Headlines, Middle East & North Africa

PALESTINE-UAE: Lecture on Intifada

Att.Editors: The following item is by the United Arab Emirates news agency (WAM)

ABU DHABI, Nov 20 2002 (IPS) - Dr. Saud Abdul Zaher was hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow-up (ZCCF) to speak on Intifada and the September 11 events.

Speaking on the Palestinian uprising, Dr. Saud Abdul Zaher said that when Intifada erupted two years ago on September 28, the general world situation did not indicate that it would follow the current trend. Even President Bill Clinton wanted to end his tenure in a way that would leave some imprints on the policies of external relations and in particular in the Middle East, according to a ZCCF press release.

During his tenure a number of urgent meetings between Israel and Palestinians were arranged under the auspices of the President himself and members of his administration who, trapping the Palestinian delegation, tried to coerce Arafat to sign a disconnected document that neither provided any lasting or any practical solution of the most important issue.

The Palestinian people did not approve of it. As a consequence Arafat could not affix his signature or declare his agreement. Thus the second Camp David Summit failed. In spite of that the negotiations between Israelis and Palestinian officials continued in Taba and the USA.

The lecturer surveyed the subsequent events in Israel and Palestine and their meetings, resulting in igniting the first spark of the Intifada with Sharon’s visit to Al Aqsa Mosque.

Dr. Saud Abdul Zaher compared the circumstances that gave rise to Intifada in 2000 with that of 1987, and said that the circumstances of the second Intifada were almost similar to the first one. In the first five months, the number of martyrs has exceeded the number of martyrs in a whole year during the first Intifada. The Palestinian authority, realizing the plot, avoided countering the Palestinian people as required by the Oslo Accord. As a result many of its cadres like Marwan Al Barghouti and others cooperated with the people.

He added that in spite of the international situation that led to signing of the Oslo Accord, and new developments that occurred in the West Bank and Gaza, with the presence of the Palestinian leadership, Israel had not forgotten the lessons it learned during the first Intifada and strived to portray the Palestinian uprising as acts of terrorism that were linked to the September 11 events.

Israel thoroughly exploited the Jewish lobby to distort the image of the Palestinian leadership. It refused to offer any concessions and budge from its hard-line position on the pretext that it would amount to destroying peace.

Dr. Saud Abdul Zaher stressed that Israel succeeded in its policy of distorting the Arab image, which resulted in the European-US bias in favor of Israel. Ariel Sharon and the Israeli leadership exploited the Palestinian Intifada, terming it as acts of war waged by Palestinians against the Israeli presence. They also depicted suicidal attacks as acts of terrorism.

He added September 11 events provided a great opportunity for Sharon to achieve his objectives by using violence and state terrorism against the Palestinian people and their leaders who were branded as terrorists like Bin Laden.

Concluding his speech Dr. Saud Abdul Zaher called upon all Arabs to realize their duties and perform their obligations and appealed to them to extend all possible help and support to their brethren in the occupied lands. He urged them to create new ways and means to resist the enemy and counter its ill designs.

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