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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 June 2007, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Palestinians divided
On Sunday 17 June Andrew Marr interviewed Mustafa Barghouti, Palestinian information minister

Please note "BBC Sunday AM" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used.

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ANDREW MARR: Good morning Doctor Barghouti. Could I ..

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Good morning.

ANDREW MARR: Good morning. Could I start by, by just checking what the situation now is.

The previous government, the coalition government has been dissolved and a new Fatah only government has been created. Is that right?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Absolutely. The previous government is dissolved. We are no more in our posts. And now there will be a new cabinet which will be announced at one PM today, our time.

ANDREW MARR: Given that its remit will only be on half the Palestinian territories can we even regard it as a proper government?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Well it's a very difficult and bad situation. What Hamas did of course in Gaza was absolutely wrong and a big mistake. But this whole collapse, now there is a great division between Westbank and Gaza. This whole factional fight between Hamas and Fatah on, about an authority that is really without authority because we are under Israeli military occupation, both in Westbank and Gaza as a matter of fact reflects a very bad Palestinian situation. And what is at risk here is not only the Palestinian unity.

I am very worried that what is at risk under emergency law is also the Palestinian democracy and the Palestinian democratic institutions that we have managed to build. And the Palestinian human rights that are being violated. That's where I, I think all these transitional governments will not solve the problem. What will solve the problem is only to establish conditions for new democratic free elections in Palestine.

ANDREW MARR: There are all sorts of rumours I'm sure flying around. The newspapers here are suggesting that Israel is likely to invade Gaza again.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Well maybe. This is a possibility. But not necessarily. I think Israel now is very happy. They enjoy the fact that Palestinians are divided and there is no unified voice and they can abuse that fact. The problem is that we had a very good chance for national unity for keeping democracy from consolidating democratic institutions and also for initiating a true peace process.

The problem that the embargo that was imposed on us first by Israel and unfortunately also by the international community did not help the national unity government. We're democrats by the way. We're the largest and, and strongest voice. We were not helped. We were not empowered. And the result is this terrible division which will hurt the security of everybody.

ANDREW MARR: Okay.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: It is very bad situation.

ANDREW MARR: If, if in your view the international community failed what can they do now to help?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: I think there should be first of all two things. All these measures, the factional fighting is wrong and should not continue. The division will serve nobody's interest in the long run.

The, the best way is that for the international community is to say that they support Palestinian democracy, human rights and they would support an establishment of conditions for new democratic elections. At the end of the day both factions, Fatah and Hamas claim that they talk on behalf of the people, so let's go back to the people ..

ANDREW MARR: Okay.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: .. and let people have their say.

ANDREW MARR: Well thank you very much indeed for that and as promised the Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett joins me now.

INTERVIEW ENDS


NB: this transcript was typed from a recording and not copied from an original script.

Because of the possibility of mis-hearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, the BBC cannot vouch for its accuracy


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