Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Ibrahim De Abis - Abu Mazen has 2, 3 months' time
Arabmonitor spoke with Ibrahim De Abis, commentator of Al Quds and of the Jerusalem Times, on the prospects of the vote.
Has it been a fair electoral campaign ?
"Along broad lines, yes. Abu Mazen has been facilitated for the fact that he is the president of the PLO".
Al Fatah has denounced the incitement of Hamas against Abu Mazen. Hamas did the same for the appeals against armed resistance. Which opportunities does Abu Mazen have for resolving the controversies, once he is elected ?
"The question is very complicated. There are and there will continue to be Israeli pressures on him, so that he uses repression. In my view, he will succeed in reaching an agreement with Hamas and the resistance groups for a sort of cease fire, as had happened already when he was leading the government. The problems are not resolved with the use of force. He has said so and he will not use it".
How much time does Abu Mazen have in order to obtain something from Israel, to exhibit to the eyes of the Palestinian general public and to make his own credibility grow, and what should he ask for ?
"He has two months' time, possibly three. He will ask for the withdrawal of the military forces to the lines of 28 September 2000, those of the second Intifada. It could be, then that an accord for the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is regulated in coordination with the Palestinian National Authority, and that also could be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of his policies".
Is it likely that the military operations of the resistance diminish ?
"I think so, because this is the atmosphere that one gathers on the street".
Is there any truth to the voice that there is currently a battle between Abu Mazen and the prime minister Abu Ala ?
"It would seem to be that they have agreed to not combat between themselves. At least, not at this precise moment. On the other hand, there is nothing that separates them and there is really no true alternative to Abu Ala as the head of the government".
Do you see an opportunity for a role in the immediate future for the controversial figure of Mohammad Dahlan ?
"I don't think so, because I think a possible nomination of this person would create more problems than those that it could resolve".
When do you think that Parliamentary elections will be held ?
"In June, but it could be even at the end of May. The Palestinian Assembly is at this moment discussing the new electoral law".
The Secretary of al Fatah Farouk Kaddoumi is still far away from the Palestinian Territories. For how long can he lead the movement from abroad ?
"I think that at the complete withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, he will make his reentry".
Do you think that Israel will abstain from attacks in the Gaza Strip ?
"If the operations of the resistance groups diminish, I think so".
Is there any risk of provocation coming from the Israeli extremists, from the settlers ?
"It is a very big risk (the online version of Haaretz published a service that revealed that a leader of the illegal settlement of Gush Katif, in the Gaza Strip, has just returned from the United States on a conference tour, utilized also for fundraising, and thousands of Jewish and Christian volunteers are waiting for nothing more than a signal in order to enter the fray side by side with the settlers)".