Dr. Mustafa Barghouti on the Struggle for Palestine’s Future Amid Gaza Genocide

While the U.S. continues to provide ironclad support to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, Palestinian political figures are pushing for national unity.



The Israeli government is on the brink of a long-feared military offensive against the town of Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinian civilians have taken shelter from the Israeli campaign in Gaza. An attack on Rafah could trigger the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the war so far, including a potential ethnic cleansing of Gaza as Palestinians are pushed into Egypt. This week on Intercepted, hosts Jeremy Scahill and Murtaza Hussain discuss the current state of the war as well as the ongoing Palestinian campaign for political unity with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, a physician and general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative. Barghouti speaks about the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the role of the U.S. in facilitating the war, and his own political future and that of the Palestinian national movement in the wake of this crisis.

[Intercepted theme music]

Jeremy Scahill: Welcome to Intercepted. I’m Jeremy Scahill.

Murtaza Hussain: And I’m Murtaza Hussain.

JS: Well, Murtaza, today we have a lot of news to discuss, and we’re really honored to have a very special guest, so we’re not going to do much by way of introduction. Just to say, the context is that President Joe Biden, while eating an ice cream cone on Monday evening, indicated that he believes there may be a temporary ceasefire — is what he’s calling it — a temporary pause in Israel’s military attacks against Gaza, though Hamas is indicating that they don’t see a clear path yet for that. We’ll see what happens. Benjamin Netanyahu continues to threaten a full siege, an invasion of Rafah. The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate inside of Gaza.

And we go, now, to Dr. Mustafa Barghouti. He is the General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative. That’s a Palestinian political party. Dr. Barghouti is also a physician, and we thank him so much for joining us here on Intercepted.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti: Glad to be with you. Thank you.

JS: Dr. Barghouti, let’s start with just your initial reaction to the rumblings that we’re hearing about the potential for a deal. Joe Biden — who is facing a reelection campaign, and has a lot of heat being put on him for his full-blown support for Israel — is indicating that there may be some agreement that Israel would pause its military attacks against Gaza during the holy month of Ramadan. Hamas says that they have a different understanding of what’s going on.

What is your sense of what we’re seeing right now?

MB: What we see is a shameful position from the side of the United States of America, which is providing full support to Israel to continue these massacres in Gaza. And why temporary ceasefire? Why not full and complete ceasefire? Why not permanent ceasefire? How many more thousands of children should die before the United States of America changes its position and votes in the Security Council of the United Nations in favor of a permanent ceasefire? United States is the only country that is obstructing, and continues to obstruct that particular resolution for a complete and permanent ceasefire.

So far, 37,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza. 70 percent of them are children and women, more than 11,000 children. And more than 70,000 have been injured, many of whom will die because Israel is preventing any medical care to them, and any proper hospital care.

So that’s about 4.5 percent of the population of Gaza that have been killed or injured by Israeli bombardment, and that is a huge number. Had it happened in the United States of America, you would be talking about 12 million people injured or killed in four months of time. That is unacceptable.

And, on top of that, Israel now is killing Palestinians [by] combining three processes: the bombardment with airstrikes, with artillery, with gunshots; the hunger, putting people in a situation of severe deprivation from food, water, electricity, everything. And the people are starving; 700,000 people are now starving in the north of Gaza, and Gaza City as well.

And, in addition to that, they’ve created horrible conditions on the ground, killing people with diseases. Again, there is more than 710,000 people who are sick with severe infections, with outbreaks of infections, with respiratory infections. Many of them are not getting any treatment. And that summarizes the whole situation.

So, for God’s sake, for how long Mr. Biden and his government will continue to support the continuation of this terrible war? And what he spoke about, about an agreement on Monday, was not supported, neither by Israel nor Hamas nor anybody else, because Israel is trying to impose its own conditions.

And, in my opinion, Netanyahu is using the threats of attacking Rafah, which would cause the worst kind of massacre, to sabotage and undermine the negotiations that are happening about a temporary ceasefire. And then he will use the failure of these negotiations as an excuse to attack Rafah, and try to conduct what he dreamed about and what he was dreaming about all this war, which is the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians out of Gaza.

MH: Dr. Barghouti, you mentioned Rafah. There are currently more than a million Palestinians from across Gaza sheltered there at the moment in very, very dire conditions and, as you said, living under the threat of an imminent potential Israeli military operation.

Can you talk a bit about the conditions there and what we’re seeing at the moment? And we mentioned that it could result in Netanyahu achieving his dream of ethnic cleansing. How do you think he may like to achieve that? Or, where is his dream of sending these million-plus Palestinians in the near future?

MB: Well, let me say that I am a volunteer with a very important Palestinian medical organization called Palestinian Medical Relief Society, and we have 30 medical teams now working in Gaza under most difficult conditions. They work in the north, in the middle, in the center, as well as in the south, including in Rafah, where we have many medical teams working there.

The situation is awful. We have almost 1.3 million people clustered in less than 55 square kilometers. That’s like 30,000 people per square kilometer. Or, maybe you could say 36,000 per square mile. And if Israel starts bombarding there in Rafah, this will be the largest massacre ever.

From the very beginning of this war, Netanyahu declared his position, which is to ethnically cleanse all of Gaza. He wanted to cleanse Gaza completely from Palestinians and then annex it to Israel. His military spokesperson, Richard Hecht, in the very first two days of this attack said that every Palestinian in Gaza must evict and go to Sinai, evict their home and go to Sinai.

That has been the plan, always. Only because Palestinians are steadfast and determined to stay there and not become refugees again, as they were in 1948. And, because up till now, also, Egypt is taking a firm stand, the Israelis have not been able to push people out of Gaza. But, if they start bombarding Rafah, that risk is going to be there, of course.

People are stuck in the streets; some with tents, some without tents. The lucky people are staying in shelters of UNRWA, which frequently are bombarded. And, even in these shelters, the conditions are horrifying. Every room — which is no more than 16 square meters — will have something like 60 to 80 people in it. Every 600 people have one latrine. There is a shower for every 2,400 people.

That gives you an idea about the situation, but many are in tents in the streets. There are 50,000 pregnant women there who cannot give birth in safe spaces. There are 64,000 breastfeeding women who don’t have food, don’t have enough nutrients, don’t have vitamins. It’s a disaster at every level you can think about. And yet, yes, they can be bombarded by Israel at any moment.

The Israeli bombardment is totally indiscriminate. They don’t care about the fact that these people are civilians, and about the fact that, of the 104,000 Palestinians killed or injured, 70 percent are women and children.

By the way, I am a physician and medical doctor, and I never thought in my life that, in the 21st century, my colleagues would call me and say they had to amputate a leg of a person without anesthesia, or they had to operate on a child without anesthetics, because Israel is preventing anesthetics from reaching people. My heart was broken listening to patients with cancer. 10,000 of them are in Gaza, and they tell me they have no treatment whatsoever. And they are dying, literally.

There are many sad stories. I mean, like the story of Hind. Recently, I gave a lecture in Florence, and I said, what’s the difference between Anne Frank, the famous Jewish person who was killed by Nazis in Germany, and she was in Holland? What’s the difference between Nazi occupiers killing Anna Frank and the story of Hind Rajab, who was a Palestinian child, six years old, stuck in an ambulance with six of her family members killed by Israeli tanks, screaming for help, calling ambulances?

The ambulance people responded to her, and tried to calm her. And, for hours, she was begging for them to come. And then they sent an ambulance, and they coordinated with the Israeli army that there will be an ambulance coming there. What happened? Hind was shot and killed, and the ambulance was completely destroyed. The driver was killed. The first aid provider was killed.

What’s the difference between Anna Frank and Hind Rajab? They are the same: two children persecuted and killed by fascists. It doesn’t matter whether the fascist is German, or Israeli, or of any religion or any country, the behavior is the same behavior. A behavior that is fascist, that kills children, and has no respect to human life.

JS: Dr. Barghouti, even though the siege of Gaza is as intense as ever, the death toll continues to rise, the suffering — as you’ve been eloquently laying out — is so acute among the surviving population, and now facing the threat of even more intense military action, there is this big focus in international media about what people call a day-after scenario. And there’s a lot of discussion about what a future would look like for all the Palestinian people that are currently divided by Israel; the Palestinians who live in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem in Gaza.

As a political figure and leader, I wanted to ask you if you are in touch with any European governments, or the U.S. Government. Has anyone reached out to you from Washington or from the capitals of European nations to discuss your perspective on what should happen going forward for the Palestinian people in their quest for a fully recognized independent state.

MB: We are in good touch with the many leaders in the region, and Arab leaders as well as European leaders, many of them come and visit us. Most recently, I had meetings with the prime minister of Holland, the foreign minister of Holland, the deputy prime minister of Luxembourg, and many others. And we are in touch with most European countries.

Yesterday we had a very good meeting with the king of Jordan. And, before that, I had a meeting with the prime minister of Kuwait, and the emir of Qatar, etc. Except the Americans, they never contact us. And all these delegations that come, I don’t know whom they meet, but they don’t even try to listen to us.

But let me tell you something. People talk about the day after, because they don’t want to speak about the day-to-day, about what’s happening today. And this whole monologue about the day after started very early in this attack.

In the very first two weeks of this horrible war— Now, it’s more than four months, and still the day we are in is still going on, and the killing is still going on. No way can you speak about anything constructive before stopping this war, before having a true, complete, and permanent ceasefire. What they talk about, who should govern Gaza, who should— Netanyahu is very clear.

Netanyahu does not want any Palestinian ruling of Gaza. He wants to reoccupy it completely. He wants to bring in or create a bunch of collaborators to work for him as subservient to his occupation, so that he will not have any responsibility for the civil needs of the occupied people, as international law indicates. And that’s what he used to say. No, it shouldn’t be Fatah-istan or Hamas-istan. And I responded to him by saying, but it will not be Netanyahu-stan, either.

So, the question here is as follows: who should govern Palestinians? Palestinians, of course. And I don’t understand why the United States of America, which advocates democracy everywhere, and represents itself as the biggest advocate of democracy and democratic elections, except when it comes to Palestine. Then, our government should be imposed on us, which has to be agreed with the United States of America and with Israel.

As Biden said, he wants a Palestinian government that is acceptable to Israel. Would he have said, also, that an Israeli government should be acceptable to Palestinians? No, God forbid, of course not. So, instead of all this talk about who should be there, and who should govern what, they should accept our right of self-determination, and our right to choose our own leaders in our own way. And that is through democratic free elections, like you do in the United States, or like they do in Britain, or any other country.

We are entitled to democracy and entitled to choose our leaders as we want. And, of course, the way to achieve that day of elections goes through the formation of an immediate unified Palestinian national leadership, and an establishment of an interim national unity government, or national-consensus government, accepted by everybody, so that it can function and work. And I call it “interim” because it has to prepare for democratic elections, eventually.

We want our right to choose our leaders, a right that we have been deprived from since 2006. And all this war that you see today could have been easily avoided, had we had elections in 2021. All the polls then showed that no single party in Palestine would get a majority, neither Fatah nor Hamas. And we would have had a pluralistic democratic system, and one government for both West Bank and Gaza. And maybe breaking the siege on Gaza, and maybe avoiding this war.

But, as long as the United States keeps talking about imposing on us who should rule us, this will not work. We need democracy, we need our democratic right to choose our leaders. And we need to end this terrible Israeli occupation, which has been the longest in modern history; 57 years of occupation is enough, and 75 years of displacement, of no less than 70 percent of the people of Palestine, is enough.

Apartheid, which Israel is conducting, and the system of racial discrimination will not provide solutions. Only a system where we are all equal — we and the Israelis — have equal rights, only then can [we] really have true peace and justice.

JS: One quick follow-up on that then. You, in the past, have had considerable public support for your candidacy, or for the possibility that you could potentially be head of state of an independent and unified Palestine.

I wanted to ask you about that, and if you would consider — if the situation does change to a point — where you see a path to having free and fair elections, if you would try to stand to become the head of state of Palestine. And, second to that, a lot of discussion in recent days about Marwan Barghouti, the resistance leader who is serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison. There’s talk that maybe he could be released in an exchange of captives between Hamas and the Israeli government.

And there are comparisons at times to the plight of Nelson Mandela, and Marwan Barghouti has shifted some of his rhetoric as he’s been in prison, and still remains a very influential figure.

So, a tale of two Barghoutis. Let’s start with you, though. Would you consider running for the presidency of a future in independent and unified Palestine?

MB: If I am needed, I am ready to do so. I already did it in 2005. I ran against Abbas, I came second in these elections. If we have elections tomorrow, I think the result will be completely different. And I feel the support of the people, which I appreciate so much.

But it’s not about me. It’s about what system we will have, and whether there will be true, free, and democratic elections. I spent all my life trying to serve our people in every possible way I could. Whatever is required from me, I will do.

Regarding Marwan: Marwan is a friend, and a colleague, and a relative. And Marwan is a freedom fighter, he’s not a terrorist. And he is a political leader, one of the many political leaders who are imprisoned in Israel. I think he should be released, I hope he will be released in exchange of prisoners. He can play an important role in improving the situation of Fatah, because he’s Fatah. And he can be a very good bridge between us, and Fatah, and other parties like Hamas, to have a national unity structure.

We’ll see what happens. The most important thing is that they get freed now. And then we will agree about who should run, and who has the best chances, and who has the best program.

But, at the end of the day, I want to see democratic free elections, and I accept the results, whatever they are. But we cannot be ruled by a group of people who are mobilizing the authority, and who have killed our Palestinian parliament, legislative council, destroyed the democratic system with the absence of separation of powers. That has to end. And the only way to end it is to have a free democratic system.

And, by the way, I always said that democracy is a precondition for peace. For so many years, Israelis wanted leaders that they can control, or leaders that are weak, or leaders that are divided, so they can be easily manipulated. I say: that did not bring peace. Only Palestinian leaders who are elected by their own people and trusted by their own people can negotiate a fair deal between us and the Israelis. Not a deal like Oslo, which was imposed on us, using all the weaknesses of the Palestinian side.

MH: Dr. Barghouti, at the moment, Israel is facing a degree of international pressure and isolation that it hasn’t faced in many, many years, if ever. Currently, there’s a genocide case at the International Court of Justice based on Israel’s conduct in the war in Gaza. And, also, a tremendous outpouring of criticism and ostracism from countries in the global South, and even countries like Russia and China, which are at odds with the United States. It seems like the only country, really, that’s still in Israel’s corner uncritically, or the most strenuous country is the United States.

I’m curious, from your perspective, if the U.S. was not in the equation, how might the situation be different? We see these vetoes at the U.N., and the U.S. is Israel’s major military supplier, and so forth. The fact that there is not peace and there’s not a pathway to peace, what role has the U.S. played in that, and how is the U.S. currently obstructing even a humanitarian solution in the short term for Palestinians in Gaza?

MB: United States is playing a very dangerous game — and, by the way, contradicted to the feeling, in my opinion, of the majority of the American public. Because we’ve also seen not only shifts in many European countries, but in the United States in particular, and especially among the younger generation, including young Jewish people, who frequently demonstrate and say not in my name.

And I believe that Biden is about to lose elections, mainly or partially because of his position in this war, supporting the aggression on Palestinian people. Not only by talks, not only by repeating the lies of Netanyahu, but also by sending American troops. There are 2000 troops participating with Israel, and American advisers, etc.

United States made itself an obstacle to peace in this case, and the 154 countries in the United Nations voted for permanent ceasefire. In the United Nations Security Council, 13 countries voted for that. One country abstained — which is Britain — and the United States obstructed by using the veto. And that is a very destructive approach by the United States government.

They are allowing this genocide to continue. It’s not just genocide; it’s three war crimes at the same time, happening in parallel. The war crime of genocide, the war crime of collective punishment, and the war crime of ethnic cleansing. And this is sending the world a very dangerous message. The message is, “We and the world don’t live anymore by international law. We live by the law, by the rules of the jungle.”

That is very dangerous, if you consider what could be the consequences of such a situation, or what other powerful countries will conclude from that. It would mean that any powerful country in Asia or Southeast Asia could invade another country, because it will be justified. The amount of hypocrisy and double standard when it comes to comparing the American and European position in Ukraine with that in Palestine is very obvious.

It’s an unbelievable kind of double standard. Everybody is in pilgrimage to Zelensky and Ukraine, because they say he has an occupied area, that Russia is occupying parts of Ukraine. They imposed on Russia more than 11,000 sanctions in less than two months. The prosecutor of the criminal court was in Ukraine in the second month, and did an investigation and everything. In our case, they have pilgrimage to Netanyahu, to the occupier, and the United States is supplying him with the largest air bridge ever in the region, with tens of thousands of explosives.

You know, Israel threw on Gaza no less than 69,000 tons of explosives. That is about 30 kilograms of dynamite for each man, woman, and child in Gaza. This is larger than the total power of both nuclear bombs thrown on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in the Second World War. That is unacceptable.

Yet, the United States continues to support Israel, the occupier, the country that conducts ethnic cleansing, and conducts the worst kind of racist nationalistic policy. And, more than that, that advocates Jewish supremacy against Palestinians.

In my opinion, the United States is hurting its reputation. Mr. Biden has hurt his own reputation personally but, also, he hurt the reputation of the presidency of the United States by this behavior. And what we need is an immediate change. And the change should be immediate support of permanent ceasefire, immediate pressure on Israel to take out its forces from Gaza, and to allow the supplies to reach people. Allow milk, allow clean water, allow food, allow vitamins, allow medications, allow surgical equipment, and anesthetics. This is what we need.

If the United States wants, it can do that. The question is whether it has the will to do it or not.

JS: Dr. Barghouti, I want to ask you about Hamas, and the portrayal. In most of the major Western media outlets, Hamas is painted as a monolith. It’s painted entirely through the lens of the al-Qassam brigades, the military operations, the attacks against Israel on October 7th. But, of course, Hamas is much more than just al-Qassam; it’s also a political movement that engages in civil society that stood for democratic elections in 2006. And I think that it does a real disservice to the publics of the United States and Europe to oversimplify and generalize when talking about various Palestinian political factions.

But, having said that, you also had a decision that was made by leaders within Hamas to conduct what they called Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on October 7th. And I’m wondering what insight you can offer into whether the leaders of Hamas fully understood the wrath that would come down upon the people of Gaza in the aftermath. And if you, personally, as a Palestinian political leader, think that those attacks were unwise, or if they shattered a paradigm that is the only chance Palestine has to move forward in the face of Israeli apartheid, aggression, and scorched-earth bombings.

MB: Look, I want to tell you something that people, probably, your audience doesn’t know. Hamas originated from the Muslim Brother Movement. Till 1987 — we were occupied already for 20 years by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza, and we already had almost 40 years of ethnic cleansing — till 1987, Muslim Brothers did not participate in the struggle against Israeli occupation. They were 100 percent occupied with social services and religious activities.

It was the pressure of occupation that changed the mentality of the young members in Muslim Brothers, and watching, also, all other national forces struggling against occupation. And that’s how they changed, and created Hamas in 1987, ‘88.

If Hamas disappears tomorrow, and you continue to have the injustice, and the oppression, and the persecution, and the killing, there will be another force. Maybe, I don’t know what it will be called. The cause is the occupation, the cause is the oppression, the cause is apartheid. Hamas is a result, not the cause.

And the history did not start on the 7th of October. Of course, you know my positions, I’m a person who advocates nonviolence all my life. I believe in it, I know it’s effective. I even managed to convince Hamas with nonviolence, and they committed to it from 2014 after the war to 2019.

What did they get? In the peaceful marches they were organizing — and we did too — was more killing and more shooting. One of my best colleagues, my young colleagues, Rouzan al-Najjar, was 21 years old, who was treating injured people during demonstrations, and a sniper shot her in the heart and killed her. I was shot twice by an Israeli sniper while trying to treat an injured person in 1996. I still carry 35 shrapnels in my back.

So, even when they used peaceful resistance and nonviolent resistance, we were always encountered with severe violence, and nobody cared. I didn’t see The New York Times write about that, or The Washington Post reporting these peaceful demonstrations that Palestinians did.

So, history did not start on the 7th of October. Before 7th of October, in particular, Israel was doing the following things: expanding settlements in the West Bank at an unprecedented level, attacking Palestinians in Jerusalem in a vicious way, destroying and trying to prevent Palestinians from having free prayer in Al-Aqsa Mosque, and trying to change the nature of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Judaizing Al-Aqsa Mosque, and attacking Christian priests in Jerusalem, spitting on them, by Israeli soldiers and settlers, preventing Muslims and Christians, Palestinian Muslims and Christians from free prayer in Jerusalem.

And, on top of that, Netanyahu was appearing everywhere, saying he will normalize relations with Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia. And, this way, he will end the Palestinian issue. He will liquidate it completely.

And proudly he stood in the General Assembly of the United Nations, carrying the map of the “new Middle East,” as he described it, two weeks before the 7th of October. The map included all the Arab countries that he normalized or was going to normalize with in green. And then, in the heart of that new Middle East, Israel in blue, annexing all of the West Bank, annexing all of the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Syrian Heights as well. This was the message that Netanyahu was sending. And more than that, now, information is leaking that he was also planning a huge, massive attack on many of Hamas’ leaders to assassinate them.

This was the situation before the 7th of October. But, more than that, you have to go deeper and see, what did we have. The United Nations, when it recognized Israel in 1948 or ‘49, it conditioned its recognition with the implementation of two U.N. General Assembly resolutions: 181, which said that Palestine would be divided in two countries, Israel with 54 percent, Palestine with 44 percent. And the 194 resolution, which said that all Palestinians evicted from their homelands — which were 70 percent of the Palestinian people — would be allowed to go back home. These were the two conditions. Was any of that implemented? Of course, none.

Even when Palestinian leadership made a huge compromise accepting the Oslo agreement with the promise of a Palestinian little, mini-state, in less than 22 percent of the land of historic Palestine, which is less than half of what we should have had according to the U.N. resolution that gave Israel its legitimacy, even that was rejected by Netanyahu, who built his whole career on killing that peace opportunity, and aggravating the Israeli public against the Israeli leader who signed the agreement — Yitzhak Rabin — until he was assassinated.

This is history. These are the things that led to the 7th of October. And still, I say we shouldn’t get stuck in that day. We should move forward, and we should ask the question, how can we have peace for both Palestinians and Israelis? How can we have justice for both Palestinians and Israelis? How can we save lives of Palestinians and Israelis? Only through one way, which is ending occupation, ending apartheid, ending this system of the racial discrimination, and stop the killing of the people.

MH: Dr. Barghouti, you mentioned that the Israeli government — and I think the U.S. has supported this — has had this idea of going around the Palestinian issue, and going to regional countries, the Gulf Arab countries and others, and making deals to normalize relations with Israel. And then, thereby, treating the Palestinian issue as something of the past, or liquidated, as Mr. Netanyahu had alluded to.

Can you talk a bit about why this is proven to be an unrealistic idea, or why this idea is seemingly not possible to achieve successfully? Because I know, traveling the region, speaking to people, there’s tremendous anger on a popular level about what’s happening in Palestine. And I think that leaders cannot be totally insensible to that, even if they’re not democratic.

I was curious on your take on the Abraham Accords idea, and what the future is of that sort of approach, of trying to ignore Palestine and simply dealing with Riyadh or the Emirates.

MB: Abraham Accords were anti-peace efforts, because they promised that, once the Abraham Accords happened, it would get us closer to peace. Did they? Or, we had the 7th of October.

Of course, the problem: Israel was not in war with Bahrain, Israel was not in war with the Emirates. There is no dispute between these two countries and Israel, except for one thing: that their people support the Palestinian rights. But when you make peace with the Emirates and Bahrain at the expense of the Palestinian people, you are trying to avoid the issue, the main problem.

It’s like a student who goes to give an exam, and then he gets a difficult question — which, in this case, would be peace between Israel and Palestinians — and, instead of solving the question he got in the exam, he creates another question, an easy question, and answers it. Of course, he can do that, but eventually he will get zero in the exam, and he will not pass.

That’s exactly what Israel and the United States tried to do. To deviate the attention from the Palestinian issue, and normalize or make peace with these countries that had no problem with Israel in the first place.

So, if Mexico and the United States have a problem with borders, you don’t solve it by creating a solution between United States and Canada. That’s exactly what they did with these Abraham Accords.

JS: I wanted to ask you about the situation in the West Bank right now, and also with the Palestinian Authority. Of course, Monday, you had the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority resign. That government is in crisis, Mahmoud Abbas is deeply, deeply unpopular. I mean, there were ideas floated that, somehow, Abbas is going to ride in on Israeli or American tanks into Gaza. I mean, he’s already deeply, deeply unpopular in the West Bank.

And what we’ve seen happening over these past four months is thousands upon thousands of Palestinians being arrested or worse, disappeared or killed, in the West Bank. It seems like Netanyahu is using the situation in Gaza to now really intensify the attacks against the West Bank to expand the illegal settlements, and using these semi-governmental forces as settlers that the government is arming and empowering to go and take Palestinian land, to kill Palestinian people.

What is going to happen in the West Bank? What are you hearing from your friends, your family, your colleagues, about how people see the coming months and the struggle for their freedom, their dignity, their rights? Given that Abbas is there, deeply unpopular, Netanyahu waging an intensification of the war, and Gaza very much unresolved. What is going to happen in the West Bank, Dr. Barghouti?

MB: First of all, let me tell you why Netanyahu wants to continue this war forever. Because this man knows that once the war stops, he will be accused of the failure on the 7th of October, the huge failure of the Israeli army, intelligence, and political leadership. He will also be judged for mismanagement of this war against Palestinians. And he will be tried, because he’s accused of four cases of corruption. He’s indicted with four cases of corruption, which will probably take him to jail.

So, this man wants to continue this war forever. Or, as long as he can, so that he can maneuver and escape going to prison. That’s why he’s a very dangerous element now. In the West Bank, the Israeli army killed more than 400 people since the 7th of October, about 80 of them are children. They intensify their activity in settlements. They have already evicted 30 communities in the West Bank from their homes, conducting ethnic cleansing, and they conducted more than 8,000 new arrests against the people there.

And, practically, the Israeli army reoccupied all of the West Bank. The Palestinian authority is done. I mean, it’s an authority without authority. It’s over. The Israeli army is everywhere, including Ramallah.

And so, Netanyahu is practically repeating what he dreamt about, which is reoccupation of the West Bank, destroying any perspective of peace, reoccupation of Gaza as well. And it continues.

And the crimes continue to happen in the West Bank. Besides the Israeli army, we have 750,000 armed settlers who are behaving as terrorists, conducting terror attacks, burning houses, burning cars, shooting people. And the worst thing is that even the prisoners in Israeli jails are badly tortured. And, up till now, we lost ten of them under the Israeli torture in Israeli prisons. So, it’s a very bad situation, also, in the West Bank.

The way out of this, in response to what you spoke about the Palestinian Authority, is very simple. We want immediate formation of national unity leadership, where everybody would be together, where we can discuss together the plans for the future, how to stop Netanyahu from conducting the ethnic cleansing. And what we need is an interim national unity government that is acceptable to all parties, whether they participate or not. But interim, because eventually it has to plan for free democratic elections.

Due to the Israeli war crimes in Gaza we have increased our coverage from five to six days a week. We do not have the funds to do this, but felt that it was the only right thing to do. So if you have not already donated for this year, please do so now. To donate please go HERE.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.