace. But the Israeli enemy does not understand the language of peace. In a nutshell, it understands nothing but the language of force.
The Palestinian people have never been alone. The Arab people have always stood alongside the Palestinians, but due to the circumstances of the Palestinians today, under the siege, we cannot do anything but conduct resistance – by the sword and with our flesh.
Interviewer: What were the benefits of the negotiation process?
Tawfiq Al-Tirawi: I will tell you. Before we returned to Palestine in 1994, if we wanted to carry out an operation, we had to cross thousands of kilometers to reach Palestine, from Tunisia, from Yemen, from the diaspora. You know full well that the Arab countries surrounding historical Palestine did not let us enter Palestine even once in order to carry out an operation. This is true of all the Arab countries, without exception. Let's be clear about this.
But when we returned to Palestine, our guns returned with us, and the Israeli soldier, who used to be thousands of kilometers away from us, became only five or ten meters away. We waged resistance. A second Intifada broke out. We waged resistance and we fought. Some of us were martyred, and some were arrested.
But let me tell you, we are isolated. It is as if we were on an island. My dear brother, if we want to obtain guns, we get them from the Israelis. If we want to get bullets, we get them from the Israelis – for huge sums of money.
Awadh Al-Qarni: We are not demanding that our nation, our leaders, or our governments do something that it is beyond their power or their capabilities. But this Arab nation numbers approximately 300 million. The number of the Arab soldiers alone is several times more than the Zionist people in its entirety. If we put together all the Arab armies, every Israeli would face four or five Arabs.
In addition, very small organization, like Hamas, in a very limited area, withstood the Israeli army for about a month and thwarted its designs. What happened in Lebanon? What is this psychological defeatism of the Arab countries?
Nevertheless, we do not say: Let's wage a war tomorrow. What we need is a free and genuine will to confront the [Israeli] agenda. A change from within would be a start, a change in our mentality, in our souls, in our media, in our culture.
Then would come a realistic, scientific view of this agenda and its dangers. We need academics, research centers, armies, politicians, and economists in order to turn that vision or that will into a well-organized strategic plan, which is long-term – we are not demanding that it take place tomorrow.
We have to invest all the Islamic and Arab resources, so that the resistance will develop, until this agenda is toppled. This will happen, Allah willing.
Within our nation, there is a fifth column – pockets of defeat, defeated people, or collaborators with the Zionist agenda. These people are hindering us. They are deserters, and the Islamic laws concerning deserters are well-known. We must beware of them, and beware of the seeds of defeat and doubt that they sow in our nation.
Victory is near, Allah willing, but we want our generation, our nation, our governments, and our armies to play a role in preparing for this victory, Allah willing.