Striking a note of stoical optimism, Mubarak Awad, the Palestinian-American advocate of nonviolence and a prominent critic of Israel, has called the results of the recent Israeli election ``beneficial'' to the intifadah, or 11-month-old Palestinian uprising. ``It's good to have extremists,'' said Dr. Awad during a recent interview here in which he discussed Israel's next, probably hard-line, Likud Party government.
``This will only unite us, the Palestinians, more. The Likud is creating a bad image for the Israelis. This is only adding to their self-defeating divisiveness.''
Founder of the Center for the Study of Nonviolence in Jerusalem, Awad has long advocated the use of civil disobedience as the way for Palestinians to end Israel's 21-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. His supporters call him the ``Palestinian Gandhi.''
But detractors say he supports terrorist activities by the Palestine Liberation Organizaiton. Israel accused Awad, who has been a US citizen since 1973, of involvement in the uprising and deported him last June.
``Israel will have to give the territories back to us because to keep them is a burden,'' said Awad, who advocates a return to the territorial boundaries prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
``Shamir is waiting for an Arab leader like [Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat to come forward. But that is not going to happen.''
``Meanwhile, it is up to us, the Palestinians, to make the occupation a burden for Israel. We have to make it morally expensive ...''
While Awad said he anticipated that the intifadah ``will go on for another year or two,'' he added that he did not expect to see the establishment of a full-fledged Palestinian state until 1995.
As for the reaction to Israel within the US, where Awad has lived off and on since the mid-1970s, he said, ``There is a tremendous change. Many Americans now say they have been betrayed by Israel. And it is now possible say this, to criticize Israel, without being called anti-Semitic.''
Awad also said he did not advocate a direct suspension of the annual $3 billion in US aid to Israel. ``It is the only weapon the US has.'' Rather, he'd like to see 2 percent of that money go to ``peace education projects.''
Awad also reiterated his five-point plan for establishing a Palestinian state:
Return of the occupied territories.
Financial compensation for Palestinians whose lands were confiscated.
Designation of Jerusalem as a dual capital of both Israel and Palestine.
Demilitarization of Palestine.
Establishment of Gaza as the Palestinian state's principal seaport.
``Nationalism became a disease with us. We learned a lot from the Israelis. The two-state solution is best for us now,'' Awad said.