Just Vision Skip to main content

Interview Archives

Between 2004 and 2010, Just Vision interviewed more than 80 Palestinian and Israeli grassroots leaders. The interviews in this archive represent a fraction of the civic leaders working in the field at a particular moment in time, and aim to provide audiences access to a range of perspectives and approaches.


Browse Interviews

Sami Awad

Inspired by his uncle Mubarak Awad's leadership in Palestinian nonviolent resistance, Sami Awad founded the Holy Land Trust in 1998 to promote Palestinian nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. Holy Land Trust initiatives include training workshops, participation in local nonviolent campaigns, and seeking increased media coverage for nonviolent resistance. Holy Land Trust also runs summer programs in which internationals live with host families in Bethlehem, study Arabic and volunteer with Palestinian organizations.Follow @Sami_Awad //

  • Could you please introduce yourself and your work and tell us how you became who you are today?

    My name is Sami Awad. I am the director of the Holy Land Trust. I was born in the United States to Palestinian parents but have lived in Palestine from the age of six months. I attended the Talita Kumi School in Beit Jala and went to university in the US where I received a B.A in Political Science and a Masters in International Relations. I returned to Palestine in 1996. In 1998, I founded the Holy Land Trust. The main reason for my involvement in this field is my uncle Mubarak Awad, who returned to Palestine from the US in 1984 and founded the The Palestinian Center for the Study of Nonviolence. As a youth I used to frequently take part in activities organized by my uncle. With the outbreak of the First Intifada in 1987 it became clear that the message he tried to convey to the Palestinian people was received seriously and that non-violent struggle was being practiced extensively. In 1988 Mubarak Awad was arrested. This was a turning point in my life. I no longer focused solely on doing good work, but began questioning why the other side was afraid of nonviolence and why the other side was resisting nonviolence. Those questions made me devote my life to studies and work in this field. The deportation of Mubarak Awad totally changed the course of my life, and I steered my studies towards political and international studies. When I returned in 1996, I arrived in the midst of work on the Oslo Agreement and the peace process. The Palestinian losses due to its implementation were clearly visible. There was a widespread feeling of dissatisfaction among many Palestinian groups. The flaws in the peace process at the time were reflected in the writings of Edward Said, who argued that it would not last or should be changed. We, for our part, got involved in the peace process and negotiations, with the intention of resuming the non-violent struggle alongside peace talks. Our aim was to signal to the Occupation that despite our support of the peace process we still rejected actions carried out by Israel, especially Palestinian land confiscation and settlement building, which doubled during the Oslo period. For these reasons, I began work with the organization and returned to being active in the nonviolent struggle despite the on-going peace talks. In the year 2000, with the outbreak of the Second Intifada, our organization played a major role, along with many other organizations that supported a nonviolent struggle like the first intifada. There were many reasons why the second intifada strayed from this course. Our work continued only partially until 2002, when some began contemplating a shift in focus from a violent struggle to non-violent and communal activities. In 2002 we, as Palestinians, underwent some experiences at the hand of the occupation, such as incursions and the massacres of Jenin and Nablus, the surrounding of President Arafat's compound in Ramallah and the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. These experiences were a wake up call for Palestinians, and clarified that we could not achieve our aims through an armed struggle. They led to a more serious and realistic consideration of non-violent struggle. This is especially true for this year and last.1 We have begun to leave behind previous objections that hindered our activities, such as the reluctance to "normalize" contacts with the other side or negotiate with the enemy, along with other debates that accompanied the notion of non-violence. All this is no longer present. We have reached a level of awareness according to which our work is called "nonviolent resistance".

    • 1. Just Vision's interview with Sami Awad was conducted on May 31, 2007.

  • Could you please tell us more about The Holy Land Trust and your activities?

    The Holy Land Trust is an organization whose identity and goal is to empower society for the future. We have noticed since we began work in 1998, and especially recently, that the Palestinian people lack a vision for the future. In our political life we tend to focus more on the past. We are very proud of our past, but unfortunately we continue to live in it. We continuously complain about the present and everything happening around us, and have no plans for the future. Our society has accustomed itself to a certain manner of thinking and is reluctant to change it. We can't wait for someone to come and liberate us or give us a state; we need to fight to achieve such things. If you were to ask a Palestinian today about the present situation, the answer would probably be that we are living through the hardest and most difficult times to date, and the situation cannot possibly get any worse. If you were to ask the same question again after six months, you would probably get the same answer. These complaints and pessimism about the current situation is what our organization aims to overcome. The method we use is non-violence, because non-violence is not only a means of resistance, but of individual empowerment and thus the empowerment of society to take initiative. We work at achieving this through training sessions, women's employment guidance activities, along with the rest of our activities. In addition to empowering the community, we also take part in the struggle that is not only political, but social and economic as well. On the social level we work on consolidating the idea of non-violence within the society, while on the economic level our aim is to become totally independent from Israel. Our ambition is to realize this independence with a serious economic boycott that will mean more than just words. In our attempts to build a healthy society and establish a democratic foundation, our organization tries to tackle two major challenges facing the Palestinian people. The first is the occupation and the means of resisting it. The second challenge, which I think most people are oblivious to, is what will take place after the occupation is over. Many people think that the problem is the occupation only, but if the occupation were to end tomorrow I think we would face grave internal problems. We won't wake up to find the democratic state we dreamed of that is based on the freedom of the individual, of women and of expression. I think we should begin sewing the seeds of the future now. So when we talk about non-violence as a form of resistance we also mean it as a way to build our society. There is a third challenge we face within the organization, which is the international challenge. In addition to the great Palestinian efforts needed to end the occupation, we are also in need of international pressure on Israel. There are two projects we are working on that aim to achieve this. The first is by travel and knowledge, through which we encourage foreign delegations visiting Palestine and the Holy Land to visit in an untraditional way. When Western tourists visit the city of Bethlehem, they typically go to the Church of the Nativity after going through the military checkpoint and leave after fifteen minutes, without knowing anything about us and our lives, and without knowing that they have just visited an Arab area. In many cases they are taught to fear the Arabs whose home they are visiting, and are instructed not to talk to any of them. We want tourists to enter the Holy Land and visit civil organizations. We want them to become familiar with the political reality, the refugee camps and the Wall that is now being built. More importantly, we want them to become active within their communities, churches and governments when they return home. We don't want them to feel sorry for us and describe us as poor unfortunates, but rather to carry out the message of what they have seen here to their own churches, institutions and governments in order to support the Palestinian cause. We call this project ‘alternative' or ‘political' tourism. Our second project concerns the media. We face many challenges in the Western media, which is usually supportive of Israel, leading to wider coverage of the Israeli point of view. Often this causes complaints among Palestinians. Many of these cases are justified, but as an organization we ask ourselves how we can deal with the Western media in an effective way. This eventually led us to found the Palestinian News Network in 1998, which was the first independent, non-governmental and non-profit network registered in Palestine. The network's objective is to reveal the truth about what is happening in Palestine to the world, and shed light on issues not covered in the Western media. It focuses on issues concerning non-violent resistance, social movements or celebrations taking place in Palestine in an attempt to highlight the human side of things. We have received a great deal of positive response to our work not only from individuals, but from international news agencies with whom we have built a relationship of honesty and trust. In many cases these agencies use our reports as sources for their coverage.

  • What are your activities alongside demonstrations and who takes part in them?

    As an organization that believes in the non-violent struggle, we are obliged to work with people who share our beliefs. Otherwise our existence would be meaningless. We have training sessions for people living in villages facing the Separation Wall construction and settlements. After the sessions are over, we hope to be prepared and willing stand beside them. There is a big difference between theory and practice when it comes to facing the occupation and settlers in real life. We don't organize demonstrations ourselves, but we take part in activities organized by other organizations. They invite us to participate in their training sessions and activities. Currently we focus our efforts on villages south of Bethlehem. These villages number around nine, and are facing the loss of nearly seventy percent of their agricultural land to the Separation Wall.1 We participate in the activities that take place there every Friday on a weekly basis, and sometimes two or three times a week. I can proudly state that these activities are an ideal for non-violent resistance. The expression, motivation and commitment involved in them are remarkable. Not a single means of violence is put to use during these activities, thus no reason is given to the occupation forces to suppress us. Usually no such reason is needed by the occupation, but still we try to deny then any excuse. We manage to achieve this wonderfully in this project.

    • 1. For more statistics and analysis see "Separation Barrier." Btselem. 9 January 2009. http://www.btselem.org/English/Separation_Barrier/

  • Is there any Israeli participation?

    Yes, there is Israeli as well as international participation. There are a number of Israeli organizations that answer invitations from the villages themselves. Through our training sessions, each location enjoys its own freedom in setting its policy, thus if a village wants Israeli participation, we respect that. Some organizations oppose any Israeli participation, and set their absence as a condition for their own participation, but as a matter of fact I think many of them are just looking for a reason not to show up. We participate regardless of whether Israelis are invited or not. Israeli participation in such activities is always powerful, because those who take part put themselves on the front lines and are willing to be arrested for the Palestinians. Israelis know that they won't be arrested for more that a few hours or a couple of days, while Palestinians on the other hand could be held for as long as six months. No one can anticipate how he may be treated, but there is definitely a difference in how they treat Israelis and Palestinians.

  • What is the importance of working with Israelis in this field specifically?

    In the context of a non-violent or popular struggle, we should be aware that we aren't going to remove the Wall or the settlements through non-violence even if we manage to bring a hundred thousand people to our activities. What we aim to achieve through our non-violent struggle is a perception within Israeli society that their actions are illegal and unjustified and that there is no excuse for the presence of the Wall or settlements on Palestinian land. We talk about how violence creates more violence, but non-violence creates non-violence also. Our goal should be removing the wall of fear that the Israeli government and right wing has built over the years, instilling in them the notion that Palestinians want to kill all the Jews and throw them into the sea, and that the actions of the Israeli government are meant to protect them. These excuses become meaningless if enough people rise up and tell their government they refuse such things to be done in their name. This happened during the first intifada, after which the Israeli government was forced to recognize the Palestinian people and the PLO. This wasn't achieved only through non-violent activities; awareness within Israeli society was created through a movement that rejected the occupation and their sons' and daughters' military actions against Palestinian society. Therefore, I say that an Israeli presence at demonstrations helps, because in my opinion the objective is not only that they take part in the activities, but share their experiences with friends and family, tell them about our activities, and try to recruit others. If we confined our work only to demonstrations we would not succeed.

  • When we talk about non-violent means and the idea that the first intifada was distinguished by non-violence, there is a strong debate about whether throwing stones is non-violent or not. What is your definition of non-violent means?

    When referring to non-violence, I will refer to the definition. Each location we work at may have its own strategic and tactical preferences. In my opinion there are two basic definitions of non-violence: that of principle, and the common definition. According to the common definition of non-violence, any act that doesn't cause harm to the person on the other side can be called non-violent. Many people talk about stone throwing, for example. If stones are thrown at a distant group of soldiers when it is obvious that they won't reach them, the act is symbolic and is considered non-violent. The same is true with Molotov cocktails. On the other hand, the use of weapons to destroy the enemy's economic infrastructure-- such as rail and electric lines and power transformers that lead to settlements-- is a deep philosophical debate. My opinion, which may be seen as a bit philosophical, is that it is the other side's interpretation, and not my own, which determines whether an act is judged as violent or non-violent. If an Israeli soldier considers a stone thrown at him a reason to use violence to defend himself because he felt he was in danger, or if he finds an excuse to use violence to defend himself against violence that doesn't necessarily exist, we have lost the struggle. I stress that this is my personal and philosophical opinion. We try never to create an excuse for the use of retaliatory violence, even if it means raising our hands in self-defense, which can be seen by the other side as an attempt to attack. Of course philosophy differs from reality, but our main goal remains to approach the conception of our opponent and his interpretation of violence or non-violence. It is not my interpretation that is important, but his, and still more important is the way the picture reaches the international and Israeli community. If the media presents an event as violent, no room is left for interpretation and it will be fundamentally perceived as a violent, regardless of any further explanation.

  • Have you ever thought of getting involved in a different line of work?

    When I was young and before my uncle returned from America I used to dream of becoming a pilot. This was my dream as a child, but it changed at the age of fourteen when I chose this field and devoted my life to it.

  • Please tell us about the role of the media in the struggle and its affect on resistance?

    Media coverage is essential and there should be documentation of what we do. For example, if independent foreign media are present at a demonstration and a young man is killed while refraining from violence, Israel can't make up excuses. The Israeli media is very good at convincing the world of their case, and can always claim that the man was killed because he was carrying a knife. Then we would be on the defensive, denying their claim. Therefore the media should be present at every activity to document and verify the events, and more importantly pass on the message. Without the media I think there should be no non-violent activities.

  • Who is the intended audience for this message?

    There are three main audiences. The first is Palestinian. The media should not only focus the message of nonviolence on the international audience, but should deliver it to the Palestinians as well. They should know that we are performing serious and tenacious work, and that it is the duty of every Palestinian to take part in it. Our activities also help to ease the state of pessimism we are in at this moment in time. We receive many calls from people and organizations from Bethlehem inquiring about our activities around the city, and for many of them it is the first time they express interest in this field and our activities. It is as if our activities are a way of taking the weight off their chests, and surprisingly, some of those participating for the first time, despite being from Bethlehem, have never been to the places where the actual activities take place although they were only ten kilometers away. 60-70% of people in Bethlehem have not only never been to these places, but have never heard of them. We now see people going to places they have never been before and taking part in activities because of the media. The activities and marches taking place send a message to Palestinians not to fear confronting the occupation and present an example and precedence for activities. As they are serious and organized, they are successful and enable us to make our voice heard while everyone returns home safe at the end of the day. It is true that some people get arrested, but this depends highly on the nature of the individual activity. In certain activities where there is a likelihood of direct confrontation with the Israelis a small group is selected that is prepared for any reaction by the Israelis resulting in injury or even martyrdom. These groups usually contain a large group of non-Palestinian sympathizers. Other activities are of a different nature and mainly involve protest marches. More people usually take part in these activities, and we try to avoid direct confrontation with Israeli soldiers. We hold a protest in a single village or march from one village to another while always attempting to avoid the Israeli army. Sometimes our activities involve nearly a thousand people. The media should be strong because it is a strong tool that can be utilized to pass on a message to society, but regrettably our own Palestinian media has adopted the traditional habits of the Western media by focusing on violence such as rockets and bullets instead of on the nonviolent struggle and activities such as ours. Nevertheless, recently we have begun to identify directions for progress in this field. The second main audience is Israeli society. It is hard to approach Israeli society through the media, because of the control of the Israeli government that is reluctant to present the public with the truth about what is being done to the Palestinians. I don't have an answer to why we are not able to convey a message to Israeli society, or how we might do that. I think our movement is constantly developing, and the more it develops on the national scale, the more the media will be forced to give it attention, just as in the first intifada. Our movement is still beginning, and it will take a lot more work before it becomes a national popular movement. The third audience is the international community. The media should convey the message to the international audience in order to answer the Israeli condemnations of the Palestinian people through the Western media.

  • How do you deal with pre-conceived perceptions among the Israelis, Palestinians and international volunteers you work with?

    The problem is not the pre-conceived perceptions, but that they all have their own personal agenda. An American youth, for example, could come over here in sympathy with us and arrive at the airport with no money at all. He may borrow money from his parents to get here and wait at the airport for an organization to pick him up. After picking him up the organization usually takes him to a Palestinian home where he stays throughout his visit. After a few days here with no activity or confrontation he might suggest a certain activity because he wants to act in solidarity during a period when it may be strategically better for the village to remain inactive. After he leaves, the village would pay a price for the activities carried out at the time of his stay. This often happens with international sympathizers who come over here to achieve something, but actually leave the villages they visited in a worse situation than before. Another problem arises with international activists who think the Palestinian land is a playground for major international confrontations. They arrive ready to fight American aggression, globalization, Bush1 or Blair2 in Palestine, and not the occupation. They think of it as if Palestine were a battleground between global powers, and arrive here with their own worldview, thinking this is the place for them to let off some steam. Another problem we face is the violent nature of some of our international and Israeli sympathizers. Through the activities we have noticed that Palestinians execute nonviolence better than the sympathizers who sometimes respond to violence with violence. If one of them is beaten by an Israeli soldier he may beat him back, and the reason for this is usually a lack of training in nonviolence. We expect them to be well versed in nonviolence but many of them don't have enough experience in the field.

    • 1. A reference to George W. Bush, American President at the time of this interview.
    • 2. A reference to Tony Blair, British Prime Minister from May 1997 to May 2007.

  • Could you please tell us about an achievement of yours that has had an effect on the reality on the ground?

    We have had some achievements, but we aren't looking for small achievements. Our main objective is activating the largest possible number of Palestinians in the nonviolent struggle. The larger the number, the larger the achievement. Two days ago news arrived from the village of Um Salmona that a decision had been made to move the Wall to the border of the nearby settlement. The Wall was originally supposed to be built near a nearby hill, but was eventually moved further behind it. This was achieved because of our activities there, and even they admit it. We regard this as an achievement, but the Popular Committee of the southern countryside decided not to announce it for fear they would take over another piece of land in exchange for the piece we managed to save. Our goal is the complete removal of the Wall and the dismantling of the settlements, and therefore we will continue in this struggle and not focus on small achievements such as moving the Wall by a few meters. Our goal is to get as many Palestinians as possible involved in resisting the occupation. We don't expect all activities to have the same form. Resistance can take the form of marches or boycotting Israeli products. We ask international organizations, churches and British Universities to boycott Israel while at the same time we consume Israeli products ourselves. We should have sufficient inner awareness to boycott Israeli products and be the ones who lead such an effort before demanding it from others. We can do this from within our homes and without being subject to arrests. If every Palestinian home were to boycott Israeli products it would be a great achievement.

  • How can you convince the Palestinian people that are under occupation to put down their weapons and adopt non-violence? Isn't it as if you are telling them to "turn the other cheek"?

    Our efforts to convince them stem from a strategic point of view. There should be a thorough examination of the armed struggle within Palestinian society, especially during the second intifada. We should analyze the achievements on the ground and decide weather the armed struggle was a success or a failure. When we approach people, we don't condemn armed resistance, because it is resistance to occupation and injustice. We base our condemnation or support on the failure or success of strategic choices. We want the Palestinian public to ponder whether we have succeeded or failed, why we may have failed, how to improve our strategy, and what we can hope to accomplish. Since 2002 we have been hearing some positive responses. In 2002 Bethlehem was re-occupied within six hours, while it took six days in 1967. Prior to the re-occupation the fighters declared they would prevent the Israelis from taking the city even if it were over their dead bodies. They prepared themselves in advance, but still didn't manage to prevent the Israeli army from taking the city in six hours. The public was well aware of this and was convinced that at this stage, and using this method, we failed. We currently identify a clear desire among Palestinians to become more familiar with the notion and strategy of nonviolence.

  • Do you think the adoption of non-violence is a result of the lack of other options and the failure of the armed struggle?

    We do not wish for nonviolence to be the last resort after attempting all other options, rather we wish for it to be the first choice of action. Still, I prefer nonviolence to be the last option than not be an option at all, and I would rather have it as a last resort instead of complete surrender, for example.

  • You previously mentioned that the Palestinian people have been badly affected by the Oslo agreement. Could you please tell us more about this?

    Palestinians lived through times of occupation and the first intifada in a better state than during the Oslo period. Some things were proposed in Oslo that didn't exist before. One such thing is the military checkpoints that didn't exist in their current form before 1993. They were previously known as "flying checkpoints" that were put up temporarily for a few hours in a certain area when they received information or wanted to conduct a search. After Oslo, these temporary checkpoints became official and turned into set border crossings. Another issue is the permits, which didn't exist before Oslo. My mother is originally from Gaza and her family still lives there. Before Oslo we could visit them very easily, we just got in the car and drove to Gaza where we ate fish on the beach and went home in the same day. After Oslo it became necessary to get a permit for both humans and vehicles. Later on permits for vehicles were canceled and the validity of permits for humans was cut down from a year to six month to one month. This created a situation in which one had to carry his permit as a form of identification card. In a clever way they succeeded in tampering with the psychology of Palestinians by creating a situation in which all Palestinians cared about was how to get a permit. Palestinian leaders were given exclusive VIP permits for them and their cars that made them subordinate to the Israelis for fear of losing their precious privileges. I think this was one of the biggest games they have played with our psyche so far. Things got so bad people here in Bethlehem were forced to practically forget about Jerusalem due to the restrictions of permits. It was as if they put us in a large circle while increasing and easing the pressure as they pleased. As a result we were forced to orient more towards Ramallah, constantly guessing at how long the trip would take us-- would it be an hour and a half or three? All this after we used to travel in our cars to Jerusalem daily with total ease. Settlements and land confiscation doubled during the Oslo period. The number of settlers and the land confiscated in order to settle them doubled since the agreement was signed. Land confiscation wasn't carried out for the purpose of settlement building only. The even greater catastrophe was taking over land for building bypass roads that were for settler use only. Our leaders allowed the building of these bypass roads that only served Jews on their way to their settlements. These roads severed and divided Palestinian land, thanks to Oslo. I think the combined affect of these issues led to the failure of negotiations between us and the Israelis in Oslo because it was clear Israel didn't aspire to a fair and constructive peace with the Palestinian people, a peace based upon equality and justice.

  • Do you believe in the necessity in a third party, or are the Israelis and Palestinians capable of solving the conflict on their own?

    In many cases during negotiations it is helpful to have a trusted third party capable of influencing both sides. Regrettably, Israeli so far hasn't respected any third party or felt obligated to its requests. Even if America were to apply pressure on Israel, Israel will just ignore it because of the power and influence it yields within the American Congress and society. If there were to be a trusted and truly influential third party that could bring the two sides closer together, we would welcome that. We need to find a third party, and I think it can be found among the Western world. However, we would need to exert influence on the American administration in order to turn it into a neutral partner for peace. The struggle of black South Africans against the whites is a clear example of this. Their struggle created sympathy within European and American society, and the USA, who had previously supported the Apartheid regime, was forced to abandon its support of the white regime and become neutral due to domestic pressure. In our case the USA's role as the third party has ceased being productive. We experienced their mediation in Oslo, but were met with failure. The same will be true with the European states because Israel fundamentally disregards them, and if they were to attempt to get involved in the conflict as a third party mediator, Israel would refuse that and be quick to remind them of what happened to the Jews in Europe.

  • Do you think non-violence can lead to a solution or achieve peace?

    I think so. If I didn't believe in non-violence I wouldn't have walked this path. As I mentioned before, this road is long and hard and perhaps nonviolence will not end the occupation and remove the Wall and the settlements, but it can stimulate international and Israeli society to put pressure on their governments to end the occupation. I think the number one goal of a politician in the West is to get re-elected. Therefore if the people in the politician's home state or province were sympathetic towards the Palestinian struggle and told their candidate that they won't elect him unless he sides with the Palestinian cause, the candidate would do anything to please his voters, even if he was previously an enthusiastic supporter of the Zionist movement and Israel. The fight against Apartheid succeeded in this way, so how can we do the same and influence the American public? This requires a lot of effort and enacting the right strategies, but also a political figure such as Nelson Mandela who managed to convey a message to the American people while still in prison through a popular TV program. Do we have such a person who can pass on a message like that? I think we have the possibilities for success but we need a clear strategy for getting our message across.

  • What would be the characteristics of a Palestinian leader who could get the message across?

    Such a leader does not have a defined set of properties, but he should have charisma, strength of character and an understanding of the reality we live in as well as an understanding of the American mentality and how to influence it. More importantly he should be accepted by his people, and not be someone who can just give a speech and argue a point. This should be part of a wider strategy that shouldn't be completely dependent of charismatic figures. Still, such people would certainly help in presenting our case.

  • What is your view of an ideal solution, or what is the best way to solve the conflict?

    Personally, and as the founder of this organization, we don't have a vision for a political solution. Through our work we aim to reach the beginnings of a solution, and I always say, "If we reach this stage I will close the organization." The beginning of the solution is based on mutual recognition of rights and equality on the land of Palestine. There are Palestinian rights Israel should recognize, in addition to the recognition we should all make in the equality of the people of this land. There is no promised land that God gave one people to take from another; rather there are two peoples who should enjoy full and complete recognition of their rights. We are realistic and don't ask for the return of Jews to Europe. We realize there are two peoples on this land. It is common to say "each person gets one vote". After mutual recognition and equality we may become creative in proposing solutions such as the two-state solution, a confederacy or something we haven't even thought of yet. No solution can be formalized without mutual recognition between the two sides first. Even if Palestinians were to gain control of the 1967 lands including Jerusalem and Gaza, the occupation and oppression will not be over until a feeling of equality is established, a feeling that is essential for a true solution between the two neighbors. I think a feeling of equality and recognition of mutual rights is the beginning of the way towards an official solution.

  • If you were given the opportunity to found The Holy Land Trust all over again, what would you do differently? Were there any mistakes you learned from and what are the lessons you have acquired along the way?

    I don't intend to say that everything is as it should be. No doubt sometimes we drifted away slightly from our basic goal of ending the occupation because of internal Palestinian matters such as social problems, internal fighting and confrontation between parties. The combination of these elements made us walk a broken line and delayed progress towards our main goal. As far as our activities go, we have had some very successful ones, while others proved to be attempts and experiments. This is only natural in a field where organizations should be aware that they are operating in an experimental laboratory for activities, operations and ideas, each accompanied with the prospect for success or failure. I regret nothing we have done. But I still have the desire to accomplish more along a journey I have always believed in.