An Interview With Ahmed Saadat (9 September 2002)
The interview below was conducted in the Palestinian prison in Jericho on 9 September 2002. Ahmed Saadat, who as yet has been neither convicted nor charged, has been held there since 1 May, along with four PFLP militants and Fuad Shubeiki, who is accused by the Israelis of being implicated in the ‘Karine A’ arms shipment.
Ahmed Saadat is Secretary-General of the PFLP. He succeeded Abu Ali Mustapha, who was assassinated by the Israeli army in Ramallah on 27 August 2001. U.S. and Israeli authorities accuse him of having organised the execution of [Rehavam] Zeevi, a minister of the Sharon government known for his extreme position in favour of the mass expulsion of the Palestinians. Saadat was arrested by the Palestinian Authority on 15 January 2002, and detained in the Presidential compound in Ramallah.
On 29 March the Israeli Army imposed a siege on Arafat’s presidential palace. From the very beginning, they made the lifting of the siege conditional on the fate of the PFLP militants.
On 27 April, a Palestinian military tribunal, sitting in the presidential compound besieged by the Israeli Army, sentenced four PFLP militants to 18, 12, 8 and one year(s) respectively for killing Zeevi. In the early evening of 1 May, the six men were taken to Jericho, under the terms of an agreement imposed by the USA, which left them guarded by Palestinian jailers who were themselves under U.S.-British control. During the night, the Israeli Army withdrew from the approaches to the Presidential palace. On 3 June, the Palestinian High the Court of Justice ordered Saadat’s release.
Saadat has remained in prison ever since.
Q: Why are you here?
Q: A few days ago, Marwan Barghouthi’s trial began, and received a lot of media coverage. Why do you think that he is talked about so much, while silence surrounds you and your comrades?
Q: On the outside, there is a lot of talk about uniting the Palestinian factions. How does that appear to you, who are locked up with the agreement of the Palestinian Authority?
Q: How would you assess the current situation?
Q: What strategy would today allow for the rebuilding of a strong Palestinian movement?
Q: We’ve talked about strategy. What about a political plan?