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PA Prime Minister says US Biden administration is “not an ally of the Palestinian people,” while also promising to solve the “sacred cause” of paying terrorists' salaries

Video posted on the Facebook page of PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh; the video shows an interview of Shtayyeh with the London-based Al-Araby TV





PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh: “Our national project is connected to elections. The Palestinian people’s democratic life is connected [to elections]. Elections are not the only picture of democracy in any society, but they are among the most important reflections of democracy in any society… Elections are not foreign to the Palestinian people. We have held student elections, municipal elections, and chamber of commerce elections, and we have held national elections three times in the period of the PA – in 1996, 2005, and 2006. The most important thing for me is that 53% of the Palestinian people have not participated in any election process in the past – and it is important that people express their opinion at the ballot boxes and that there be true political participation.”


Al-Araby TV interviewer: “As [PA] minister of interior, are there guarantees for holding clean and transparent elections? In other words, if the Hamas Movement wants to begin its election campaign in the West Bank, is this allowed?”


Muhammad Shtayyeh: “Of course. People are coming to the elections. We are accepting all of this. Therefore, time will be allocated to all of the registered factions on official [PA] TV [and they will be able to hold] rallies, but in the framework of what is possible given the health situation in the country…


Israel has said that it is committed to implementing the [Oslo] Accords that were signed. One of the most important clauses in the accords that were signed is that the Palestinian people on the Palestinian lands – the West Bank including Jerusalem – will participate both in submitting candidacies and in voting. And therefore, we want- In another few days we will have a meeting with all the consuls of the European states, and we will ask them to pressure Israel to allow our people in Jerusalem to participate.”


Interviewer: “Do you know what the Israeli government’s opinion is regarding [PA] elections being held in Jerusalem?”


Muhammad Shtayyeh: “As of now we don’t know what the Israeli side’s opinion is. Frankly, we are not asking the Israelis when we want to defend democracy, but we will demand that Israel facilitate the holding of elections.”


Interviewer: “But its position was clear in 2019, and therefore the elections were postponed when it refused to hold them in Jerusalem.”


Muhammad Shtayyeh: “All in all, in 2019 the problem was not only with the Israeli side. Actually, in 2019 we sent the Israelis a letter that we want to hold elections and they did not respond. But in the end, after a number of states intervened, Israel said that they have- and there was a different opinion regarding this matter.


We must not be hostages. Palestinian democracy need not be a hostage of the mood of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu or of the Israeli government.”


Interviewer: “I want to present you with a question that the Palestinian street is asking today: Will [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas be Fatah’s candidate in the presidential elections?”


Muhammad Shtayyeh: President Mahmoud Abbas is the Fatah candidate for the presidency, and I think that we have a consensus on this matter. In general, the president represents this legitimacy, and we are leaving the matter with him. But in general, for me personally, the president is my candidate… and I think that all my brothers in the [Fatah] Central Committee think the same. But in the end, this depends on the president himself, if he wants it. We hope so. If he wants it, he’s welcome to it. Allah willing, he will want it.”


Interviewer: “The prisoners’ cause: At the beginning you refused to accept the tax money [as long as it had been] deducted or cut by the Israeli side, or the Israeli occupation, but afterwards you accepted the tax money in full despite Israel’s insistence on the deduction (refers to Israel’s Anti “Pay-for-Slay” Law to deduct PA terror salaries; see note below -Ed.). There are those who would say, or would ask the PA and the government: Have you abandoned the prisoners, and what are the alternative solutions for them?”


Muhammad Shtayyeh: “Madam, you know and all the people watching your show know for certain that we are fully committed. We have not abandoned the prisoners, and we will not abandon the prisoners. The prisoners’ cause is a sacred cause. They have rights, and we must protect this. That is on the one hand. On the other hand, Israel and the US imposed sanctions on us due to our commitment to the prisoners. In any case we will protect the sanctity of this cause. The prisoners’ cause has two parts – one is political, which is with the Americans, the Israelis, and so on, and if the connections with the Americans develop this will require a discussion. But the most important thing is that there are financial rights for the prisoners. We will remain committed to them in every way.”


Interviewer: “You have spoken about establishing a bank that may-”


Muhammad Shtayyeh: "The bank is not for the prisoners. The bank is not for the prisoners. The bank is for development and investment. Transferring the problem from the commercial banks to a governmental bank will not solve the problem. What we want is to solve the problem in its political aspect. From our perspective the prisoners’ issue is a national honor, honor of the struggle. In general, we- There is Israeli incitement that the issue of paying the salaries- Okay, we are paying canteen [allowances] to the prisoners who are in the prisons. If we are late by a day or two the Israelis start to say: Why didn’t you pay the canteen [allowances] of [the prisoners]-”


Interviewer: “It will be deducted.”


Muhammad Shtayyeh: “It will be deducted and the like. In any case, in the clause [regarding] the prisoners, we are fully committed towards our brothers. They have rights, and we have an obligation towards them, and we will fulfill it…


We know that the American administrations, and I noted this to you in a previous answer, the American administrations in general, whether Democratic or Republican, relate to Israel on a basis of ‘If it didn’t exist we would have had to invent it.’


That’s how it is regarding [the American] administrations, because Israel is an American interest in the Middle East, an American interest. Israel’s existence is an American interest. Therefore, we are not relying-

And I have said, the American administration is not an ally of the Palestinian people, it has interests. If it would examine its interests carefully, it may see matters differently. We are not relying on them. What did they say? They said: We want to open the PLO office [in Washington.] We want to restore the money. We want to open a consulate… What we are relying on are the words of this man [US President Joe Biden] in press interviews, in his election platform, and in the Democratic party platform. This is what we are saying: We do not rely much on- But that is what the party is saying, and that is what the elected president has said, and we are taking these things seriously.”






Israel's Anti "Pay-for-Slay" Law

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