Not on the cost of the Syrian people

An activist of Abnaa el Balad speaks on the impact of the Arab revolution
by Wilhelm Langthaler
Sayed Rian is a mechanical engineer and militant of the anti-Zionist organisation within the territory occupied in 1948 which today forms Israel. We met him in Cairo to where he travelled like us to explore the Egyptian popular movement which brought down Mubarak.

What is the impact of the Arab rebellion on the Palestinian movement within Israel?

It is a great push and gives spirit and hope to the movement. It is a powerful inspiration which is already helping the resistance to grow. Furthermore it will strengthen the more determined, more radical forces whether secular or Islamic.

What do you think about the reconciliation Hamas-Fatah?

Some effects are positive, but not all. First Israel cannot continue to punish the resistance in co-operation with a Palestinian organisation in the same way as before. Second: Israel said not to negotiate with terrorists meaning Hamas. As Fatah is now in co-operation with Hamas, Israel already announced to stop talking to Fatah as well. Shimon Perez called the situation very sad. For the resistance this is better as it pushes people into struggle. Third: on the international scale it will no more be so easy to isolate Hamas as terrorist.

It there an effect on the movement for one democratic state?

No Palestinian wants the two states. It is only out of realpolitik that some accepted the project, because they feel weak and have no hope. This changed with the revolution. People recognise that there is a real possibility to fight Israel. If the movement succeeds also in Syria this will push us further ahead. So the movement is growing but it will take time.

What about the Jewish component of the movement?

The Israeli Jewish people at large will continue to shift to the right. They do not want to accept that they are loosing power. So they become more radical against Muslim Arabs. Some even say that Israel should re-occupy the entire West Bank. Given the crisis of the Zionist left (which always was a contradiction in itself) some of them are starting to think and join in. But this will remain a tiny minority.

What you think of the events in Syria?

The Assad regime claims to be with the resistance. But actually it is a difference between being with the resistance and resisting. In all those years the border with Israel was calm. The fall of the regime will not weaken the resistance for the vast majority of the Syrian people are with the resistance. In any case I as a Palestinian do not want to be the reason for the punishment of the Syrian people. Maybe Hezbollah will be temporarily weakened but this is clearly subordinated to the tremendous push a victory of the movement would have on the entire Arab world. On the long run also the Lebanese resistance would benefit from a Syrian revolution.

Many say that there will be a sectarian bloodbath like in Iraq?

The revolution in Syria has started not because Assad is Allawi but because he is a dictator. Confessional differences might be there but are neither dominant nor significant for the movement. Things are not like in Iraq. Many people got a wrong idea about the Muslim Brotherhood. They will not persecute Christians or leftists. See how they move here in Egypt.

May 2, 2011