Public Radio Interview
with Nasser Abufarha
June 13, 2002
I'm Jean Feraca, this is Ideas in Action and we're going to
discuss an alternative peace plan for the Middle East. It is
the conceit or brainchild of a Palestinian, his name is Nasser
Abufarha, he's a graduate student in anthropology at Madison
and is a member of the Alternative Palestinian Agenda. He is
also a native of Jenin and maintains a residence there.
Thank you, thank you for having me
I'm trying to imagine how you could manage to be so level headed
and high minded in developing these ideas when you actually
saw the rubble of your own home town on television.
well, I've seen the rubble of my home town on television and
I've lived also the experience of occupation, I've gone to school
in Jenin under the occupation and I've gone through various
harassment procedures under Israel, under the IDF, but we choose
to live and if we choose to live we need to focus on how can
we structure the relationship between us and the Israelis who
are both integral components of the same space today.
Not everybody chooses to live. I mean, what could be more of
a contradiction to that, as a general statement, when day after
day we hear reports of suicide bombers.
Well yes. We hear reports of suicides bombers, but I call these
suicide bombers dying to live too. Because nobody is born to
give up all life, people are in a constant struggle to improve
their lives. I mean their perception is that they are sacrificing
their lives to improve the lives of their people. That's where
the suicide bomber comes from. But in general there has been
a quest for peace both among Palestinians and Israelis and that's
why both Palestinians and Israelis were engaged in a peace process
throughout the 90s. That came from public demand on both sides
to bring about a peace process. Now of course we know that the
peace process failed. There are reasons why this peace process
failed and it was bound to explode when people were promised
peace and they did not get peace.
Why did the peace proposals fail?
It was removed from peoples' concerns and peoples' livelihood.
It was focused on forging a deal between power structures and
that deal did not focus [
.] on the issues
of conflict and issues of concern for Palestinians and Israelis
and how can we address them and resolve them. That focus was
missing from the picture, [each side focused on how they could
gain more from the deal for their side] rather than on how can
we resolve the conflict itself. And in itself, we Palestinians
are a greater disadvantage in terms of power structure. So the
Palestinians were not able to gain more than the Israelis were
willing to give them.
In your view, what is your understanding of the needs of both
sides and how does your peace proposal address them?
We have to look at the historical context of the conflict and
the historical context starts in 1948 with the creation of the
Palestinian refugees in the process of creating Israel. That's
where the conflict started: the majority of the Palestinian
population was exiled into the neighboring countries, were never
allowed to return throughout the history of the state which
is the last 54 years. Later on the remainder of the territories
of the West Bank and Gaza were occupied and then the Palestinian
population was subject to occupation. So we have on the Palestinian
side the occupation as an issue, we have the Palestinian refugee
as an issue, we have the demographic crisis in Gaza, where most
of the residents are refugees who were driven out of their homes
in 1948 and resettled in the Gaza Strip, this has caused a demographic
crisis in the Strip.
Demographic crisis in the sense that there are just too many
people for the area.
Too many people. 4,000 per sq kilometer. And we have the issue
of the Palestinians in Israel who do not enjoy democratic and
civil rights equitable to the Israeli Jew. And they comprise
12% or 13% of the Palestinian population. Those are the major
concerns of the Palestinians.
the Israeli side, we have number one the security concern, number
two is normalization and acceptance, to be normalized and accepted
as an integral society of the region, as part of the Middle
East region. These can be resolved together, and we cannot --
the previous processes tried to focus on some of these issues
in isolation. We hear a lot of talk about the settlements as
if the settlements were the only issue, or ending the occupation
in isolation of how it would resolve the conflict. Ending the
occupation, if it will not resolve the conflict, I don't think
it will be feasible to end it.
What about the city of Jerusalem
The city of Jerusalem is of concern and it actually shows how
the issues are interconnected - Palestinians and Israelis, there
is a great attachment from both to the city of Jerusalem. From
Palestinians, and Arabs and Muslims, and for the Israelis and
I think the Jewish connection to Jerusalem is better understood
than the Palestinian connection. Can you explain that to us?
What sort of stake do Palestinians have in Jerusalem itself?
Jerusalem itself number one historically has been our cultural
we have been denied access since occupation.
We had some access in the early 70s, but for most of us, during
the Israeli occupation, most men cannot travel to Jerusalem
without a certain permit and that permit is subject to the Israeli
[approval]. The rest of the Arabs are not allowed to Jerusalem,
the rest of the Muslims who
Jerusalem holds the holy site
for them, are not allowed to visit Jerusalem, especially the
Muslims of the Arab states.
we have denial of accessibility to Jerusalem and Jerusalem is
not only housing historical sites or religious sites for Muslims
and Christians and Jews alike but also it is a city that has
historically been a cultural center for us.
In what sense a cultural center, what do you mean by that?
Well it housed most of the museums, it housed newspapers, most
of the cultural production in Palestinian literacy were housed
in Jerusalem and it has been the place where intellectual life
has flourished throughout the history of Palestine.
So your plan, first of all is posited on the interdependence
of these two groups, which is something that they themselves
don't recognize or would like to deny.
Would like to deny. The fact that we both live in Palestine/Israel,
we share the space and they cannot deny that, they see that
before their eyes and that is where the whole thing came to
me in traveling throughout Palestine/Israel. We live among each
other, we may be separated: there are areas [that are] majority
Palestinian and areas that are majority Israeli but we do share
the same space, we do call the same space our homeland. We call
it Palestine, they call it Israel, but it is really the same
space. And since this is the reality, we cannot escape that,
we have to devise ways of how to share the space and
live in the space peacefully.
So the idea of creating a geographical boundaries, which is
the way we have defined creating the state of Palestine, the
state of Israel, in your view isn't going to work because first
of all in establishing the state of Palestine you contribute
to the insecurity of the Jewish state.
Yes, as an independent state, and visa versa.
Yes, so what is the alternative?
The alternative that I'm proposing is to reconfigure the space
into two states Palestine and Israel where Palestine would [comprise
of] the areas that are currently predominantly Palestinian,
inhabited by Palestinians, and Israel would be in the areas
that are currently predominantly inhabited by Israelis. But
both states are in a federal union whereby each state would
have sovereignty over territory: its own laws, its own cultural
expression, so you preserve the identity aspect of both people
which is very strong for both the Palestinians and Israelis
because it has been challenged for both the Palestinians and
the Israelis. But at the same time the federal union would address
issues of common interest, at the top of it is security. The
Jerusalem and Bethlehem area would be, under the proposal, a
separate district from either state, would have its own council,
would run its own affairs, and the federal government would
be housed in Jerusalem. This way Jerusalem is still the capital
of Israel, Jerusalem is still the capital of Palestine and both
Palestinians and Jews live in and have equal say in its affairs.
the Palestinians have their cultural expression and identity
expression sovereignty in their Palestine and Israelis have
cultural expression and Jewish identity, Jewish identity, in
Israel, and both people, after a period of normalization that
takes place, both people, later would have access to the whole
What about the right of return?
The right of return is addressed in the context of the new territorial
configuration that is proposed. There are areas that [were]
taken away from the Palestinians in 1948 and are still not settled
by the Israelis and I will give an example of that: there is
the Gaza Strip, which we talked about 4,000 per square kilometer,
and the area between the Gaza Strip and Ber Sheva which is about
four times as big as the Gaza Strip, and is inhabited by 20
per square kilometer. So that is a fertile area, largely vacant.
I thought it was a desert.
The desert is yet south. Between the Gaza Strip and Ber Sheva
is not a desert it's actually very fertile fields that are being
farmed by large Israeli corporations. And so those areas can
certainly accommodate for resolutions and can certainly relieve
some of the refugees suffocating in the Gaza Strip. So under
the new territorial configurations that I propose, I allocate
such areas to the Palestinian state to absorb the Palestinian
in the Galilee where Palestinians are still the vast majority.
In the landscape there, there are a number of the Palestinian
villages, sites, that were destroyed in 1948. So these areas
where Palestinians still comprise a majority in the population
are proposed to be reconfigured under the Palestinian state
and in those areas the returnees would be accommodated by redevelopment
of the villages in those areas and more settlements in the urban
areas. Because in the Galilee, in the areas that we are proposing
to reconfigure under Palestinian sovereignty, there are 72 Israeli
towns that house 33,000 and there are 54 Palestinian towns that
house 470,000 people. So if you look at the map yes there are
a lot of towns, but if you look at the demographics which I
did through studying the statistics from the Israeli Central
Bureau of Statistics, it shows that the majority is still Palestinian
in that region.
reconfiguration allows the majority of Palestinians to be under
a Palestinian state, and yet it allows Israel to become more
Jewish than it is right now because right now Israel has 20%
of its population Palestinian. Under this new configuration,
most of these Palestinians would fall under the state of Palestine.
How is this proposal the product of a student of anthropology.
(laughing) Actually this proposal is what brought me back to
anthropology. I came up with this proposal actually through
my own experience. I've been an activist all of my life, I've
lived under Israeli occupation as I said and I've gone through
beatings in my high school, I've gone through beatings at checkpoints
and in the Israeli jails and so on. I've come to the states,
I've become a student activist, I led the GUPS, the General
Union of Palestine Students in the Michigan area. And then became
a human rights activist after my graduation and then during
the Oslo times I started traveling to Palestine and my own experiences
in the travel to Palestine/Israel and encounters with various
it had an effect on me, myself.
In what way?
who is the Israeli today, who is the Palestinian?
I mean the main thing that I've come to realize, that has had
an effect on me is that we are not in 1948 anymore, we are not
in the history anymore, we're in the year 2000 and 2002 and
the Israelis are no longer an immigrant society in Palestine,
no longer a colonial settlement in Palestine, but rather there
is a new emerging native Israeli identity that is an integral
component of this space
And this has to acknowledged.
And this has to acknowledged.
Are Palestinians ready to do that?
I think a lot of Palestinians are because the polls showed a
consideration for a bi-national option in December at 22%, a
recent poll showed it at 30%. So Palestinians are acknowledging
that, acknowledging that in their support of a bi-national option,
which is what I'm proposing, or their previous support of a
two-state option. Not all of the support for the two-state option
was an acknowledgement of that, but some of that support was
in terms of a "stages" program that was "OK we
will take whatever we can now and we will liberate the rest
of it later."
Which is exactly what the Jews fear.
Which is exactly what the Jews fear and that will continue to
be the case as long as we are in a process that tries to silence
some of the other issues because the majority of the Palestinians
are the exiled Palestinians. When we resolve the occupation,
which is the West Bank and Gaza, that's one third of the Palestinian
population. And most of those who are fighting for Palestine
are the exiled Palestinians who are in refugee camps. And as
long as this is trying to be shoved aside silenced and the Palestinian
who was exiled has no space or no consideration in the process,
he will continue to see that his only option is liberating Palestine
because that is the only way he is going to be included. So,
I mean, it's a matter of shifting the discourse to focus on
the answer. To comprehensively address the issues in all of
With us, Nasser Abufarha, he's a graduate student at the UW
Madison using this hour to present a well-thought through peace
proposal, and alternative peace proposal for the Middle East
conflict. I'm Jean Feraca, what do you think? You can join in
by calling 1-800-642-1234 or in Madison 263 1890. This is the
Ideas Network of Wisconsin Public Radio.
joins in from Madison, hi Sid.
Good morning. Thank you for your program. I think this proposal
is very interesting and whenever I ask supporters of Israel
to come up with some sort of plan they always evade it, but
it seems to me we should have a number of plans on the table
and so we can have some concrete proposal based on some real
suggestions. My question to you is: many of the critics now
say that Israel is moving toward some sort of apartheid state
where the Palestinians will be put in reservations like they
were in South Africa or reservations like in America or ghettos.
How will you deal with the great gap between the haves and the
have-nots and prevent the Palestinians from becoming in a ghetto
where they will have insufficient water, they really won't have
the same economic resources or the ability to move around the
country, because the supporters of Israeli say whenever the
Palestinians want to move around they will be a security threat.
So how would deal with those questions?
I think the Palestinians have dealt with this by refusing that
arrangement, that apartheid arrangement through the Oslo process.
I think the Oslo process was exactly bringing this arrangement:
canonization of the Palestinian areas into some 60 pieces scattered
throughout the West Bank, isolated from each other where Palestinians
are, have to go through Israeli checkpoints between Area A and
the next Area A or Area A and Area B and so on. And that's what
brought the escalation of the conflict in the last two years
when Palestinian at first thought this was an interim arrangement
and that interim arrangement continued to be the case and the
current is a reaction to that and I think the Palestinians are
not putting up with it and not accepting it. We are engaging
what we are proposing is to shift the discourse, to
look at Palestinians and Israelis in a comprehensive, and absolutely
what we are proposing not in any would canonize Palestinian
areas or Israeli areas. This is what the previous Israeli government
tried to do and they are still trying to do it, but I don't
think they are successful or that this can be lasting.
Thank you Sid. Open lines for anyone else who wants to join
in. We are talking about an alternative peace proposal that
has been put forward by a UW graduate student in anthropology,
Nasser Abufarha who is a native of Jenin
joins in next, from
Hello, I just want to say that I am a Jewish American who has
lost life-long friends because of my views, but I still hold
them and I want to thank you for yours and I want to know how
I can help.
Thank you. You can look at our website www.ap-agenda.org and
there are campaigns and ways to help in disseminating this proposal
and spreading the word and bringing it to discussion among Jews
and among Israelis and among international circles as well.
So we would appreciate your help in any way, please check us
on the web. Thank you
Thanks Doe for the call, again we have open lines
impressed with the open letter that you wrote that acknowledges
first of all the legitimacy of the Israeli state, but also appeals
to Israel for the same kind of recognition, and I'm wondering
how you are going about promoting this proposal and whether
or not you are connected to the leadership in Palestine.
I am connected to some elements of the leadership, but not Arafat's
leadership, and I don't think either the Palestinian or Israeli
leadership, the current power structure, would be interested
in such a plan.
Why is that?
Because number one the Israeli leadership have a desire, have
a ideological commitment to an exclusive Jewish state. That
is the premise of the original Zionist idea
so the idea
of giving up that is not a matter of discussion for them it
is a matter of how to contain the Palestinian population. And
to maintain that.
The impasse we seem to have reached is
we always hear
from Sharon that there can be no peace negotiations until there
is an end to the violence. From the other side we hear
well I'm not sure what we hear exactly
Well that there can be no end to the violence without end to
Yeah, and how do we get out of that impasse.
By bringing a vision that can comprehensively lead to a resolution.
What people were saying before is, through the 90s and the old
peace process, is that we could not necessarily see the light
at the end of the tunnel. Today they can't even see the tunnel
that is where we need to be creative and come up with ideas
to bring to people as alternatives. A friend of mine yesterday
passed me an article from the Jerusalem Post [showing] that
the people on the Palestinian side who support the notion liberating
all of historic Palestine has risen to 52% and it's bound to
rise this way but also the people who support a bi-national
state has risen also to 30 some percent. Unless people see a
comprehensive vision of how all their concerns can be addressed
they will not engage in a process to implement it.
They prefer to fight, their dug in.
They prefer to fight if the fight becomes their only means of
communication they would fight. From the Arab perspective they
are fighting for their own survival. What we need to do is to
bring this vision that shows them, to show the Israeli that
there is a way a secure and strong Israel through peace, and
same thing for the Palestinians, there is a way to address all
of your concerns through peace.
We have Dick joining in from Fish Creek.
Can you hear me? Yeah, basically I agree with Nasser's sharing
Jerusalem, I wrote a letter to the Clinton administration shortly
before they gave over power about shared city of Jerusalem where
Israelis and Palestinians would share the government. Since
then I sent a letter to the Bush administration about the Israeli/Palestinian
state in general suggesting that the UN should step in and develop
a corridor from the Gaza Strip through Jerusalem which would
have a shared administration but oversight with the UN
connecting various parts of the West Bank
to the North and that would be the basis for managing the formation
of a Palestinian state in which the Palestinians would get the
Golan Heights and the connected parts of the West Bank and have
access to Jerusalem and also the Gaza Strip and would be administered
by the UN many Arab countries partaking in the troops so there
could be a managed oversight because the Israeli and the Palestinians
haven't been able to manage the situation.
OK so Dick is calling for intervention in essence. They can't
figure this out themselves, they're on a suicide course.
But we can. I would say that we can figure this out by ourselves,
our power structures are not in tune with the people. The Palestinians
and Israelis have made a choice for peace, their desire for
peace is still there, the failure of the old peace process does
not mean they have necessarily given up on peace. But what we
need to do is shift that discourse. Now people understand on
the Israeli side that their desire for peace was not met with
a genuine peace process that was trying to resolve the conflict.
The failure of the government to bring peace, the failure of
Arafat's leadership also to bring peace
What was wrong with Barak's proposal? Why did the Palestinians
A lot was wrong with it. The Barak proposal did not allow, as
the previous caller talked about the apartheid nature of the
state, it did not allow for a continuous viable, specially viable
or as far as economic resources, or as far as a politically
viable state in the West Bank. The areas were disconnected from
A kind of an archipelago as I understand it
isolated oases of Palestinians within the Israeli state.
Within the Israeli state and the rest of , the 95% deal that
we all talk about that was given to Arafat in Camp David was
in reality a 40-50-10 deal, which was the Palestinians have
real sovereignty over 40% in these isolated spots, but the rest,
the 10% to be annexed the settlements and the rest of the 50%
were between forest reserves or security zones or land to be
leased in the Jordan Valley to Israel.
But you know Dick's idea that the UN has a role in resolving
this conflict, I think is a very new notion. I'm mean we've
seen the problems that are coming from India and Pakistan right
now and it seems to me that we have a strengthening international
community that sees its role as an intervention role when a
conflict becomes potentially dangerous for the rest of the world.
Yes, and I don't object to that. I think the UN has a role to
play and it has been playing a role in it, and it is part of
the conflict in itself because it was the body that partitioned
Palestine in 1948 and never secured that partition or the premises
of that partition which was adopted in resolution 181 at the
time. But would I say that should an international involvement,
and it is a conflict with huge international implications and
ramifications, but not an involvement that would impose something
foreign to both Palestinians and Israelis. This involvement
needs to support the genuine initiatives for peace on both sides.
But again since you already acknowledged that the presence leadership
seems to be committed to extreme positions that are mutually
exclusive, how would you do that?
We are going on a grass route, we are advocating for our opinions
and our views on both Palestinian and Israeli grass roots. There
are also movements on the Israeli side, Yossi Beilen has broke
off from Peace Now and just founded a new peace coalition. He
was the architect of the Oslo process, which, he felt he was
used by the government to the wrong ends. And similarly the
people who started the peace process on the Palestinian side
were undercut by Arafat and the deal that he made with the Israelis
in Oslo. People like Dr. Haider
Shafi who was the head
of the Palestinians delegation to the Madrid conference, and
the rest of the delegation, 20 people, most of them were undercut
by that leadership and they're, again on the Palestinian side,
are trying to form coalition and trying to bring alternative
leadership. This is what we are working on, we think we have
our promise in those initiatives on the ground and where people
no longer have faith in the player on either side to bring about
peace, we think there is a vacuum for genuine people who are
responding to people's desire for peace to gain support.
We're talking to Nasser Abufarha, a graduate student at UW Madison
with us to talk about an alternative peace proposal which he
has developed and is organizing. He's a member of the Alternative
joins us from Milkwaulkie
Good morning. I agree with your speaker that I would like nothing
better than to see the two countries try to resolve these issues
by themselves but what I've seen in the last few months, it's
almost going to be impossible without outside UN type support
to mediate these problems. What I see is I think Israel expects
the United States to back them up in no matter what they do,
I mean they literally expect the United States to come in there
with military equipment and military people if necessary in
case the people that support Palestine and the Palestinians
get involved like Syria and Lebenon and all that. And I really
worry that, unless the United Nations comes in and makes a solid
effort to negotiate between these two countries. I realize Israeli
doesn't like that idea and I know Palestinians are uncomfortable
with that but I'm afraid that things are just going to continue
to worsen and put world peace at jeopardy. Thank you for taking
Thank you Donald and I agree with you. The conflict has escalated
to a stage that it is putting world peace in jeopardy and regional
peace in jeopardy. And actually is has become detrimental to
US interests in the region itself because this escalation of
the conflict is now threatening regimes that as least the United
States cares about, in Saudi Arabia, in Egypt, in Jordan and
so on. Yes, I don't think the Palestinians object to intervention
by the international community or the UN. Actually the Palestinians
have been calling for international protection. However our
concern would be should those international peace keepers come
to be placed to monitor Palestinian population in the cities
or placed at disengagement border lines so they protect both
people from intervening with the other population. And that
is where Israel does not accept to bring them - at borders.
Actually Israel is not responding to its own people: their call
to put a fence at the border, because if they put a fence at
the border that means they are recognizing a border and they
don't want to do that because we know that there are Israeli
leaders who say they are not "occupied territories"
they are "disputed territories."
Christina joins us from Manasha.
Hi thank you for taking my call. I'm a Jewish American and although
I disagree with your guest's plan, I wish to express some gratitude
and some support just for opening up dialogue between our two
people which I think is extremely crucial to solving this conflict.
What do you object to in the plan?
Um, at this point I don't feel that a joint government between
Israel and the Palestinians will work out, um, there is too
much distrust on both sides and recently so I do feel the Palestinians
should have their own state, but I do think it is going to take
a long transition time for both side to gain trust of the other.
Maybe this plan might work some time in the future but right
now, especially Sharon and Arafat
. if we grant Palestinian statehood that gives them the
right to form alliances with Iran with Iraq with countries that
might be a threat to Israel's security.
And to build up a military
And to build up a military. What we are saying in this proposal
is that we want alliance with you, with Israel, we want a joint
government, so you have a say in our alliances, we have a say
in your alliances. You have a say in what militarization, we
have a joint military actually. But what kind of development
takes place in Palestine we have a say on, same [for] Israel.
We jointly address our concerns together on how we share this
space because at the end of the day we are sharing the same
Thanks Chrisina. Steves comes next in Madison.
I'd like to give some kind of historical perspective if I could
Um, Cromwell attacked Northern Ireland I think in 1690 and we're
still experiencing the fragmentation and the effect of that
attack today, between the Irish Republican Army and England
and the six colonies of Northern Ireland. I would like to know
if you think the situation in Israel is going to take that long
and if not, can you give me some perspective on why it won't
take that long to resolve the current dilemma in the Middle
Well I hope not and the reason why I think it is not, is that
we don't just look at what we hear on the media about the Palestinian
Israeli conflict, there is a Middle Eastern trend that is emerging
in Israel that sees itself as part of the Middle East region
and sees priority of Israel to normalize as a regional country.
That trend exists, cultural communication and commonalties with
Palestinians will bring room for greater cross cultural communication.
As an anthropologist, I want to ask you how you imagine breaking
through, resolving perhaps, the tribalism on both sides that
seems to be at the heart of this conflict. That is the Gordian
knot that doesn't seem to resolve itself. I remember reading
a letter from an Israeli soldier who has refused to continue
to fight, who talked about on the one hand the principles that
he learned from his Jewish heritage of social justice and so
forth. And on the other hand his tribal identity which reinforces
the notion of the other as subhuman. And the conflict of these
two loyalties in a way, am I loyal to my principles, and you're
proposal comes out of an enlightened sense of what is possible
and what is fair. On the other hand what keeps the conflict
going is these tribal feelings.
the image of the other, the construction of
the other in both societies, the image of the Palestinian in
Israeli culture, the image of the Israeli in Palestinian culture,
all of these are subject to this process of resolving the conflict
and are at the heart of it. How we perceive Israelis and how
our perception of an Israeli actually defines an Israeli and
visa versa: how the construction of the image of the Palestinians
has its role in defining self for the Palestinian. What I through
my research of both Palestinian and Israeli society, I see commonality
and cross-cultural communication, and I also see an attempt
by the government to undermine this [bastard] development because
there is also ideological commitment to the idea of exclusiveness
And the other as enemy.
And the other as enemy and that's what maintain their program,
by having this security threat by the Other and to keep him
an enemy. But there are also developments on the ground, there
is a new generation of Israelis who are called the post-Zionists,
they were first called the New Historians and now they define
themselves as Post-Zionists, who have
a different narrative
of the state of Israel, a different definition of the state
of Israel, critical of the state of Israel being exclusive as
a Jewish state rather than a state for its citizens. That is
more of a Middle Eastern trend and it is effected by the culture
of the Middle East. If we look at Israeli society how it is
developing today, we find in dance they have Middle Eastern
trends, in paintings, in music, even in cinema the young producers
have Middle Eastern effect on their production
in itself shows that the Israeli is developing as a Middle Eastern
So in spite of the conflict there is an intercultural synergy
that we don't see, we don't hear about.
We don't hear about it, exactly, but this debate is going on
in Palestine and in Israel and it is communicated to some level,
not as much as we would like it to be communicated, a cross-cultural
between Palestinians and Israelis.
Ok we go to Michael in Lake Superior.
my concern is that Arafat is the most consistent individual
in this process since its beginning. I think it would be a terrible
mistake on the part of the Palestinians to remove him or dilute
his position in any way. And I think that that's exactly what
the Israelis and the United States want because that would simply
destabilize the position of the Palestinians
OK let's get a response to that.
I think that Arafat has destabilized himself. He does not hold
real support on the ground. When he came to Jenin after the
destruction of the Jenin refugee camp, the media did not report
that the people of Jenin burned the stage that Arafat was supposed
to speak from and he ended up just looking at the camp from
the helicopter. Arafat's option that he talks about, trying
to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, does
not gain today more than 12% in Palestinian politics [sic]?
Who would take his place?
Well that was the question when the PLO was barred from the
Madrid conference and the Palestinian civil institution produced
a collective leadership of 20 that went to Madrid and was representative
of the Palestinian people. A similar process will take place
and can take place where we would have a collective leadership
representative of our civil institutions and that itself can
carry on until there is a structure built around it.
We have a caller who wants to know how you are promoting your
proposal and I'm sure people are interested in engaging in that
process, how would they do that?
Again we need all the help that we can to bring it to discussion.
We are doing forums, we've done a forum at UW, we are doing
a lecture series on the subject of prospects for resolution
in Palestine/Israel next Fall. I'm going to speak about it at
the University of Michigan next Fall, and I'm going to be speaking
about it in Milwaukee hosted by Peace Action
When is that?
And how to people find out more about that, from the website?
From the website
Which is www.ap-agenda.org. I'm Jean Feraca, thank you so much
for being with us, Nasser Abufarha.
Thank you for having me.