| INTERVIEW WITH SAHAR FAHED QAWASMI, MEMBER OF THE PALESTINIAN LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
During the Valdai Forum in Russia, we had an opportunity to make an interview with Sahar Fahed Qawasmi, who has been member of the Fatah bloc within the Palestinian Legislative Council since 2006. We talked to Qawasmi, who is one of the female MPs of the Council, about the impact of the Arab Spring on Palestine's domestic policy and on Israel-Palestine problem, the latest developments taking place in domestic and foreign politics of Palestine, and Turkey's role in the Palestine problem.
Interview: Hasan Kanbolat, Oytun Orhan
ORSAM: Would you please introduce yourself?
SAHAF: My name is Sahar Fahed Qawasmi. I am from Palestinian parliament, Fatah block from West Bank.
How did the Arab Spring affected the political and social situation in Palestine?
First of all, what I believe that these uprisings are international, global. It cannot be localized to our region. I think it is a new era that will bring some kind of revolutionary change in the values in the whole world due to globalization. The people who are far from democracy, social justice and who have facilities for democracy will have high kick. In the end, that will go everywhere in the world. What happens in Wall Street or in Athens reflect that there is a real change in the global world, even in Tel Aviv. This is real revolution in Europe. Regarding the Palestinian problem, at the end, it will give a good push toward Palestinian, because that is a new era which will not accept the existing situation of Palestine. So at the end the international community has to chose between being a part of this dream or being outside of this dream. I mean from being a part of this dream that at least the action which are acceptable, more active and positive for the justice for us. At the end, it will have a positive role in our problems.
How does the Palestinian government perceives the Syria problem?
First of all, officially, our speech will be independent of any internal Arab problems. This is our choice since PLO was formed. This is the main attitude in the world that Yasser Arafat indented in issues. And I can tell that we are going the same way. My father is killed because he did not accept any differ of Syria through PLO. My father was the part of the Security Council of PLO. For one it will have any impact toward this. Political tendency in that tend to be differ in the internal problems. We support the people of course.
There is a claim that HAMAS and Halid Meshal will leave Damascus? What do you think about this development?
What I believe that dividing the Muslim world as Sunni and Shia are in the benefit of who are against are our existence as Muslims. But Muslim Brotherhood in general is part of revolutions, but there are conflicts in Syria between them. HAMAS is a part of Muslim Brotherhood and recognize this. I think it reflects whole situation, related to the relations between HAMAS and Muslim Brotherhood. And HAMAS have to make their choice to be a part of Muslim Brotherhood or to be out of Muslim Brotherhood. And they choose to be part of Muslim Brotherhood.
If we return back to the internal politics of Palestine, what do you think about the latest reconciliation between HAMAS and Al Fatah?
I think the interest of all parties is toward reconciliation. From Fatah, our project is to form our state and to be recognized by Security Council that objected our application before because of the division within Palestinian parties. I think that whole project of Abu Mazen is to achieve reconciliation of Palestinian parties and in so to make recognized our state in the international community. And from HAMAS side, they are leaving Syria now, and there is an international tendency to become more moderate in Muslim Brotherhood. Also I think that pushing reconciliation is interests of HAMAS. It will be very difficult because there are many obstacles. But I think that the political tendency of the both parties will be toward achieving reconciliation.
Palestine government applied to UN for recognition as a state but still there is no concrete development regarding that. What will be the next step for the Palestinian government?
This question also asked by Abu Mazen. We have a lot of critical difficulties according to World Bank; there was a report at the beginning of the last year. It was mentioned that we cannot achieve sustainable development under occupation. In my opinion, we have to be very smart in this issue. All of the authority is under occupation, according to new Geneva Article, the whole responsibility left to the occupation authority from health to education. We don’t want such a situation because Israelis have not implement any positive steps on this. So we have to go the Quartet now to ask for Israeli to solve this issue. They have to take responsibility. That can be used as a tool to push forward any kind of political process, because they have to feel that there is a cost of this occupation. We have to use more international community and law. We have to keep going on Security Council. This time our tools are more acceptable and there is global resistance in the world. We can benefit from this. This is which can make some differences.
The last question is about the role of Turkey in Palestinian problem. Turkey supports Palestinians in the international arena and especially in UN. How do you evaluate Turkish role?
We feel that Turkish government and people have very active role in the Middle East. I think that there is a good opportunity for Turkey to be a good player in the region. All Arab nations now look for Turkey as a good model for the future. They are now more neutral to this conflict. Before, Turkey was more pro-Israel, but now Turkey becomes more neutral and a good supporter for human rights, and international law. They accepted all actors as players in the process. This is very positive for us.
Thank you very much.
* This interview was made on February 18, 2012 in Sochi, Russia where the Valdai Forum was held. The interview was conducted by ORSAM Director Hasan Kanbolat and ORSAM Specialist Oytun Orhan.