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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  January 8, 2018 4:30am-5:01am GMT

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this is bbc news. the headlines... the golden globes film and television award ceremony has taken place in los angeles, with most of the hollywood stars dressed in black in solidarity with victims of sexual harassment and assault. many celebrities attended with gender and racial equality activists to highlight the scale of the problem. a senior bbcjournalist, carrie gracie, has resigned from her post as china editor, citing what she called an indefensible pay gap between men and women. in an open letter, ms gracie accused the corporation of breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure. syria's state—run tv is reporting the army has broken a siege of a military base outside the capital, damascus. hundreds of soldiers were trapped inside after rebels surrounded the base in december, which borders the rebel—held territory of eastern ghouta. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk,
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i'm stephen sackur. donald trump broke with long established diplomatic convention by recognising jerusalem as israel's capital. his recent tweets on the israeli—palestinian conflict have been music to the ears of israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. so what do the palestinians do now? my guest today is mahmoud zahar, co—founder of the islamist movement, hamas, which controls gaza and has been at loggerheads with the palestinian authority in the west bank for more than a decade. are the palestinians staring defeat in the face? theme music playing mahmoud zahar in gaza,
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welcome to hardtalk. most welcome. i have to begin by asking you about your frame of mind, your spirit at the beginning of this new year, 2018. i look at the diplomatic, the political and the economic situation in gaza and i can barely imagine anything more bleak. is that the way you feel too? first of all, i'd like to address that this is one of the most important points in our history. yes, our life is very miserable, not because of bad management from our side but because of the crime committed by the israeli occupation and by the cooperation of the palestinian authority
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with them, and lastly by the impact of the international community — represented mainly by mr trump — against our human rights in the most important shrine in islam, al—aqsa mosque. so, the siege for a long time destroyed our medical, oursocial, economical, life, and nobody is interested about human rights where 2 million palestinian people are living in this area. add to that our miserable life in the west bank, in addition to the very distressed life in the refugee camps outside palestine, whether injordan, especially in lebanon and syria. for this reason, i think it is a big crime against the palestinian human rights. right.
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well, you have packed in a lot of different complaints into that first answer. i want to unpick it if i may, because i want to take a lot of it very seriously. let's start with what you characterised as the maligned international diplomatic intervention. you named donald trump. donald trump, of course, has now said quite clearly that america recognises jerusalem as the capital of israel. this was the response of your leader, hamas leader ismail haniyeh, who said trump's decision is, "no less dangerous than the balfour declaration. we will not allow it to pass. we will not allow trump's declaration to pass, even if we lose our heads in the process." that kind of rhetoric is fine, but what are palestinian people supposed to make of it? because frankly, you look completely helpless in the face of mr trump's decision. i think i disagree with you. because... we are living under occupation
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for many years, since 1948, the occupier what is now called israel. and after that, in 1967. but lastly by our method of self resistance, self defence against the occupation in gaza, we succeeded to eliminate the occupation in gaza. but because of the cooperation between the palestinian authority, which is a big crime actually, with the israeli security sections, they succeed to prevent the intifada in the west bank and jerusalem. but i would remind you about what happened when the israelis decided to make what is called the electronic channels. the people, the disarmed people demonstrated and they succeeded to protect the al—aqsa mosque. and to avoid the division...
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but, mr zahar, if i may interrupt you, you say that you will respond and you've responded in the past. the truth is, since that decision taken by trump in december onjerusalem, we've seen a dozen or so rockets fired from gaza towards israel. the israelis have responded by targeting weapons dumps. the truth is, everything that you talk about in terms of violent military resistance plays into israel's hands. it allows them to characterise you yet again as terrorists, out to kill israeli citizens. what is the use of that in the current climate? first of all, these are settlers. these people left their homeland, from america, from russia, and came. for this reason, we are against foreign people taking our land, violated our rights. i'm speaking here notabout the rockets.
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i'm speaking about the people in the west bank having their right to defend themselves by all means. we started by throwing stones, using knives and lastly, at the time, used guns against the israelis. we have to defend ourselves by all means in the west bank, in order to avoid the expansion of the settlement, not only on jerusalem but in the rest of the west bank. with the language you are using, mr zahar, you're simply making things worse. donald trump in recent days, having taken the decision onjerusalem, has been tweeting about you and the palestinian movement generally. he says, "with the palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make hundreds of millions of dollars a year of payments to them and get no appreciation or respect? " so the stance that you are taking is going to cost you, and more particularly the palestinian people, very dear. if the us cuts off the funding it gives to the un relief
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and works agency, which looks after palestinian refugees in the camps, the situation in gaza is going to go from dire to absolutely intolerable. this language, we are not understanding well. why? because our land, our homeland, our holy places have no price. it has no price. it's our religion, it's our faith and it's our spirits, it is our future. so this language can be addressed. we actually advised them, don't play with america and what is called the international community by this language, because they are going to make pressure, and at that time, you are going to yield, you are going to do denounce your rights in your homeland. that's all very well, mr zahar, but what do you say to the palestinians who rely on money coming from the us
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to keep them alive? that is those who take funding, food and material support from unrra, an agency which is mostly funded by american money, at least the biggest funder is america. this language should be differentiated between the unrra, which is treating the crimes committed against our people in 1948. i'm speaking about the palestinian authority since the agreement. when they believed that, with cooperation, including the security co—operation with the enemy of the palestinian people, they believe that they are going to achieve a west bank, gaza government and a homeland, or what is called a state. we advised them at that time, and we told them it will be a big zero. now we are not getting benefits or even we are getting benefit from the money, but we can't
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actually denounce our right in the holy place, the most important shrine in islam, which is the al—aqsa mosque, because of the american money, because of the donation. yeah, mrzahar... if i may say so, you've spent most of this interview so far criticising the palestinian authority for its relationship with the united states over many years. but i'm a little confused. i mean, you, in hamas, as of october 2017, just a few months ago, are committed to a reconciliation agreement with fatah, which is supposed to lead to a reunification of the administration in gaza and supposed to see fatah and pa, palestinian authority forces take security control in gaza. are you suggesting to me that that deal is now completely off? first of all, i'd like to address that it's not a reconciliation. this is a misleading name, actually.
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we in cairo, in 2011, agreed to have a deal, an agreement in cairo. this agreement includes the most important point, is to run elections for the minister level, for the legislative council level and for the national council level. and we are sure that we are going to win this election. at that time, we are going to change the attitude of this authority. from cooperating with israel, to the degree as we did with israelis in 2005. for this reason, we are not speaking about... we don't have time for a long history lesson but the bottom line is, just a few months ago, you were prepared to talk about a deal with fatah and fatah insisted part of that deal was that you would accept
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palestinian authority security control in gaza and hamas would ultimately have to give up its weapons. are you prepared, in hamas, as part of a national deal, to give up your weapons? again, it's not a national deal, it's between fatah and other palestinian factions. but the palestinian people in the refugee camps, more than 6 million people outside, they do not not share that. i'm speaking about what is the substantial goal of this deal you describe in the last few months. it's not a reconciliation. it was implementation of the agreement in cairo, 2011, this is the most important, the substantial element in this agreement is to run elections. not to be controlled by fatah or to accept the attitude or political attitudes of fatah concerning the israeli issues or the others. so our agreement is to implement what had been agreed in cairo.
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the bottom line is you're not prepared, are you, to give up your weapons—based control of the gaza strip and your continued determination to fire rockets into israel, to dig tunnels under your territory into israeli territory in order to conduct terrorist operations inside israel, you're not prepared to give up any of that, and as a result, fatah and the pa continue to put sanctions on the gaza strip, including blocking the payment of power supplies? your policy is damaging your own people. i'm sorry to hear that from your side. this is the language of israel. we are not terrorists and we are not launching rockets against israel randomly. but we are defending ourselves against the fifth, the phantom 35, the most
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sophisticated weapons belonging to the israelis destroyed our infrastructure bases, destroyed our people. personally, i was a target many times by israel. they killed two sons of mine. one of them was getting a masters degree from salford university, manchester. so you are not speaking about the crimes of israel against our people, about the sanctions, about destroying our infrastructure basis and you are insisting to describe... now, well. hang on... i'm sorry. let me continue my answer. you are speaking as though we are launching rockets against israel as terrorists. we are not terrorists, we are freedom fighters. we are occupied by foreigners, dismissed all through your history. you, as european people, and the americans, particularly european people, are responsible about the disaster of jews, when you 100 times destroyed the existence of the jews in your countries, and dismissed
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these people to our people as a part of the occupation. hang on, mr zahar, i want to ask you a serious question. i know your personal history, i first met you on a south lebanese hillside when you've been deported by the israelis back in the early 1990s. i know your own story including that of your family. but i put this to you. when you tell me that you are conducting this struggle, i say to you, the un envoy to your conflict with israel, a un envoy called nikolay mladenov, he said recently, that the palestinians need to focus on addressing the humanitarian needs of their people in gaza, not on building tunnels and spending money on rockets which they intend to fire into israel. why do you not put the humanitarian needs of your own people first?
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do you believe that your capital can be occupied by foreigners and the price will be humanitarian aid? humanitarian aid is our right, whether we are in fighting as freedom fighters or living in prison. we are here speaking about national interest. 0ur interest is our land. 0ur land was occupied in 19118. 0ur interests is our holy place. al—aqsa mosque, which is the most important shrine in islam, not only for hamas but for every muslim, even the british muslim. so we are speaking about the national interest, not as a beggar looking for money from their area or the other one. we are an occupied area, we have to achieve sovereignty.
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i am asking a simple question, what moral principle justifies netanyahu to come from america while his father is still there, and to occupy our land? whatjustifies lieberman... i guess what i'm asking... to be in our land? i guess what i'm asking is for you to reflect on today's reality. to be honest, a lot of the message you're giving me, i've heard many times over many years from you and fellow leaders of hamas. i'm just wondering whether you are prepared to accept that the current situation might need some fresh thinking on your part? because if you look at what is happening, if you look at the way in which donald trump has broken with diplomatic convention and changed this situation, the dynamic in the middle east conflict. and if you also look at what's happening in israel today with netanyahu appearing to see a green light for new measures, for example the likud party approving the policy of annexing jewish settlements in the west bank. a newjerusalem bill which basically makes it almost impossible to imagine the knesset ever ceding
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territory to the palestinians in jerusalem as part of a peace process. if you take all of these things together, it seems to me you are in a more negative, difficult diplomatic place then you've ever been in before? and i wonder whether you now have to develop a new strategy? 0k, 0k. we are not believing in these diplomatic changes. we are not depending on diplomacy of the enemy of the palestinian people. you are speaking all the time about what was the attitude of the international community? what was the result of the voting order in the security council or in the general assembly? what happened ? neta nyahu is supported by the american president, but the majority of the world are against them. this cannot be an argument to convince us to denounce our rights. this argument should be
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for the palestinian authority when they believe in what is called the peace process. we practiced, as a palestinian people, all the peaceful methods in order to achieve our right as a homeland and now, we see no square metre for the palestinians except gaza, liberated by armed resistance. if i may, mr zahar... i'm sorry, i should continue. we are insisting to defend ourselves by all means, including the armed resistance and the people are believing what you are addressing as the international community, money and the aggression of the settlers and netanyahu policies and trump policies, this will not actually change. people are admiring to sacrifice in order to achieve the homeland. if i may say something,
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today, in this interview, you have sounded very combative. you have sounded like hamas has sounded for many years. but i would just say to you, in may of 2017, your movement came out with a new policy document for the first time, you, in hamas, said you would accept a solution which gave the palestinians a state on the 1967 lines. and it looked as though, with a new leader, mr haniyeh in place, it looked as though hamas was beginning to search for a way to play a role in the peace process. to become, if i may say so, more moderate. have you walked away from that now? are you not interested in being more moderate any more? i'm sorry to understand from you, because we are speaking about establishment of an independent state in the area of the occupied 1967.
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but this is the continuation of argument. but we are not going to denounce a square metre of our land which is palestine. so you still want to destroy israel, is that it? you still want to destroy the state of israel? it is not a matter of destroying israel, it is a matter of liberation of our land, occupied by foreigners. if you think all of that land from the mediterranean to thejordan river is yours, then that is the destruction of the state of israel. this is palestine, occupied 19118. it was occupied in 19118 by the support and blood by the british occupation. for this reason, we are going to achieve our rights in the whole of palestine. mr zahar i want to end just reflecting a little bit on the case of ahed tamimi, the 16—year—old palestinian girl from the west bank village who was videotaped confronting an israeli soldier, slapping him and kicking him because she believed he had been
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responsible for violence against fellow villagers including members of their family. the video has gone viral, palestinians now seem to regard her as a hero of sorts. and this is what diana buttu, my former palestinian authority adviser said. she said, "perhaps the reason that israel sees the tamimis as a threat, and the 16—year—old is in detention, is because she and the family represents what the current palestinian leadership is not. that is defiant, active and unwilling to remain silent." is the resistance in palestine now in the hands of ordinary people, young people particularly, not with veteran leaders like you? first of all, the tamimi family are not members of hamas. but this is the attitude of every muslim everywhere. whether they are in palestine, occupied 19118, or occupied 1967. the tamimifamily are
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resisting themselves, they are resisting their right in palestine, in holy places. this is a very symbolic manner. we are almost out of time but the key is whether you regard that resistance is having to be violent or whether it can simply be civil disobedience. which is it? we practice all methods. since the occupation, we practice civil defence. self defence. in the first intifada, we first thought we'd distributed leaflets and the result was more israeli aggression from the occupation, to the degree of arresting thousands and thousands in the israeli camp. and the people were forced at that time to use violence, throwing stones, and after that,
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using knives, and after that, when they had succeeded to have guns, they used guns. and by these guns, israel escaped from gaza, so this is actually very symbolic. because failure of the peaceful demonstrations, against the israeli occupation, against the israeli aggression against the is american aggression, will force the palestinian people, including families like the tamimi family, in order to make self defence, by using what you describe as violence. this is not violence. all right... this is one of the methods to have self defence. mr zahar, we have to end there. i thank you very much indeed forjoining me from gaza. hello there. it's been a cold, wintry—feeling weekend and that wintry chill will continue at least into the first part of the new working week. this was how things were looking sunday afternoon in cumbria. you can see the snow lying on the hills there, blue skies. monday morning starts on that cold and frosty night. there will be some sunshine,
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similar to sunday, but it will be more confined to the northern half of the country. further south, what we've got monday morning is this cloud moving its way gradually further northwards. but temperatures to start the day, minus double digits across rural parts of scotland. very cold at 8am across scotland, northern ireland and northern england. watch out for the odd icy stretch perhaps, perhaps a few patches of mist around too. further south, a cloudier morning to come. anywhere south of birmingham we're likely to see a bit of a grey morning, some hill fog possible across the south—west and this cloud could bring a few spots of drizzle and perhaps a few snow grains too, that's small grains of frozen precipitation gradually edging their way northwards but many places staying dry, feeling quite chilly where you are stuck under the cloud in the south. lots more sunshine and lighter winds too for northern england, northern ireland and scotland. so it's a north—south split to the day on monday with temperatures at around 2—5 degrees in the sunshine in the north. slightly milder further south, 4—7, but feeling colder with the breeze, the cloud and the drizzle as well. through the course of monday night then, we'll see that cloud thickening and moving northwards
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across all of the country, bringing with it a lot of low cloud, hill fog, mistand murk and also some drizzle. the risk of some ice as well as that drizzle falls onto very cold surfaces. so tuesday morning starts on a grey, cold and an icy note. through the day things will start to slowly improve as the winds pick up a bit from the west, so that cloud should just break up a little bit later on in the day. there will be a little bit of drizzle here and there ahead of this next band of wet weather moving into the west later on, and the winds are going to be picking up too. top temperatures by the time we get to tuesday, between around about 3—7 degrees for most places but we could just see double digits returning to the south—west later in the day. so this frontal system will eventually move in tuesday night into wednesday, bringing a spell of rain. it bumps into an area of high pressure so the front doesn't get across the country very quickly. in fact, it's going to linger for a time on wednesday. could bring some spells of rain across eastern parts of the country. from the west, a return to sunnier skies, with sunshine
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and a few showers. temperatures back up to around 5—10, so milder through the middle part of the week after that very icy start. so to summarise the week ahead for you, it is a cold start, a lot of frost first thing. some rain through the middle part of the week and then eventually things are going to turn less cold later in the week. bye for now. this is the briefing. i'm sally bundock. our top story: the black carpet, a sombre look for this year's golden globes, as hollywood tries to raise awareness about sexual harassment. a senior bbcjournalist stands down, accusing the broadcaster of a "secretive and illegal" pay culture. reports from syria say the army have ended a siege at a military base outside the capital damascus. france's emmanuel macron arrives in china in a bid to forge stronger economic ties between the eu and the world's second biggest economy.
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i'll be speaking to a leading french economist to get his take on whether mr macron will be successful in his push for greater
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