Bethlehem – Ma’an Exclusive – Zakariya Zubeidi, the prominent former leader of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades in Jenin Refugee Camp, called for the party to adopt a platform that includes “resistance” during its conference which begins on Tuesday.
To fellow Fatah members at the conference Zubeidi said he would stress that resistance can and should coexist with the strategy of negotiation with Israel that has become identified with Fatah since the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s.
“This resistance is not defined yet. It could be armed resistance and it could be peaceful resistance,” said Zubeidi, who signed an “amnesty” deal with Israel in which he agreed to give up armed struggle.
“The main focus of that [Fatah] program is that it should include everyone from the Central Committee members to the members on the ground,” he said.
The Zubeidi also said that the second thing he will stress in the convention is “regarding our relations with the occupation.”
“We see that the Israeli political map is heading to the extreme right, and that indicates that there is no conciliation. This indicates that we are heading toward confrontation. And we will request that the members of the conference prepare for that confrontation,” he said, speaking in an interview with Ma’an in Bethlehem.
Asked if he saw a renewal of the Intifada (Palestinian uprising), he said, “before deciding on that renewal, we should to define what kind of intifada we want. If it was decided by the leadership, the leadership has to go into the street. … Intifada is a popular phenomenon. The people who will pay the price are the people in the street, and the Palestinian leadership must take that into consideration.”
Asked whether the images of the destruction wrought by the Israeli military in Gaza last winter reminded the former guerilla leader of the 2002 Battle of Jenin in which he led a group of fighters, he said, “There was a mistake in orchestrating the battle in Gaza because the attacks were on the entire population of Gaza, but Hamas portrayed it as an attack on Hamas alone. The victims were the same in the Jenin Refugee Camp and in Gaza. The effects of the attacks were on ordinary people.”
He then changed course and added, “Hamas failed to orchestrate the Battle with Israel as we failed to orchestrate the battle in the West Bank, because on the ground now, in Jenin Refugee Camp, [Israeli] military jeeps can easily operate without any indication of resistance.”
Asked his views on the program of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, Zubeidi smiled and said that he was happy that the PA security forces are being trained internationally.
“I am happy that our army is trained in Jordan in Egypt, in Russia, in several countries all over the world,” he said. “In case there is a future war, we will have some people who will be trained.”