(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ASHARQ AL-AWSAT SAUDI NEWSPAPER)
Ramallah – Since I met him a few months ago, nothing has changed in Mahmoud el-Aloul’s entourage even though he has been elected the deputy party chief of Fatah, which means he could become leader of the movement in case of any surprises, and consequently president of Palestinian Authority.
On our way to his office for an interview, we were not questioned once and we were received by his office manager who delayed our interview several times due to unorganized appointments. Many members of Fatah believe this is a “creative chaos”.
Before the interview, I asked Aloul about his few security guards. His answer was that he didn’t like the fuss they create and wished he could carry out his duties without any assistants.
The first question was about US President Donald Trump and his numerous statements about Palestine and Israel.
Aloul acknowledged that it’s the question asked by everyone. No one can understand Trump’s policy, which he said is “mysterious and confusing.”
“As soon as he got into office, he created problems with the US and international community including Europe, China, and Japan. His policies are completely different from all his predecessors, so we are faced by a mysterious case. We have to wait and we are doing our best,” Aloul said.
He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Fatah is trying to contact the Trump administration and has sent direct messages and via Arab leaders.
He said Fatah advised Trump not to rush into any decision concerning the region. But, regardless of anything, Abbas’ deputy stressed that Fatah holds onto the people’s rights and will defend them.
When asked if the movement received any response to its demands, Aloul said a number of Fatah figures had met with senior officials at the US administration and confirmed that discussions touched on both political and security matters.
Concerning what Trump had stated about moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Aloul said there might be some changes in the president’s stance, but, like the rest of the world, nothing can be predicted.
Trump retracted from the two-state solution, which Aloul is not entirely against given that it protects Palestinians’ rights and grants them freedom, independence and sovereignty.
Whereas, he added, a one state democratic solution has been proposed by Palestinians.
Concerning Trump, Aloul said that negotiations are an inevitable part of any war or conflict in the world and the Palestinian conflict with Israel has been ongoing for years.
The VP said that resistance is legitimate, as Fatah has said in its political declaration that resistance is a right. But, Aloul, didn’t deny that each phase has its own requirements and the current stage requires public resistance.
Such resistance is necessary as long as there are crimes and there is occupation, he said, adding that it should be a way of life for all Palestinians.
When asked about his position of Fatah deputy chief, Aloul said the position has certain authorities in line with the movement’s bylaws. He also mentioned that this post is up to review a year after it was created.
He said his main goal is to move forward with the movement and reconcile with the Palestinian people in order to create a state of unity within the movement itself and between the movement and the society.
He added that choosing him for this position put an end to a number of foreign interventions that had been going on for a long time.
Certain observers expected Marwan al-Barghouti to be chosen for the position of Abbas’ deputy. Aloul expressed his pride in everything Barghouti has done and confirmed that Fatah will continue battling for his freedom. He did however explain that not choosing Barghouti for the post was due to the fact that he wouldn’t be able to perform any executive duties from his prison cell.
He criticized the people trying to create strife out of this issue.
When asked about Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) elections, he said a committee is preparing for the polls but negotiations are ongoing on where they should take place.
Concerning the elections, Aloul explained that the election of a PLO deputy chief is under discussion. However, Hamas announced that the head of council can be the head of authority, to which Aloul said that Hamas has to determine first if it wants to be part of the Palestinian Authority or not.
Aloul said Fatah is a national liberation movement that hasn’t achieved its goals and will remain active until it does.
He also expressed his lack of interest in what Israelis think about his statements.
Finally, the Fatah deputy leader ruled out an Arab Spring in Palestine, saying the people are not against the government, they are all against one enemy: the occupation.