AMMAN: Palestinian political figure Nasser Al-Qudwa has said that he has “crossed the river” and will not reverse his plans to run on a list outside his own Fatah movement in the country’s elections.
When Arab News asked whether he will continue his “Democratic Assembly” if imprisoned leader Marwan Barghouti does not support him, he said: “There is no turning back.”
Al-Qudwa added: “There is a natural meeting between this movement and that of the imprisoned leader Marwan Barghouti, including that he leads this movement.
“Sure, the results might be different if he doesn’t support it, but we are moving in a direction that makes it difficult to retreat.
“We have crossed the river and there is no turning back.”
In his first-ever press conference that was open to journalists, the former Palestine envoy to the UN and foreign minister warned of the difficulties facing Palestinians. He said that there are normal duties during a national liberation movement and a different set following the end of a conflict.
“We have a mix of both, while national liberation is our priority. We need to deal with day-to-day issues that are the needs of our people.
“We have to deal with issues such as health, education and good governance.”
Al-Qudwa said that Israel’s actions in the region represent greed and an unwillingness to compromise.
“They want everything. They are not even saying ‘we just want the settlements or the Jordan valley.’ They want everything.”
Governments and international bodies retracting their support for Palestinian statehood is another cause for concern, he added.
“Initially, they were saying we support the two-state solution. Now Europe and others are saying we support a negotiated two-state solution.”
Al-Qudwa said that negotiations should be restricted to dealings between the occupied Palestinian state and Israel, and not on whether there should be a Palestinian state.
He also rejected out of hand the idea of a single state, warning that it represents a dangerous notion of “Greater Israel.”
Al-Qudwa said that he has not taken any positions in the Palestinian government for 15 years, and that he has no plans to take any money from outside Palestinian circles.
“What we can raise from ordinary people and those who are well-to-do is enough, especially if there is no one stealing the money,” he said.
Despite taking a different track, Al-Qudwa has been careful to avoid burning bridges with other longtime Palestinian political figures.
“I am still a member of Fatah,” he said.
He also refused to address rumors that he was threatened several times during his last meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“It was a closed meeting and what happens in closed meetings stays in those meetings.”
However, he did say that the position of the president was “not very democratic.”
While Al-Qudwa is counting on the support of fellow Fatah central committee member Marwan Barghouti, he rejected any cooperation with the UAE-based renegade Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan.
“It is difficult to be with Dahlan, because the Palestinian people have rejected the position of the UAE,” he said in reference to the recent normalization pact that the UAE signed with Israel.
Palestinian legislative elections are due to take place on May 22, followed two months later by presidential elections, and then the convening of the PLO’s National Council at the end of summer.