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Monday, June 14, 2004

Remember Abu Mazen?

"Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas
resigned on Saturday after an exhausting
power struggle with President Yasser Arafat"
-- al Reuters, 09/06/03

NEWSWEEK's Dan Ephron has an interview.
You said the Palestinians need to be prepared to take control of Gaza. What does that involve?
It means we should unify the security apparatuses. Of course, we need dialogue with Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad. I believe that we can reach an understanding.

Why is unifying the security agencies so important?
We have at least 12 security apparatuses that cannot be controlled by anybody.

You said the Authority should try to reach an understanding with Hamas. What kind? What would have happened had Sharon offered to evacuate Gaza while you were prime minister?
It would have helped me a lot. It would have given me power and prestige among our people.

Why did you resign?
For three reasons. *Sharon didn't give me anything. Secondly, I was attacked by my colleagues, and thirdly, Bush was reluctant to help.

What kind of attacks by colleagues?
There was incitement.

What kind of incitement?
Words and more than words—the demonstration against me before the Palestinian Legislative Council. This was the peak. Two days later I resigned. It was the fourth of September, and after that I asked for a closed session. I exposed all the secrets and then I sent my resignation to Chairman Arafat.

Some might say that a national leader must be able to withstand criticism and incitement.
That's true. But when they try to kill — I felt that someone was going to kill.

To kill you?
Yeah. Or to cause bloodshed within Fatah itself.

How many of these things were instigated by Chairman Arafat?
I wouldn't want to mention anyone by name. But I'll give you something to understand: I don't have any relationship with the chairman from the resignation to this day.

When you're in Ramallah, you don't meet with him?
I live in Ramallah and he's 100 meters away. I don't go to him, I don't meet with him, I don't have any relations with him.

* Sharon didn't give Abu Mazen anything?

As I remember, Sharon sacrificed "settler outposts",

released hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and

transferred 2 billion shekels (about $470 milion) to the Palestinian Authority.

"Bush was reluctant to help."

Meanwhile, during the 19 weeks of the reign of Abu Mazen, there were 473 Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, in which 78 people were murdered and 489 wounded.