The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Tunisia's Ghannouchi at WINEP

 From a transcript [PDF] of WINEP's rountable with Tunisia's Rachid Ghannouchi — the commentary says much:

Q: You said that a majority of Palestinians accept the idea of a two-state solution with Israel. What about you and your party? Do you accept that concept?

A: Tunisia will never try to take the place of either of the two Palestinian organizations in deciding about these issues.

[Comment: Ghannouchi not only equates Hamas with the Palestinian Authority, but also clearly refuses to explicitly accept a two-state solution for the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is in line with his published interview in February 2011, on the occasion of his most recent visit to Qatar's pro-Hamas Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, whom he cited later in the Q&A as his superior in the International Organization of Muslim Ulama [scholars]. In that interview, Ghannouchi declares that while Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin prophesied that Israel would be eliminated by 2027, his own view is that Israel could be eliminated even before that date. See and]


Q: There is a record of your referring to the Hamas government in Gaza as a model of democracy. Do you still believe that?

A: I do not remember making such comments about Hamas. But what cannot be denied is that Hamas was democratically elected, and so it is a legitimate government.

[Comment: For Ghannouchi's praise of Hamas "democracy" in Gaza, see and]


There's more of the same in the document, notably over the question of Ghannouchi's past support for violent resistance in Israel/Palestine. WINEP doesn't like that — but I don't remember it condemning the violent treatment of Palestinians, the adoption of collective punishment war doctrines, a policy of assassinations or more generally the violence-enforced occupation.