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Saturday, November 15, 2003

Special Dispatch from MEMRI

Excerpts of interview with Arafat's National Security Advisor Jibril Rjoub
from the London-based online newspaper Al-Haqa'eq and published in the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah:

"The American administration is a right-wing, fascist administration controlled by the Zionist right. A group of right-wing fascists is running the administration. For them, the word 'Arabs' arouses anger and triggers nausea and disgust, starting with Dick Cheney and ending with Paul Wolfowitz… I do not believe the American administration desires or is able to forge good relations with the Palestinians or the Arabs because of the right-wing hegemony over its institutions."

When asked if he thought Palestinians held some responsibility for the deteriorated relations between the two sides, Rjoub responded, "No, we are a victim, our people is a victim… The Americans are exploiting the balance of power and the fall of the Soviet Union in order to force their conditions and demands on the world in general and on the Middle East in particular."

On Arab-U.S. relations, Rjoub said: "The American side is not objective and not realistic. It does not act with a minimum of respect toward the Arabs and their aspirations. It is therefore necessary to develop an Arab [unified] position that consolidates all the Arab energy and options and stands up to the Americans, who act as if they control the world and speak the language of a policeman and the language of the new imperialism…"

Regarding the war in Iraq, Rjoub stated: "The American administration did not wage war against Iraq in order to topple Saddam Hussein's [regime]; rather, it did so in order to control Iraq's natural wealth and the entire Middle East, as well as to provide security for Israel and to bolster the eastern front… In my opinion, Arabs must now wake up. Iraqi opposition to the American occupation must be increased."

Rjoub remarked that "the contacts with every political Palestinian group, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, have not ended, and they will never end. These forces are part of the Palestinian people, and they are part of the national liberation movement. They are active and important cells in the Palestinian political and social fabric."

According to Rjoub, the short-lived PA prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) bears sole responsibility for his isolation within Fatah. The reason, he said, is that Abu Mazen wagered on outside elements and refused to recognize that the movement was the only source of authority. In Rjoub's view, the Americans and Israelis lied to Abu Mazen, since they gave him nothing.

Rjoub was asked if the presence of Muhammad Dahlan in Abu Mazen's government had any bearing on its failure. He considered Dahlan the reason for the failure, since he was unduly granted authority over internal affairs, contrary to the agreement between Abu Mazen and Arafat. . . While every Palestinian has a legitimate right to differ with Yasser Arafat, he said, to challenge Arafat's authority while he is still serving as elected chairman is forbidden.

. . . He said it was unfortunate that some people, including prominent figures in the PA and the security apparatuses, had their own personal agenda. Rjoub added: "We must use every means possible to put an end to any operation against civilian targets within the Green Line."

Rjoub was asked about Israel's motives for constructing the separation fence, given Sharon's explanation. His response: "Sharon is deceiving the entire world… Sharon lies more than he breathes… Sharon was lying when he spoke of painful concessions and an end to the occupation."

". . . The extent of corruption in Israel is unlike any other country in the world."