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Dr Hanan Ashrawi
Dr Hanan Ashrawi
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST HOSTED BY PETER SISSONS INTERVIEW:
DR HANAN ASHRAWI, PALESTINIAN LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, AND DANNY NAVEH, ISRAELI CABINET MINISTER

AUGUST 12TH, 2001

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

PETER SISSONS:
I'm joined from Ramallah by Dr Hanan Ashrawi from the Palestinian Legislative Council. Good morning Hanan.

HANAN ASHWARI:
Good morning to you.

PETER SISSONS:
Can I put this point to you that Francis Maude has just made, that if the Camp David deal had been seized by Yasser Arafat we wouldn't be in the position we're in now?

HANAN ASHWARI:
Well actually the Camp David deal was no deal at all. It was a non-starter because Israel wanted, and Barak especially, wanted to give retroactive permission to settlements, continue to control Palestinian air space, sea space, and boundaries, wanted to continue the illegal annexation of Jerusalem and to negate the Palestinian refugees' right of return, and to transform Palestinian realities into three separate bantustans or reservations that are totally territorially separate. And therefore it wasn't even an offer, it wasn't even inviting. So people who glibly talk about Barak offering, this is not an offer. There is a conflict that can be resolved by ending the occupation, by full withdrawal of Israel from all the occupied territories and full compliance with international law. And I think Palestinian-bashing as the victims, is something that is entirely unacceptable. People have to focus on the occupation itself and on the implementation of international law and compliance by Israel with the terms of the reference of the agreement.

PETER SISSONS:
Well I saw you demonstrating yesterday at the Orient House, the Palestinian headquarters in East Jerusalem that the Israelis have now seized. What was the significance of that? Is it putting into reverse the policy of giving more to the Palestinians on the West Bank?

HANAN ASHWARI:
No, actually what they are doing is totally destroying the very foundations of peace, reneging on all signed agreements and commitments. Of course we are demonstrating that Israel's signature is entirely worthless. Besides, the Orient House and East Jerusalem are part of occupied Palestine. By focussing on the Orient House, Israel is trying to create facts politically and it's trying to tell the Palestinians that they will destroy the very essence of peace. The Orient House was the place from which the peace process emanated and now they are trying to bury it there, despite the agreements, despite the fact that even Shimon Peres has sent a letter guaranteeing the safety and protection of all Palestinian institutions. Now Israel having carried out a policy of assassinations in accordance with a government hit-list against Palestinians, has acted like gangsters, a bunch of mobsters, and now in the middle of the night they snuck in like thieves in the night and they took over nine Palestinian institutions, re-occupied them, they re-occupied a suburb of Jerusalem and they are trying to reinstitute a new type of occupation through military force. It is absolutely dangerous because they are negating the very essence of the requirements of peace and international law and of course they are violating all their commitments.

PETER SISSONS:
What you, what the Palestinians, what Mr Arafat is being asked to do, Hanan, is to control the extremists of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to stop the suicide bombers. Even if he wanted to, could he do that now, or has it gone too far?

HANAN ASHWARI:
Well, the whole West Bank and Gaza are entirely besieged. We live in separate prisons, every town, village and camp is entirely separate. So neither Arafat nor anybody else can move from one village, one town, one city to the other. There is no way in which the police can even move and the police is being targeted anyway. They are being shelled daily. So I think what they're asking for is not only a mission impossible but a justification for the continued Israeli escalation of targeting a largely civilian population under occupation and under seige, shelling, bombing, destroying, assassinating and then calling on the victims to control the people. I mean this is absolutely unconscionable. The provocation should stop from the Israelis, they're the occupying powers, they're using their military might against the Palestinian people, and then they're saying Arafat should do something about the violence. I've never seen a people, a colonised people being held responsible for the safety of their occupation army or for the settlers. This has to be dealt with by addressing the causes, by addressing the real issues, not by calling on the victims to lie down and die quietly or to succumb peacefully to all sorts of occupation brutality.

PETER SISSONS:
Hanan Ashrawi, thank you very much for joining us this morning.

And Danny Naveh joins me now from Jerusalem. I gather you've just left Ariel Sharon's cabinet meeting, Mr Naveh. Good morning, and thank you for joining us. What's, what's actually going on in, in government at the moment?

DANNY NAVEH:
Right now we have just received a report on the last terrorist alert coming out of the Palestinian authority. And what we have learned again this morning is there are many more suicide bombers on the way to our main towns. Mainly for the reasons that the Palestinian authority and Mr Arafat are not doing anything in order to stop that. We were informed, for example, that the Israeli government gave Mr Arafat information in advance of the suicide bombers that have committed suicide bombing in Jerusalem a few days ago and Arafat did not stop that and he could have stopped that and saved those lives.

PETER SISSONS:
Can anyone stop these suicide bombers?

DANNY NAVEH:
Of course, if Arafat, say for example, arrested today a guy. This guy was involved in the terrorist bombing in Jerusalem a few days ago. If Arafat arrested him before the bombing as we asked him to do, it could have saved a lot of lives in Jerusalem. And unfortunately the situation on the ground here is that Arafat has given the green light to Hamas and Islamic Jihad to commit terrorist attacks and it is more than that, you know, about 154 Israelis were killed in Israeli during the last few months in terrorist attacks. Sixty-one out of those 154 were not killed by Hamas, they were killed by Arafat's people. So there is a lot that Arafat can do about this.

PETER SISSONS:
Well, there were nearly 600 Palestinians killed in the last ten months as well. One of our most respected

DANNY NAVEH:
I'm really sorry about that.

PETER SISSONS:
One of our most respected commentators on the Middle East, Robert Fisk, writes today that Palestinians are no longer afraid of Israel. The conflict, he said, he says, is now unwinnable by Israel. You can't teach the Palestinians a lesson anymore by force. How did we move into that stage and isn't it a really dangerous stage for Israel?

DANNY NAVEH:
First of all we are not interested whatsoever in the suffering of innocent people on the other side or in the suffering of the Palestinian operation. Our aim is only one. Not to deter the population at large, but to deter the Palestinian leadership and first of all, Mr Arafat from inciting to violence and from directing violence. You know that Mr Arafat signed an agreement and he also promised our late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin to renounce terrorism and to prevent violence and to solve the difficulties only around the table. But unfortunately Mr Arafat is decided strategically to use violence and terror and our only aim is to put an end to the violence so there will be an end to the suffering for Palestinians and Israelis alike. This is our only aim and our only policy.

PETER SISSONS:
A former British ambassador to Syria wrote yesterday that to have security Israel must have peace and to have peace Israel must give up the settlements. Can you fault that logic?

DANNY NAVEH:
According to the signed agreement between Israel and the PLO the issue of settlements should be resolved as part of the permanent negotiations. And as it has been mentioned a few minutes ago, our previous prime minister Mr Barak offered Mr Arafat to be the president of the Palestinian state almost with control over all the West Bank within the June 4th '67 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, and still Mr Arafat decided to say no. And by the way, part of Mr Barak's proposal was dismantling of significant part of the settlements. And still Mr Arafat said no. So it raises a big question of whether Mr Arafat is really interested in peace or in something else. And this is the main problems that we are facing these days in our area.

PETER SISSONS:
Danny Naveh, thank you for joining us. And I think Hanan Ashrawi was listening to that. Hanan, a new wave of suicide bombers are feared by, is feared by Israel. Will Mr Arafat, with the Palestinian authority be trying to stop them?

HANAN ASHWARI:
Well, first of all we said that the Israeli security is not dependent on creating a surrogate security of occupation on President Arafat or any of the Palestinian security. Israel has tried in every possible way as a brutal occupying power, underground, with military means, to bring about security for Israel while maintaining the occupation and it failed. So they cannot expect the Palestinians to do their job for them when they continue with unbridled violence and with a series of provocations that have targeted all Palestinians and provoked them in a way as to transform almost every Palestinian into a potential suicide bomber. When you drive the one nation to desperation, when you lock them up, shell them, destroy their means of livelihood, their land, assassinate their leadership in a series of assassinations, this is not conducive to any type of security for anybody. So instead of trying to deal with the after-effects of Israeli occupation in this regard, let's deal with the cause of it. And I think asking Arafat to arrest any potential violent person means that he has to have a police state and to police every single Palestinian individual and to enter into his or her own mind. I think the best thing would be to issue orders to the Israeli army and to arrest of course the settlers and those in the army who are responsible for destroying property and killing Palestinians at will. This is what will bring about real stability.

PETER SISSONS:
Hanan Ashrawi, thank you for joining us.

END


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