On August 25, RIA Novosti held a press conference titled "International al-Quds Day (Jerusalem)". The conference was devoted to the Palestinian problem. International al-Quds Day is celebrated on Ramadan's last Friday.
Muammar Gaddafi used to play an important role in supporting the Palestinian movement. This brings up a question of whether the possible regime change in Libya may affect Palestine.
The chairman of the center for Palestinian Culture in Moscow, Vafik Al-Shaer, told Pravda.Ru that Palestine would only benefit from the collapse of Gaddafi's regime.
Nadazhda Kevorkova, an expert for Oriental studies, said that the majority of Palestinians believe that Gaddafi had betrayed them. "They believe that he once let US special services kill prominent representatives of Palestinian resistance, who had been given shelter in Libya. Libya was a closed state back then, and Palestinians' enemies could not penetrate there as tourists. At that moment, Gaddafi started to build ties with the West. He made many steps towards Western states and Israel," she said.
Arabist Sergei Demidenko, an expert with the Institute for Strategic Analysis, shares a different point of view.
"The Maghrebian Arabs traditionally dislike Gaddafi. They don't like his ambitions to become the leader in the Arab world. As for his involvement in the liquidation of several leaders of Palestinian groups, this is nothing but a conspiracy theory. No one has ever provided any evidence to prove that."
Nikolai Sologubovsky, deputy chairman of the Committee for Solidarity with the People of Libya and Syria, is certain that Gaddafi has always supported the Palestinians. "He was with the Palestinian nation as a united anti-imperialist front," the expert said.
The colonel was supporting Palestine in the very beginning of his leadership in Libya. The revolution, which resulted in the toppling of King Idris I, took place on September 1, 1969. Gaddafi immediately took a tough position against Israel. On March 2, 1970, he urged the Organization of African Unity to cut ties with Israel. In his speech of June 11, 1972, he called upon all Muslims of the world to get involved in the struggle against the USA and Britain to liberate Palestine.
He supported all Palestinian organizations that were fighting against Israel, including Palestine Liberation Organization, Fatah and others. The leaders and guerrillas of those groups enjoyed all kinds of support in Libya, even financially.
In 1984, Gaddafi said that the armed forces of Libya were created to liberate Palestine, destroy the Zionist state and revise the map of the world built by imperialism.
Bad times came for Gaddafi after the collapse of the USSR. The West imposed sanctions against Libya for "supporting terrorism." In return, the Libyan authorities condemned terrorism and closed Fatah's headquarters in Tripoli, which actually gave Palestinians a reason to conclude that Gaddafi had betrayed them.
Gaddafi himself started to think that Palestine was playing fast and loose with Israel. His relations with Palestine were ruined in 1993, when it became known that Israeli officials and the leaders of PLO signed the joint declaration of principles. The document stipulated the introduction of local self-government in Palestine, which, as it was expected, was supposed to regulate the conflict. The USA, which isolated Libya from other countries, participated in those talks as a mediator.
On September 1, 1995, Gaddafi announced the expulsion of 30,000 Palestinian refugees from Libya. He cursed the Palestinian leaders and urged the governments of all Arab countries to expel Palestinians from their territories.
His stance towards Israel was improving gradually afterwards, until he published his "White Book" and offered the fundamental and historical solution to the Mideastern problem.
It goes about the establishment of Isratine - one state for Jews and Palestinians. The solution stipulates the destruction of all arms in the Middle East to avoid conflicts. According to Gaddafi, the existence of two states - the Arab and the Israeli ones - will result in new clashes inevitably. The plan was rejected by the majority of Arab leaders and Israeli ultra conservatives.
Gaddafi's flexibility is based on the influence of many years of international sanctions against Libya. In addition, after 9/11 terrorist acts, US officials were planning an invasion of Libya.