Jakarta, 21 Jumadil Akhir 1434/1 May 2013 (MINA) – Egyptian Ambassador to Indonesia, Bahaa Dessouki, in an exclusive interview with Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)’s reporters in Jakarta, Monday (29/4), called on Muslims everywhere to unite to help Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation.
Here is the complete interview:
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA): What should be done by Muslim to free Palestine and Al Aqsa?
Egyptian Ambassador: Palestine and Al-Aqsa are the main priority issues of Egyptian government. To liberate Al-Aqsa and Palestine, Muslims must unite in the name of Islam. We must abandon all clothes and differences between us.
Currently Egypt is doing all efforts to unite the Palestinian factions. We mediate reconciliations between Hamas and Fatah to form a Palestinian national government and they have agreed to form it by holding elections.
Muslims wherever they are, must go hand-in-hand in this regard. Al Aqsa is not only belongs to the Palestinians alone, but it belongs to Muslims wherever they are.
MINA: What are the recent developments of Hamas-Fatah reconciliation which is being mediated by Egyptian government?
The Ambassador: The last condition of the reconciliation is that Khaled Meshaal as the leader of Hamas political bureau had contacted the President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also the leader of Fatah and they had agreed to carry out the elections and the formation of new Palestinian government.
Both sides (Hamas-Fatah) have agreed to form a new government that represents the union between Hamas and Fatah by holding national elections.
In the election that they will elect a president, parliament and the Palestinian national council.
The Egyptian government would oversee it and we all expect it to be a step forward for the better future of Palestinians.
We know that Hamas has held internal election and they pointed Meshaal as the leader again. But Hamas is now better than before and they show good attention to implement Palestinian national elections.
MINA: A few days ago, Israel attacked Gaza again. Israel violated peace treaty between Israel-Hamas. What do you think?
The Ambassador: Actually, the agreement is just an agreement negotiated in talks. There is no written agreement. In these negotiations, Hamas and Israel agreed that if one party receives an attack, then they should do the same backlash.
It means that, if Hamas attacked first, then Israel should do the same backlash, and vice versa, if Israel attacked first, then Hamas should counter attacked it.
If now there is a clash between Hamas and Israel, it means one of the attack against any of the parties and events a few days ago, is not violation to the agreement. Like that’s deal.
The Egyptian government is to mediate for the interests of all Palestinians, not to represent one Palestinian faction or organization.
MINA: On the issue of Egyptian government closure of the tunnels that was causing the prices of goods in Gaza increased rapidly, how do you explain it ?
The Ambassador: Yes, we assume that the tunnels were endangering Egypt’s security. As your country (Indonesia) will also perform a preventive measure if something can endanger the state security.
In connection with the issue, we have opened the gate of Rafah and allow humanitarian convoys to enter through that gate. We have done it since the beginning of the turn from President Hosni Mubarak to President Mohamed Mursi until now. So, about the distribution of goods to Gaza, there is no problem.
The Egyptian government today also urges Israel to keep opening the gate of Kareem Abu Salem in southern Gaza. So, the flow of goods from West Bank can enter into Gaza. Right now, the gate is still under Israeli control. Hopefully the more gates will be open for Gaza; the access of goods into Gaza would be easier and become cheaper.
MINA: A few days ago, the U.S. minister of defense visited Egypt. The issue was they want to sell weapons to Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt. What do you think?
The Ambassador: Actually in military, Egypt establishes cooperative relations with some countries including the Middle East countries and the US as well as the other Western countries and Russia. Egyptian weapons are actually from various countries.
Sale and purchase of weapons for the purposes of security and military needs of a country is a fair and normal practice for a country. Egypt also do that as well as other countries.
There is no tendency whatsoever from the Egyptian government with the cooperation. We do it according to the procedure and there is no purpose to the political tendency of any country, including U.S., Russia, and so on.
MINA: Regarding the issue of Syria, what steps have been done by the Egyptian government to resolve the conflict?
The Ambassador: The Egyptian government stressed the solving of the conflict peacefully, without violence and military means.
There are some countries in the Middle East region that have important roles to end the tragedy in Syria.
That’s why it needs a deep cooperation with Iran, one of the countries that should take part to create solutions in the Syrian conflict. With the end of bloodshed in Syria, it will open a better future of democracy and unity in Syria.
The ongoing war in Syria would lead to a sharp deterioration in the situations of the entire Middle East region.
Based on data from United Nation, the crisis in Syria has been starting since March 2011, after a huge wave of protests demanding Assad to step down. Since then, a number of opposition groups waging war against the Syrian military. Until now, the death toll of civilians, oppositions, and the Syrian military has been more than 70 thousand people.
MINA: What is your message to Muslims in Indonesia particularly and all over the world in general, in order to help the plight of Palestinian people and liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque ?
The Ambassador: I know Indonesian people have a big concern for Palestinian struggle for independence and the liberation of Al Aqsa Mosque. Many activities and events in solidarity with Palestinians struggle for independence and the liberation of Al Aqsa have been held in Indonesia.
We need to cooperate each other in order to be a big force to have more influencial power to the international community to pressure Israel to go for the two state solutions with Jerussalem as the capital city of Palestine.
Right now, the only one occupation in the world just happens in Palestine and Zionist Israel is the occupier. I’m sure with the unity, Palestine and Al Aqsa will be liberated. Al Aqsa does not belong to Palestinian only but belongs to Muslims everywhere.
MINA: About the economic crisis occurred in Egypt, how can the Egyptian government tackle it ?
The Ambassador: As a country in a reformation process, it is normal that economic conditions have not been so good yet.
Egypt is now in the process of transition to the better government, with the changing leaders from Mubarak to Mursi.
As just happened in Indonesia 15 years ago, the economic condition in Indonesia was also in unstable condition. Indonesia took at least 5 years to recover their economic condition.
Egypt is now undergoing in two-year process. We believe in the next few years our economy will rise soon. We also coordinate with international economic institutions to help and restore our economy. (L/P04/P01/P02/P015/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)