(A "moderate" )
"If anyone believes we Palestinians can do without east Jerusalem, he is completely mistaken."
Feisal Husseini, leading P.L.O. figure in Israel (The Guardian of London, September 1, 1993)
"Gradually, stage by stage, we will reach an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital."
Feisal Husseini, senior P.L.O. figure in Israel (Beirut Times, 16 September 1993)
"The army must withdraw and the settlements and settlers along with it."
Feisal Husseini, leading P.L.O. figure in Israel (Reuters, 8 November 1993)
"I believe even those points which have been accepted in the Declaration of Principles about leaving security in the hands of the Israelis will not work."
Feisal Husseini, leading P.L.O. figure in Israel (The Jerusalem Post, 9 November 1993)
"Everything you see and hear today is for tactical and strategic reasons. We have not given up the rifle. We still have armed gangs in the areas and if we do not get our state we will take them out of the closet and fight again."
Feisal Husseini, leading P.L.O. figure in Israel, in a speech that was delivered on 22 November 1993 at Bir Zeit University (Maariv, 24 November 1993)
"We are building a Palestinian national authority that we know will be a state in the future."
Faisal Husseini, senior P.L.O. figure in Israel (The Jerusalem Post, 4 February 1994)
"This is the first step towards a Palestinian state."
Feisal Husseini, leading P.L.O. figure in Israel (Yediot Aharonot, 4 May 1994)
"The battle for Jerusalem has begun."
Feisal Husseini, leading P.L.O. figure in Israel, in a speech in Bethlehem (The Jerusalem Post International Edition, 18 June 1994)
"People feel that the militants are right because Israel has not honored the accords."
Feisal Husseini, Minister for Jerusalem Affairs in the P.L.O.'s Palestinian Authority, speaking to reporters in Saudi Arabia (The Jerusalem Post, 16 April 1995)
"If Israel continues to undermine the path to peace there will be no other alternative but that called for by the Islamist Palestinian opposition - the military option."
Feisal Husseini, Minister for Jerusalem Affairs in the P.L.O.'s Palestinian Authority, in an interview with the Egyptian weekly Al-Arabi (Agence France Presse, 1 May 1995)
"There will be an intifada not just in Jerusalem, but in all the occupied territories and in all the Middle East."
Feisal Husseini, Minister for Jerusalem Affairs in the P.L.O. Palestinian Authority (Voice of Israel, 21 May 1995; Haaretz, 22 May 1995)
"If Prime Minister Binyamin decides to build in Har Homa this will be a declaration of war on the Palestinians."
Palestinian Authority Minister Faisal Husseini regarding Israel's decision to build a new Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem's Har Homa section. (Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahranot, 18 February 1997)
"The battle for Jerusalem is near. It requires determination and it carries a heavy responsibility for it is the key to war and peace." - PA Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Faisal Husseini, at a conference of the Fatah Youth Organization in Al-Bireh, official PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, March 14, 1999.
"First, we discuss Jerusalem - East and West. We are not ready to give up [any] of our rights in West Jerusalem, let alone East Jerusalem. We have property there, as well as holy places and history. The second issue is that it was agreed that the negotiations would be based on UN Resolution 242, and therefore, the borders between the two sovereignties are the borders of 242. This, however, does not negate our demand for our rights [in West Jerusalem.] Maybe, just maybe, in some of the areas, there can be changes in the borders. Nevertheless, our rights there [in West Jerusalem] are not to be compromised because we own 70 percent of West Jerusalem on both the popular and the institutional levels. Part of the remaining 30 percent is governmental land Israel inherited from the British mandate, which does not mean it has become part of their right, because West Jerusalem is not rightfully Israel's but rather a part of the Corpus Separatum determined in the UN resolutions, primarily the Partition Resolution. No country recognizes Jerusalem [as capital of Israel] and therefore, there are no foreign embassies in it. This unique status of Jerusalem enables us to demand our rights in West Jerusalem.
"Our overall view of the future is that East Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian State, and West Jerusalem a capital for them. The borders, however, must be open and the relationship between the two sides must continue. Then, there should be additional administrative or security measures in order to run these two parts without contradicting the interests of either of the parties and without damaging our sovereignty over East Jerusalem."
The interviewer than asked, "Are you using West Jerusalem as a bargaining chip?"
Al Husseini responded by saying, "It is not a bargaining chip, but rather part of our rights. It is non-negotiable. We Palestinians own 70 percent of West Jerusalem, including property and holy places. How can we overlook these rights?! This is not a tactical process." (Faisal Al-HusseiniAl-Hayat newspaper [London], September 26, 1999)
"If I compare the situation today with what [it was like] several years ago, things are more clear... we will never, accept an agreement without Jerusalem. Israel will have to sit and talk about Jerusalem... there is no other way, they can not expect us to give it up. We already compromised [when we accepted only the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem] as our land." (Faisal Husseini, Palestinian Authority Official for Jerusalem Affairs, Jerusalem Post, June 7, 2000.)
The Oslo Accords: A Trojan Horse
Q: "What is happening now, unfortunately, is a natural consequence of Arafat's signing the Oslo Accords which did not explicitly state that the settlements should be removed, or even [their construction] halted...and did not explicitly determine the future of Jerusalem and the right of return...but - among other mistakes you recently admit - it did explicitly state that the PA must confiscate weapons from Palestinian civilians..."
A: "Following the signing of the Oslo Accords... I said three things:
First, following a long period of "pregnancy" we brought a child into the world, [the Oslo Accords] who is smaller, weaker, and uglier than what we had hoped for. However, despite it all, this is still our child, and we must nurture, strengthen and develop it so that he is able to stand on his own two feet."
"Second, we are the Jews of the 21st Century. Meaning, we the Palestinians will be the Jews of the early [previous] century. They infiltrated our country using various methods; using all kinds of passports, and they suffered greatly in the process. They even had to face humiliation but they did it all for one goal: To enter our country and root themselves in it prior to our expulsion out of it. We must act in the same way they did. [We must] return [to the land], settle it, and develop new roots in our land from where we were expelled; whatever the price may be."
"Third, the [ancient] Greek Army was unable to break into Troy due to [internal] disputes and disagreements [among themselves]. The Greek forces started retreating one after the other, and the Greek king ended up facing the walls of Troy all by himself, and he too suffered from illnesses and [internal] disputes, and ended up leading a failed assault on Troy's walls."
"[Following these events] the people of Troy climbed on top of the walls of their city and could not find any traces of the Greek army, except for a giant wooden horse. They cheered and celebrated thinking that the Greek troops were routed, and while retreating, they left a harmless wooden horse as spoils of war. So they opened the gates of the city and brought in the wooden horse. We all know what happened next."
"Had the U.S. and Israel not realized, before Oslo, that all that was left of the Palestinian National movement and the Pan-Arab movement was a wooden horse called Arafat or the PLO, they would never have opened their fortified gates and let it inside their walls."
"Despite the fact that we entered these walls in order to build, unlike the Greeks who entered in order to destroy, I now tell you all, all those to whom I spoke in a secret meeting during the days of Oslo: 'Climb into the horse and don't question what type of material the horse is made of. Climb into the horse, and we shall transform your climbing into that horse into a beginning of a building era rather than an era of the end of hope."'
"And indeed, there are those who climbed unto the horse and are [now] inside [the PA territory] whether they supported the Oslo Accords or not."
Q: "But the horse began to ignore criticism from the people, both from those who supported Oslo and those who opposed it. [It ignored] criticism about the true democracy that should lead the horse and about the horse's corruption."
A: "Your words remind me of the famous meeting we had with all the Palestinian factions three years following Arafat and the PLO's return to Gaza...the debate revolved around the same issues you are raising - i.e., democracy, corruption, etc."
"In that meeting - and those who attended are still alive and can attest to it - I asked to speak. I told everyone: Three years ago I said 'Climb into the horse' and everyone entered into the horse and the horse entered into the walled-in [area]. Now, the time has come for us to say: 'Come out of the horse and start working. Don't stay inside the horse and don't waste time and energy while you are inside the horse arguing whether this was a good horse or not. Look, it is thanks to this horse that you were able to get into the walled-in city."'
"So come down out of the horse and start working for the goal for which you entered the horse to begin with. In my opinion, the Intifada itself is the coming down out of the horse. Rather than getting into the old arguments...this effort [the Intifada] could have been much better, broader, and more significant had we made it clearer to ourselves that the Oslo agreement, or any other agreement, is just a temporary procedure, or just a step towards something bigger..."
"Praise Allah, by now we have all come out of the horse, those who were with Arafat and those from the opposition. Personally, I never had any complaints regarding the fact that they entered the horse while being opposed to it. However, I would have complaints had they stayed inside the horse and never came out of it. Now that we all came out of the horse, I ask of you and of all journalists to lay aside all the analyses of past events, all the old disputes, and judge people on the basis of what they are actually doing now...our slogan from now on should be "The Intifada is always right..."''
Q: "What are the borders of the Palestinian state you are referring to, and what kind of 'Jerusalem' would you accept as the capital of your state?"
A: "With this question you are dragging me into talking about what we refer to as our "strategic" goals and our "political" goals, or the phased goals. The "strategic" goals are the "higher goals," the "long-term goals," or the "unwavering goals," the goals that are based on solid Pan-Arab historic rights and principles. Whereas the "political" goals are those goals which were set for a temporary timeframe, considering the [constraints of] the existing international system, the balance of power, our own abilities, and other considerations which "vary" from time to time."
"When we are asking all the Palestinian forces and factions to look at the Oslo Agreement and at other agreements as "temporary" procedures, or phased goals, this means that we are ambushing the Israelis and cheating them. However, the truth is that we are doing exactly what they are doing. The proof for that is that they are aware of, and are not trying to hide, the fact that there is nothing that unites them more around the territory which extends from the Nile to the Euphrates, than their slogan, which was taken from the Torah, and reads: 'These are the borders of the greater land of Israel.'"
"If, for some reason, they had to temporarily declare their state over "a part" of the greater land of Israel, they would publicly declare that this is their "political" strategy, which they will have to temporarily accept due to international circumstances. On the other hand, their "higher strategy" is always "The Greater Land of Israel."
"We are [acting] exactly like them. In 1947, in accordance with [the UN] Partition Plan, they decided to declare statehood on 55% of the land of Palestine, which they later increased to 78% during the War of 1948, and then again [increased it] to 100% during the War of 1967. Despite all that, they never attempted to make secret of their long-term goal, which is "Greater Israel" from the Nile to the Euphrates. Similarly, if we agree to declare our state over what is now only 22% of Palestine, meaning the West Bank and Gaza - our ultimate goal is [still] the liberation of all historical Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, even if this means that the conflict will last for another thousand years or for many generations."
"In short, we are exactly like they are. We distinguish the strategic, long-term goals from the political phased goals, which we are compelled to temporarily accept due to international pressure. If you are asking me as a Pan-Arab nationalist what are the Palestinian borders according to the higher strategy, I will immediately reply: "From the river to the sea." Palestine in its entirety is an Arab land, the land of the Arab nation, a land no one can sell or buy, and it is impossible to remain silent while someone is stealing it, even if this requires time and even [if it means paying] a high price."
"If you are asking me, as a man who belongs to the Islamic faith, my answer is also "From the river to the sea," the entire land is an Islamic Waqf which can not be bought or sold, and it is impossible to remain silent while someone is stealing it ..."
"If you are asking me as an ordinary Palestinian, from the "inside" or from the Diaspora, you will get the same answer and without any hesitations. However, what I am able to achieve and live on right now, due to [constraints of] the international system, is not, of course, Palestine "From the river to the sea." In order for us to fulfill all of our dreams regarding Palestine, we must, first of all, wake up and realize where we are standing. On the other hand, if we will continue to behave as if we are still dreaming, we will not find a place to put our feet on..."
"As I once said in the past: our eyes must continue to focus on the higher goal. The real danger is that I might forget [it], and while advancing towards my short-term goal I might turn my back on my long-term goal, which is the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea..."
On his way to Kuwait, in early July 2001 Faisal Al-Husseini gave this interview to Shafiq Ahmad Ali of the Egyptian (Nasserite) daily, 'Al-Arabi'. Shortly afterwards he suffered a major heart attack and died.
THE HAMAS CHARTER
Interviews with Hamas women
Hamas in its own words
A CRY FROM THE HEART
Has there ever been a peace process?
CAN ISLAM MAKE PEACE WITH ISRAEL?
WHY DID YASSER ARAFAT SIGN THE OSLO ACCORD?
The treaty of Hudabiyyah
The treaty between Saladin and Richard I
Peace? What peace?
Sermons in Palestinian mosques
The truth about Arafat and the Palestinians
Yasser Arafat over the years
Aid money used for weapons
Obituary of Yasser Arafat
Egyptian tributes to Arafat
Marwan Barghouti could succeed Arafat
Palestinian leadership should get real
Hamas on the 1967 borders
Arafat and the Viet Cong
The Hizbullah programme
The Gaza disengagement