Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- In the first comment by the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo on the case of “Hezbollah in Egypt” – especially after reports surfaced that two Fatah members were arrested in the case along with other Palestinians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Syrians, and Sudanese – Dr Barakat al-Farra, the Palestinian ambassador on duty and Fatah representative in Egypt, strongly criticized the Lebanese Hezbollah organization and its Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. Al-Farra accused them of supporting one Palestinian faction that enjoys Iranian support at the expense of other Palestinian factions thus leading to more division among the Palestinian factions.
Al-Farra said that the Hezbollah case – that the Egyptian prosecution is investigating – constitutes interference by Hezbollah in Palestinian affairs and a violation of state sovereignty. Answering a question by Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Farra added: “It was we (the Fatah movement) that taught resistance to Hezbollah. It was we that trained its cadres and it was we that gave it arms during our presence in Lebanon. Hezbollah should not forget this and we will not allow it to outbid us”. Answering a question on whether the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo is following the case of the Hezbollah organization in Egypt and the between five and seven Palestinian defendants, Al-Farra said that so far, the embassy has not been following the case except through media reports. He added, “We still do not have information that we can talk about. The embassy has not yet made any request to the Egyptian public prosecutor or the investigating authorities. It has not yet delegated a lawyer to follow up on the investigation”. Asked why the embassy has not done so, Al-Farra replied: “The reasons are that the issue of the Hezbollah case in Egypt is not yet clear at all. It is still in the hands of the Egyptian judiciary. We will see how it will be dealt with but first the details should become clear”. Al-Farra was asked whether the embassy will appoint an attorney to follow up on the case of the Palestinian defendants involved, especially since this case is likely to be referred to a military or civilian court within two weeks. He said: “So far, we cannot say anything. We are following the news until we receive instructions from the embassy that is waiting for instructions from the Palestinian Authority. We will abide by any instructions we receive”.
Al-Farra did not confirm or deny whether the arrested individuals include two members of Fatah. He said: “They may be from Fatah or from Hamas; we do not distinguish between this or that because, at the end of the day, they are Palestinians. We do not discriminate between one faction and another”. Al-Farra was asked how the Palestinian Embassy views the status of the defendants from the 1948 Palestinians that have been living in Egypt for decades and whether they are considered Palestinian citizens that follow the Palestinian Authority or the Palestinian government. He replied: “Anyone who is Palestinian follows the PLO that is in charge of Palestinians wherever they maybe. As for the Palestinian Authority, it is in charge of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip”. Al-Farra went on to comment on Hassan Nasrallah’s statements that Sami Shihab, the principal defendant in the case of the Hezbollah organization in Egypt, is a member of the party. He said: “Nasrallah’s admission consists of intervention in a domestic affair of a big country like Egypt”. Al-Farra was asked on the divergence in Arab viewpoints concerned with the Palestinian issue between calls to resist against occupation in general and calls for respect for the sovereignty of every state. He replied: “First of all, resistance is the right of any nation that is under occupation using various ways and means. However, there are rules to everything. One cannot smuggle arms from one place to the other and say this is resistance. This is not resistance. Any resistance should be approved by the people. The people that resist should agree on the resistance. A small or large faction cannot drag a whole people the way it wishes”.
Barakat al-Farra added: “The principle is that everyone supports the resistance, which is a right. But a resistance should be legislated and should be agreed upon. It should be in the interest of the goal that is liberation and the protection of the people from occupation”. Al-Farra went onto wonder: “What has Hezbollah’s smuggling of arms to Hamas to do with resistance? Is this resistance? This is not resistance. The stockpiling of arms and other things and money inside tunnels and outside tunnels and the establishment of cells in a second country, these have nothing to do with resistance”. Al-Farra went on to say: “There are ways and means to support the resistance without resorting to such interventions. Furthermore, Hezbollah the Golan (Plateau) open to it. Why does it not deal with the resistance in the Golan? Why does it not deal with the resistance in southern Lebanon, the Shaba Farms, and Kafr Shuba? Or is the relationship between Hamas and Iran that drove it to support Hamas? We are not against Hezbollah but against wrong policies and against intervention in Palestinian affairs. In this case, Hezbollah is interfering in Palestinian affairs. Neither Hezbollah nor anyone else is allowed to interfere in our affairs because we do not interfere in the affairs of others. We do not support one party at the expense of another. Hezbollah and Iran are supporting Hamas; they are not supporting the Palestinian people”.
Al-Farra went on to say: “It is Fatah that created the resistance; it is Fatah that started the resistance. No one can practice brinkmanship over Fatah. About 60 percent of the 12,000 detainees in Israeli jails are from Fatah. Nevertheless, we have not meddled in the affairs of any Arab country although we were capable of bringing our weapons and our resources in our own ways without intervention. Unfortunately, however, supporting one faction at the expense of other factions constitutes interference in the domestic affairs of a country. Hezbollah cannot deny the fact that the Hezbollah commander that Israel assassinated last year (Imad Mughniyeh) was a member of Fatah and that all the Hezbollah cadres were trained by Fatah and took their arms from Fatah. Neither Nasrallah nor anyone else can deny this”. Dr Al-Farra went on to wonder: “They now do not like Fatah despite all the above? Do they now like Hamas because it is with Iran and other than Iran? Do they want to teach us resistance after all this? Hezbollah cannot teach us resistance; we taught it resistance. Where was Hezbollah when we were resisting? It did not exist in the first place. And now Hezbollah is pitting the world against itself under the pretext of resistance and support for the resistance. Talking about the resistance in such a way consists of uttering good intentions while concealing bad intentions. It is outward compassion but inward misery”.