Interviewed on CNN Arabic, Mustafa Barghouti, the leader of the “Palestinian National Initiative” party, this third democratic force based in Ramallah, which emerged in 2002 in the Palestinian political landscape, proclaimed it forcefully: “The only way to end this violence is for Israel to respect international law, end its illegal occupation of Palestine, and treat Palestinians as equal human beings!” »
Mustafa Barghouti is also president of the Palestinian Medical Aid Society and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Read below the translation of his intervention carried out by the Oumma editorial staff
“First, I want to say that I am not part of the Palestinian Authority. In fact, I represent a Palestinian democratic movement, called the “Palestinian National Initiative”, which is neither Fatah nor Hamas. And of course, I am not affiliated with Hamas.
I think that this situation, whose developments we can see, is the direct consequence of the continuation of the longest occupation of a territory in contemporary history. The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory since 1967, 56 years of endless occupation, has transformed into a system of apartheid. An apartheid much worse than that which prevailed in South Africa.
Yes, certainly Hamas never recognized Israel, but the PLO and the Palestinian Authority did, and what did they get in return? Nothing.
Since 2014, successive Israeli governments have not even deigned to meet the Palestinians. What you are seeing today is a reaction to several things. First, the numerous terrorist attacks perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank have already expelled 20 communities, through an act of ethnic cleansing. 248 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army and settlers in the occupied West Bank, including 40 children.
There are also the numerous attacks desecrating sacred sites, both Muslim and Christian, committed by Israeli extremists, to which is added Netanyahu’s declaration, claiming to want to “liquidate the rights of the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause”, by normalizing relations with Arab countries. He went so far as to dare to appear at the UN by brandishing, from the platform, a map of Israel which included the entire West Bank and Gaza, all of Jerusalem up to the Golan Heights.
Netanyahu decreed the annexation of the occupied territories. So, of course, the Palestinians joined the Resistance, because they realized that it was the only way to preserve their basic rights. The question here is not to dehumanize the Palestinians, as is constantly the case, by calling them “terrorists”, it is rather to know why the United States supports Ukraine in its fight against occupation, even though, here, concerning us, they support the Israeli occupier who continues to occupy our land.
I think that Hamas attacks mainly targeted military sites and installations. Most of the Israelis who have been arrested and taken as prisoners of war are military personnel.
I do not accept that we attack civilians, I do not accept that the Israelis attack our civilian populations, but look at what the Israeli planes are doing in Gaza! They bomb houses, destroy entire buildings, entire apartments, towers are destroyed, and we are now learning that entire families are being decimated, massacred. 9 members of the same family died, 10 others in another, including many children.
I don’t want any civilian to ever be harmed, whether Palestinian or Israeli. But the fundamental question to ask is how to put an end to all this? Will this end in launching yet another bloody offensive against the Gaza Strip? Israel has already waged 5 wars against Gaza, one of which lasted 51 days. Israel destroyed everything. This did not stop Hamas, nor the Palestinian Resistance.
There is a way to put an end to this violence, and that is by taking action to end the Israeli occupation. The United States must show itself to be more just and equitable: it cannot proclaim, on the one hand, that Israel has the right to defend itself, and on the other hand, deny this same right to the Palestinians.
Let me remind you of the case of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Al Jazeera journalist who was not only Palestinian, but also American. A very peaceful journalist, and despite this, she was shot dead in cold blood by an Israeli sniper. Has anyone been convicted of his murder? Has anyone been taken to court? No no.
52 other journalists were also killed. Our rescuers, our doctors were murdered. All this must stop. And the only way to put an end to it is to tell Israel that it must respect international law, that it must end this illegal occupation of Palestine, and that it must consider the Palestinians as equal human beings.”