NEWS

Assassination threats are nothing new

The Sharon government has repeatedly threatened to act against you, even to kill you. Do you think that they might really try to do something like that, after the assassinations of Hamas leaders Sheik Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi? [Looking at another report] I see now that another nine buildings have been demolished by the Israeli army in Gaza. As to your question, it won’t be the first time they have tried something like that. An Israeli shell went through that window opposite us while I and my colleague Nabil Abu Rudeina were in the next office. Even my bedroom upstairs was hit. Besides, you can see for yourself the general destruction of the Mukata headquarters, even though we have rebuilt two buildings and a bridge. By the way, one of the greatest acts of destruction here in Ramallah was that of our Scientific Commission, a very important commission, which oversaw 44 scientific aid missions in Africa (doctors, teachers, engineers and horticulturalists). I was saying that it won’t be the first time I’ve faced similar threats. Do you remember the siege of Beirut by the Israelis? You should remember it because when we left Beirut with our fighters, our first stop was at the port of Piraeus, where your prime minister, Andreas Papandreou himself, was waiting for us. He helped us a great deal during that difficult time. Sharon himself later admitted that he had tried to kill me 13 times during the siege of Beirut. I also remind you that in 1985 my headquarters in Tunisia came under aerial bombardment but I happened not to be there that evening. Luckily, I’d had to stay in the capital because we had some foreign guests and we stayed up late. Again in Tunisia in 1988, when they killed my comrade and brother Abu Jihad [co-founder of Fatah], another team of commandos attacked a place where I used to sleep. I wasn’t there at the time, and that’s how it is that I am here with you now.