- Executive Committee member of the PLO
Zakaria al-Agha is a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member and the head of the PLO’s department of refugee affairs.
At a November 1997 Gaza rally led by Yasser Arafat in memory of “the martyred fighter” Salah al-Qidwa, al-Agha declared, “We still remember the martyrs and still follow their path.”
Thirteen months later, shortly after hundreds of Palestinians had destroyed a large amount of property in the Israeli settlement of Ariel, al-Agha stated: “There is no alternative at this stage to popular opposition to the settlements and the settlers. This is a burning issue which cannot be postponed. All forces and resources must be united in the struggle against the settlements.”
Al-Agha has been reluctant to embrace any plans geared toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Consider his reaction to a June 2003 “Roadmap to Peace” meeting — in the city of Aqaba, Jordan — between U.S. President George W. Bush, Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. At the meeting, Abbas declared: “The armed Intifada must end, and we must use and resort to peaceful means in our quest to end the occupation and the suffering of Palestinians and Israelis. And to establish the Palestinian state … our goal is clear and we will implement it firmly and without compromise: a complete end to violence and terrorism.”
“The Aqaba agreement is a sad agreement,” Al-Agha reacted. “The [correct] message for Bush and Sharon is … that the Palestinians have a right to a country and a right of return to their villages and towns, which is an absolute and unalienable right. … That is a red line. … And as long as [the conflict] remains unresolved in accordance with international resolutions, there will be no peace in the land. … There will be no peace until all settlements and the entire occupation are removed, and until Jerusalem becomes the capital of Palestine. … The Palestinians have a right to a country with no occupation and no settlements. Anything else is a waste of time.”
Al-Agha has also sought to nurture the friendly relations that exist between the Palestinian Authority and the government of North Korea, whose late President Kim Il Sung forged a close bond with Yasser Arafat.