The State of Israel has been celebrating its 30th anniversary over the last week. It?
SV: Visnews reporter Asif Khan (left) with PLO spokesman Tewfiq Khalil.
SV & CU: Khalil during interview. (5 SHOTS)
KHAN:"How do the Palestinians feel about this 30th anniversary of Israel?"
KHALIL:"Obviously, it is not a case that we feel happy that Israel is celebrating its 30th anniversary, but on the other hand I think that more than at any time in the past the Palestinians feel that they are more united and determined to achieved their goals and that their struggle is a long-term struggle and that in this struggle 30 years have passed and maybe many more will pass before we achieve our goals, but we are certain that, in the end we will achieve our rights."
KHAN:"Israel's Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan says that your only aim is to destroy the state of Israel and to replace it with an Arab-Palestinian state. What is your reaction to that?"
KHALIL:"Well I say two things Firstly Mr. Dayan is wrong. Our goal is the establishment of a secular, democratic state in the whole of Palestine, a state for Arabs and Jews, a state that is not based on discrimination of any kind, whether racial or religious, so our goal is not the establishment of a purely Arab state,but the establishment of a state in which all sects and religions can co-exist. And then, when Mr. Dayan uses the word destroy, I think it is misleading to look at it in those terms because that suggests that we would like to kill and murder. Of course, if there was a way of achieving our rights peacefully, of achieving a secular, democratic state peacefully, we would jump at this, but unfortunately the Zionists refuse, on principle to accept the idea of a state in which Arab and Jews are equal and therefore we are forced, in our struggle, not to destroy the state of Israel as people, but so much as to make sure that in our struggle we are fighting against Zionism and it is the eradication of Zionism that we are aiming at."
KHAN:"What do you think of the peace initiative launched in Israel?"
KHALIL:"Well I think the peace movement in Israel shows there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the Begin government, but of course, the peace movement has not crystallised into something its demands have not crystallised into something very concrete. All they are saying, it seems to me, is that Begin has not responded adequately to the peace negotiations that are going on. What this exactly means, what kind of adequate response they have in mind is not clear. If the peace movement would adopt the position of supporting the rights of the Palestinians, then obviously we would welcome this, but short of that I don't see the peace movement as being particularly significant."
REPORTER: ASIF KHAN
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The State of Israel has been celebrating its 30th anniversary over the last week. It came into existence on May 14th 1948 when the British mandate over Palestine was brought to an end. Four times since its foundation, Israel has been to war with Arab neighbours and its struggle to survive continues. The Palestinians meanwhile continued their fight to establish a homeland on the same site as the state of Israel. The Palestinian struggle has been a long one and is now spearheaded by the forces of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. In London, Visnews reporter Asif Khan talked to a PLO spokesman Mr. Tewfiq Khalil.