‘Palestinian leaders are hypocrites’-Academic
Prof. Abdul Sattar Kassem is unquestionably one of the most courageous and outspoken intellectual I have ever interviewed from occupied Palestine
Palestinians would have defeated the Zionists and acquired freedom, but this has been hindered by the fact that some Palestinian leaders are collaborating with the Israeli regime. This is according to Abdul Sattar Kassem, a professor of political science at An-Najah National University in Nablus Palestine. “Some of the Palestinian leaders have let down their people by collaborating with Israelis. These leaders have become anti Palestine,” the academic said on Tuesday during an interview conducted to highlight the Nakba Day, (day of catastrophe) which Palestinians marked on May 14.
He said ordinary Palestinians were determined to fight Israel’s brutal occupation and get freedom at all costs, despite the fact that some Palestinian leaders were collaborating with their enemy. Professor Kassem has witnessed first hand the brutal Israeli occupation in Palestine. For 26 years, the academic has been blocked by the Israeli authorities from leaving Palestine.
The academic also spent two years in Israeli jails and eight months in a Palestinian prison under Arafat’s regime. “I was injured by four bullets shot by men recruited by the Palestinian authorities. But I am always here, with my pen, to help my people to recover their rights and try to get a change in the Arab world,” he related in an interview.
According to Kassem, the problem with Palestinian leadership was indicative of the Arab problem where dictatorial Arab regimes must disappear, because they defend foreign interests and not the interests of their citizens. “Most of these dictatorial regimes are collaborating with Israel, counteracting the rights of their own people as in Palestine and Lebanon. These regimes are the puppets of certain powers, more particularly of the United States,” he stated.
Meanwhile, in Gaza, Dr Haidar Eid, associate professor in the Department of English Literature, at Al-Aqsa University, reported that many people gathered in the city center to celebrate the Nakba. “People moved through the city and it took them about three hours before they handed over the memorandum to United Nations officials in Gaza.”
When asked if it was true that the Arab spring has amplified the Palestinian cause, he said it was not true “Initially when Mubarak’s regime crumbled, we thought we would get a breathing space inform of support from Egypt, but it has not happened’,” he said, adding that Palestinians still lack basic necessities due to the Israeli blockade.
Yawm an-Nakba is an Arabic word meaning “Day of the Catastrophe”. This day is generally commemorated on 15 May, a date for Israeli Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut). For the Palestinians it is an annual day of commemoration of the displacement that followed the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948.