Thursday, 22 September 2011

Hamas welcomes recognition support but reconciliation needed first, has borders and refugees fears

To discuss the decision of the Palestinian authority to ask for recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations, and the consequences of such a decision on a national and international level, euronews spoke to Mohammed Awad, Foreign Minister in the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip.

Jamel Ezzedini, euronews: “Mr Awad, let’s begin with the position of Hamas, which refuses to go the United Nations to demand recognition of a Palestinian state. Why this refusal, and what are the guarantees that your organisation has brought to mind which the Palestinian authorites have missed?”

Mohammed Awad:

“Firstly I’d like to point out that it’s not a refusal, rather the clarification of a position. It’s the lot of the Palestinian people that’s being played with here.

We’re demanding that Palestine is a full member of the UN, and that also includes the position of the PLO and internal reconciliation. They are issues of the utmost importance for us and are central to the Palestinian cause. So to make a decision like that or take such a stance, you have to reassure yourself that all those questions have been taken into account.”

euronews: “International public opinion supports the establishment of a Palestinian state, so going to the security council to ask for recognition seems logical. And yet you say that recognition would mean abandoning the rights of the Palestinian people, and particularly the right of refugees to return. How do you explain that?”

Mohammed Awad:

“That’s a question for Mister Mahmoud Abbas. He’s the one who’s gone to seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN. He must explain to the Palestinian people how and why he took this decision so the people can take a position on it.

“We salute the efforts of all countries that support the Palestinian people and the idea of a Palestinian state and we encourage them to continue with that process.

“Concerning internal matters, we think that’s a question for Palestinians. We want to know with all certainty that joining the United Nations will not have any consequence on the right of refugees to return, so they can settle again in the historic Palestine, and not just in the framework of a Palestinian state.

euronews: “So you refuse the demand that the Palestinian Authority asks to be accepted as an observer member by the United Nations, without the same rights enjoyed by other members, in case the United States uses its veto in the vote?”

Mohammed Awad:

“We want to be a full member of the United Nations, and here on the ground we want a real Palestinian nation, not just a media event which could lose Palestinians their rights.” more

Gaza women march for UN bid in defiance of ban, Fatah leader addresses protest

(Women march in Gaza City in support of the Palestinian UN bid (MaanImages))

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Dozens of women marched in support of the Palestinian bid for UN membership on Thursday, in a rally jointly organized by the General Federation of Palestinian Women and political party FIDA.

The marchers called for wavering countries to take a position and support Palestinian rights, refusing Israeli and US pressure to nix the bid.

President Mahmoud Abbas is set to submit the application for Palestine to join the UN as 'State 194' on Friday, amid a flurry of diplomacy to allay a confrontation leading from Israeli and US opposition to the bid.

Member of the Fatah revolutionary council Amal Hamad addressed the march by reading a statement of support for the Palestinian leadership.

She condemned Obama’s speech rejecting the Palestinian UN proposal, and called for national unity and implementation of the May agreement signed by Hamas and Fatah in Cairo.

The deal sought to end four years of division of the Gaza Strip and West Bank governments, after Hamas ousted Fatah in Gaza as tensions between the feuding parties exploded into violence.

Implementation of the agreement has faltered as parties continue to joust over key tenets, including the position of prime minister in a unity government.

Abbas's Fatah party have championed the UN bid alongside other PLO factions while Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and is not a member of the PLO, has expressed opposition.

"There is no mandate for any Palestinian leadership to infringe on Palestinian national rights, nor is there a mandate for any Palestinian actor to make historic concessions on Palestinian land or the right of the Palestinians, foremost among them the right of return," Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Sunday.

"Given this position, we reiterate our rejection of this bid," he added.

The Gaza government said it had banned demonstrations in favor of the initiative. more