Thursday, April 20, 2006


Interview with Said Siam, PA's Interior Minister

by Fabio Scuto

from La Repubblica (Italy) print edition 20 April 2006
translated by Diego Traversa

JERUSALEM—Said Siam, Internal Affairs Minister of the Hamas-led government, doesn’t recoil even a bit when accounting for the slaughter which took place last Monday at a bus station in Tel Aviv, costing the lives of nine people, referring to it as a “reaction to the military occupation”.

Siam, speaking with La Repubblica, rebuts that the approval amongst the Palestinians towards the Hamas’ government is rapidy increasing, even though yesterday in Gaza there were only one hundred people at the solidarity manifestation for Hamas.

On the other hand, he states that the international community means to starve out his people by eliminating the PNA’s funds and blackmailing the Palestinians so as to “make them pay the choice of voting Hamas in the past elections.”

Minister Siam, the Tel Aviv slaughter and the lack of Hamas to censure the attack will beget a harsh Israeli reaction. Is this what you want?

“Quite the contrary. The Israelis are already carrying out against our people every kind of aggression, both military and economic ones. Therefore, the Palestinians can’t waste too much time. The Israelis hoped that the Palestinians would lay the blame on Hamas for this aggression, yet our people know well who is to blame for everything that is happening. This is why someone has started again getting himself blown up amidst the Israelis.”

Hamas had spoken of a possible truce with Israel, why has your government not censured the attack just as, instead, Mahmud Abbas did?

“Hamas is concerned with a truce more than anyone else, in order to start its own agenda that is able to grant security and welfare to its own people, but it seems that the Israelis are not that interested in the success of the Palestinians. That attack at the bus station was the natural Palestinian backlash against the Israelis’ violent acts.”

Do you think that striking defenceless civilians is “a natural reaction”?
Don’t you believe that the solidarity for the attack will result in the cutting off even more of your government and the Palestinians?

“First of all, for us those are not terrorist attacks or however you call them, they are the answer by the victim before the people who are the persecutor. Secondly, the world is already punishing the Palestinians, the people, for making their own democratic choice and it does this through blackmail, it is boycotting and starving us. Hence, it needs no other excuses to isolate us. It’s me who asks you: don’t you think that the world should punish who has been occupying our land for such a long time and carrying out every sort of aggression against our people?”

The sole support to your government has come from Syria and Iran, two countries black-listed by the international community whilst the great Arab countries such as Egypt and Jordan, and also the Arab League have forsaken you. How do you think you will go on?

“It’s not time to be overly nice, we welcome willingly every kind of support, be it Arab, Islamic or western ones, since this help goes to the Palestinian people and not to Hamas. On the other hand, Qatar has decided to give donations, as well as Algeria. At any rate, let the citizens from the countries boycotting the Palestinians judge the choices of their own governments.”

But the Palestinians are starving. Without western aid you can’t go on. Are you sure of having the support from all of your people about these choices?

“When our people appointed us, they knew well that they would be patient with Hamas at the government. They elected us to win back their own dignity and rights which they have been deprived of by the Israeli enemy before the eyes of the whole world. Our people have never had a heavenly life, to us distress is not something new. Our folk ask us to defend their dignity and their rights, food will come after. I’m convinced that our people are ready to thoroughly follow us, without kneeling and asking alms.”

The political clash between Mahmud Abbas and the Prime Minister Haniyeh is getting harsher with each passing day. Will things turn from words to arms?

“The political clash is a genuine fact. Mahmud Abbas is the lawful president appointed by the Palestinians. He believes in negotiations with the Israelis as a solution, a way to achieve our rights, but he has failed. It’s Israel, along with US and EU, which hasn’t helped him, certainly not us. About interior policy, we have many shared points and we’re going to stress them. We’ll settle whatever quarrel through dialogue, without any military clash, and, against every expectation of yours there will be no armed clash.”

Translated from Italian by Diego Traversa and revised by Mary Rizzo, member of Tlaxcala ( the network for linguistic diversity. This translation is on Copyleft.


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