Exclusive interview of Palestine Ambassador to Bangladesh
Published : Saturday, 10 October, 2020 at 12:00 AM Count : 325
D O: Are external forces any how impacting Palestine's political landscape?
H E Yousuf Ramadan: We Palestinians follow a certain policy and refrain from interfering into the internal matters of other Arab countries. Unfortunately, a number of Arab countries continue to interfere within our domestic and political matters. This uncalled-for interference is not good for our cause, and it has bitterly divided the Gaza strip between the two dominant parties Hamas and Fatah.
Both political parties are backed by their respective foreign donors. The donors are Arab countries too. The donor countries must refrain from promoting their separate political and military agenda by exploiting our political parties.
Since 2006, the Arab interference has prolonged the political division for 14 years. Alhamdulillah, finally the two dominant political entities have decided to reconsolidate and participate in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections to be held within the next six months. The exact time for the elections will be decided next week. And Hamas has accepted to be a part of PLO which is very important. We have around 12 political fractions in Palestine and the centre of the fractions is the PLO. We plan to distribute political authority among the others from the centre.
We Palestinians, try our best to avoid from becoming a proxy theatre for political or military conflict. External influence will weaken our goal; there will be too many international players which will make us lose control making Israel the ultimate winner.
Hamas has reportedly carried out some rocket attacks on behalf of Iran against Israel. We don't want this type of proxy attacks to take place within our territory. When we will turn capable for launching a full scale war against Israel, the people of Palestine will do it collectively. We don't want external forces to decide how and when to launch our war for freedom. The political challenge right now in Palestine is to unite under the single political umbrella of the PLO, where we must succeed.
D O: How would you explain the damages because of Israel and Egypt are imposing of land, air and Sea Blockades of Gaza?
H E Yousuf Ramadan: On the topic of Israel's expansionist policy, under the banner of annexing more and more Palestinian territories, your question is a strategic one. Israel's sole interest to impose ban on the Gaza strip is to make the people of that area suffer while countering the Hamas attacks.
Egypt's imposing of ban is strategic and different. It evolves from the disputes of Hamas's involvement with the banned political entity Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas has been a part of Muslim Brotherhood and this has made the situation complex between Egyptian government and Hamas, where the security issue has also become important for Egypt. On that note, Hamas has turned into a common enemy for both Israel and Egypt in the Gaza strip but for different reasons. Another important point to note, in 1979 Egypt established diplomatic relation with Israel by opening embassies in each other's country.
41 years have passed and still the relations between the people of Egypt and the people of Israel hasn't normalised. The general people of Egypt continue to reject any form of relation with Israel. There is no trade or people-to-people contact between the two countries; otherwise it is more of a symbolic relation. The same is seen in the case of Jordan.
D O: How has Palestine managed to contain the Coronavirus pandemic?
H E Yousuf Ramadan: We are combating the pandemic with fairly limited resources. The daily infection rate is also picking up fast. Our EU friends have been quick to respond right when the pandemic broke out. Financially they have supported us with 73 million Euro. But our health authorities from the very beginning took decisive and stringent precautions. The state went under an indefinite shutdown and in the first three and half month's only three death cases were reported. The infection rate jumped up with a section of Palestinians working in Israel and when they began commuting indiscriminately via different gates located along our shared border. Simultaneously, a large group of expat Palestinians working in Europe had also spread the virus when they returned in the early months.
However, under normal travelling health rules the Palestinian workers were placed in quarantine when they arrived from Israel. But many ill and infected persons were intentionally driven out by Israel border guards, who later spread the virus in Palestine. Many of our people were even made to run and cross the border inside Palestine at gun point.
Compare to the death and infection rates of other country, the pandemic is completely under control. There are CC TV video footages available in this regard and Israel also played a dirty game to spread the pandemic within our territory.
D O: Can you list the key reasons, why the OIC and Arab League are repeatedly failing in Palestine's struggle for independence?
H E Yousuf Ramadan: Most Arab governments do not reflect their peoples view when it comes to Israel. The 400 million people of all Arab countries combined often asks why their respective governments go against the majority opinion. It is happening because there is no form of democracy existing in the Arab world.
At the same time, the least I expect the Arab League to do is to condemn these two recognitions to Israel. Sadly the OIC and the Arab League have collectively failed to do so. It is widely believed there are powerful and influential Arab country members silently and invisibly backing these two countries.
The OIC's role is even murky. Consisting of 57 member states, the OIC was formed against the backdrop of the infamous Al-Aqsa mosque fire in Jerusalem in 1969, though under a different name at that time. Understandably, it came into being with a definite goal to help Palestinian surrounding the fire and our struggle for freedom. It is a mystery why the Islamic organisation remained silent in the face of the two Arab states' recognition of Israel.
Unquestionably, the Western powers have divided the Muslim world into two. As a dangerous ramification the two organisations Arab League and the OIC have been divided and failing to protect the Muslims legitimate rights in different parts of the world. It wouldn't be wrong to pin pointedly blame USA's role in this dangerous division.
D O: under the Trump administration, Palestine's future seems not only uncertain but dangerous for any type of mutually acceptable long-term sustainable solution, how does Palestine plan to survive in such difficult of times?
H E Yousuf Ramadan: No nation on earth has ever suffered, struggled and managed to survive - all three at the same time. Beginning with the British occupation after the First World War, revolution in the 30s and the heinous attempt to uproot us in 1948, we have turned refugees in our own land and struggling for independence for the past 72 years. At the same time we also had disputes with Syrians, Jordanians and Egyptians during the 70s and 80s and we have managed to survive successfully.
We remained steadfast and resilient in the face of all odds. The true Palestinian is born with challenges and sufferings, he or she knows how to live with it. The numerous challenges and sufferings we face every day have become integral parts of our lives. Sincere and heartfelt thanks to countries like Bangladesh, which has always stood beside us in our struggle for independence and self determination.