"Moderate" Palestinian Leaders Say Terrorism an Option, Seek Iranian Support, Deny Existence of Jewish State

Posted in Israel / Palestine | 12-Aug-09 | Source: The Israel Project

“Although we have chosen peace we reserve the right to return to armed resistance,” Abbas said in his keynote at Fatah’s sixth General Assembly.

The Palestinian political faction Fatah held its first conference in 20 years to determine its future agenda. [1] During the five-day meeting that ended Sunday (Aug. 9) [2] Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas ran unopposed to be re-elected as Fatah's leader. [3]

"Although we have chosen peace we reserve the right to return to armed resistance," Abbas said in his keynote at Fatah's sixth General Assembly.

Abbas' remarks came as the Palestinian economy in the West Bank has improved substantially in the last two years, thanks to Israel's efforts to grow the Palestinian market and provide greater freedom of movement by reducing the number of roadblocks and checkpoints. [4]

During the conference, Fatah officials discussed a possible strategic alliance with Iran, [5] which continues to defy the international community's demands that it halt its nuclear program. Iran is also the world's leading state sponsor of terror, [6] providing hundreds of millions of dollars in training, arms and financing to terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. [7]

Fatah's Jerusalem Affairs Liaison Hatim Abdul Qader said that in light of the stalled peace process, the Fatah movement has no choice but to seek help abroad from Iran. [8]

Fatah, considered a mainstream Palestinian organization, avoided relations with Iran ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Fatah's main rival, the Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas, is politically, financially and militarily backed by Iran. [9] However, last month Fatah member and Senior Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat met with Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Egypt to discuss Hamas-Fatah reconciliation talks, Palestinian national unity and other regional issues. [10]

About 2,260 Fatah delegates gathered in the West Bank city of Bethlehem for the conference, some travelling from Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and other countries to attend. [11] Iran-backed Hamas barred about 400 Fatah members residing in the Gaza Strip from attending the West Bank conference. [12] At the conference, more than 100 candidates competed in elections for Fatah's 22-member central committee and nearly 600 for the 120-seat revolutionary council. [13]

Other issues addressed at the conference included removing all Jews from Jerusalem and putting the city under Palestinian control, [14] releasing all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, not renewing the peace process until all of the prisoners are released [15] and getting support from Iran. [16]

"Right of Resistance"

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas opened the conference by declaring Fatah's "right of resistance" against Israel. Abbas said, "Although we have chosen peace, we reserve the right to return to armed resistance," but stressed that at this stage demonstrations and boycott campaigns against Israel are preferable. [17]

According to WAFA, the official Palestinian Authority news agency, Fatah's new charter states "Fatah stresses its commitment to the pursuit of a comprehensive peace but reiterates the Palestinian people's right to resistance to occupation in all its forms in line with international law." [18] Senior Fatah member Nabil Shaath was quoted as saying, "At this stage, we are focusing on popular struggle, but the armed struggle is a right reserved to us in international law." [19]

Fatah's claim of the Palestinian "right of resistance" is emphasized in its official political platform: "The struggle stems from the Palestinian people's right to oppose the occupation and the settlements, the expulsion and the racist discrimination - and this right is [a] right guaranteed by international law." [20]

Jerusalem

At the conference, Fatah adopted the position that the Palestinian "resistance" will not end until all of Jerusalem, including the outlying villages, come under Palestinian control. [21] The Fatah position paper states, "Fatah will continue to sacrifice victims until Jerusalem will be returned [to the Palestinians], clean of settlements and settlers." [22] The conference paper does not distinguish between East and West Jerusalem, instead claiming Palestinian sovereignty over the entire city. [23]

Prisoners

Abbas and the Fatah charter demand the release of thousands of Fatah prisoners who are in Israel prisons. [24] Many of these prisoners, such as Marwan Barghouti, have been convicted of multiple counts of murder and acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians. [25] At the conference, Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior Fatah operative and aide to Abbas, said there would never be a permanent solution between the Palestinians and Israelis until Israel first releases all prisoners in Israeli jails. [26]

Two-State Solution

Conference participants endorsed the idea of a two-state solution. [27] However, Fatah refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. [28] While the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), of which Fatah is a part, formally recognized Israel in 1993, Fatah as a party never officially recognized the Jewish state. [29]

Senior Fatah Officials: In their Own Words

Nabil Shaath, Fatah's Central Committee member:
"At this stage, we are focusing on popular struggle, but the armed struggle is a right reserved to us in international law." [30]

Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator:
"Fatah wants peace, but peace cannot be attained without Israel withdrawing to the '67 borders, establishing a Palestinian state on the '67 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital - two states living side by side." [31]
At-Tayyib Abdul-Rahim, Fatah Central Committee member:
"If peace efforts are thwarted, there will be no security, nor stability in the region." [32]

Zakariya Zubeidi, Fatah terrorist group Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade leader:
"Abu Gharbiyeh [chairman of Fatah's General Assembly] announced before the conference that Fatah would never give up the Aksa Martyrs Brigades. He stressed that the endorsement of our group was parallel to the continued brandishing of the olive branch as a symbol for peace." [33]

Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority President:
"When we stress that we espouse the option of peace and negotiations based on the U.N. resolutions, we retain our fundamental right to legitimate resistance guaranteed by international law. This right is also linked to our perception and to the national consensus, which is what must determine the appropriate forms of the struggle and the proper timing for [each] - while learning lessons from the past and making sure that we are not dragged into places where the steadfastness of our people and our adherence to our moral superiority and to the principles of our struggle might be harmed." [34]

Husam Khader, senior Fatah member:
"Fatah has not changed its national identity, and it retains the option of resistance and armed struggle. But now, for the first time ... it is permitting the option of negotiations as one of the Palestinian people's strategic options and as a possible way of attaining
its political goals."
[35]

Marwan Al-Barghouti, senior Fatah member in Israeli prison:
"Resistance to the Israeli occupation is a national obligation, and it is a legitimate right..." [36]

Fahmi Al-Za'arir, Fatah spokesman:
"It is not possible to rule out or to marginalize the military option. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are the jewel in Fatah's crown. We must strengthen their status ... [and] maintain them in a state of alert. We know that every warrior has a [period of] rest(11) - and also we know that this does not mean the end of the national battle, but only a wait to obtain the goals, and to give the leadership sufficient opportunity for political activity." [37]

Abu Ala, former Palestinian prime minister:
"We have in our midst the hero Khaled Abu-Usbah, hero of the operation led by the Shahida (Martyr) Dalal Mughrabi. We salute him and welcome him. And [we salute] the hero, the Shahida (Martyr) Dalal. All the glory! All the glory! All the glory! All the sisters here are Dalal's sisters." [38]
Note: Dalal Mughrabi and Khaled Abu-Usbah were responsible in a 1978 attack for the deaths of 37 Israelis, including 10 children. [39]

Jibril Rajoub, senior Fatah official:
"Resistance was and is a tactical and strategic option of the struggle are part of Fatah's policy." [40]

Examples of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade Terrorist Attacks

April 11, 2008: Two Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades members attempt to poison Ramat Gan diners that employed them. [41]

Dec. 6, 2008: Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades fire a Qassam rocket, hitting Ashkelon. [42]

Jan. 29, 2007: The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Palestinian Islamic Jihad perpetrate a suicide bombing attack in an Eilat bakery, killing four Israeli civilians and wounding two. [43]

Oct. 22, 2007: Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists attempt to attack then-Prime Minister Olmert's convoy en route to Jerusalem from the West Bank city of Jericho. [44]

April 22, 2004: Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claim responsibility for an attempted suicide bombing perpetrated by an HIV-infected militant in the hopes he would infect any wounded with the virus. [45]

March 14, 2004: Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas claim responsibility for a double suicide bombing at Ashdod seaport that kills 10 and wounds more than 16 civilians. [46]

May 4, 2002: An Israeli security guard foils an Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist attack on a Tel Aviv nightclub with over 200 people inside. [47]


Footnotes:

[1] McCarthy, Rory, "Fatah holds first party conference for 20 years," The Guardian, Aug. 4, 2009, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/04/fatah-conference-abbas-west-bank

[2] Abu Toameh, Khaled, "Fatah moves to 'remove, defeat occupation'," The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418557097&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

[3] "Election held for Fatah leading bodies," Xinhua, Aug. 10, 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-08/10/content_11858794.htm

[4] Berger, Robert, "Abbas Re-Elected Leader of the Palestinian Fatah Party," Voice of America, Aug. 8, 2009, http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-08-08-voa22.cfm; Dlugy, Yana, "West Bank economy on the mend, says IMF," Agence France-Presse, July 15, 2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gnEwDP3c9aJP_VsXi1DMNqQkHsdA

[5] Goodenough, Patrick, "Fatah Conference to Consider Non-Recognition of Israel, Closer Ties to Iran ," CNSNews, Aug. 3, 2009, http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=51890

[6] "Iran 'leading terrorism sponsor,'" BBC News, May 1, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8028064.stm

[7] "Country Reports on Terrorism 2008," United States Department of State Publication; Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, April 2009, http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2008/; Hamas," Council on Foreign Relations Web site, http://www.cfr.org/publication/8968/, retrieved July 7, 2008

[8] Goodenough, Patrick, "Fatah Conference to Consider Non-Recognition of Israel, Closer Ties to Iran," CNSNews, Aug. 3, 2009, http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=51890

[9] "Iranian Support of Hamas," Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Jan. 12, 2009, p. 4, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/pdf/iran_e004.pdf

[10] "Israel condemns Iran-PA meeting," BBC, July 20, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8159051.stm

[11] Abu Toameh, Khaled, "'Old guard' want to keep young reps out of Fatah," The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 1, 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1248277943160&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

[12] Abu Toameh, Khaled, "'Old guard' want to keep young reps out of Fatah," The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 1, 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1248277943160&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

[13] "Election held for Fatah leading bodies," Xinhua, Aug. 10, 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-08/10/content_11858794.htm

[14] Abu Toameh, Khaled, "Fatah moves to 'remove, defeat occupation'," The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418557097&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

[15] Abu Toameh, Khaled, "Fatah moves 'to remove, defeat occupation'," The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418557097&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

[16] "PM Rabin- Israel-PLO Recognition Signing Ceremony," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sept. 10, 1993, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Archive/Speeches/PM%20RABIN-%20ISRAEL-PLO%20RECOGNITION%20SIGNING%20CEREMONY-; Rosenfeld, Shaul, "No moderate Palestinians," YnetNews, Aug. 4, 2009, http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3757017,00.html

[17] Berger, Robert, "Abbas Re-Elected Leader of the Palestinian Fatah Party," Voice of America, Aug. 8, 2009, http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-08-08-voa22.cfm; "Fatah backs two-state solution, sharpening rift with Hamas," Haaretz, Aug. 19, 2009, http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1106393.html

[18] "Fatah party insists on right to resistance," Agence France-Presse, Aug. 9, 2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jjJcSM4DoJZUI3hA0R6jGOIiDCkg

[19] "Fatah backs two-state solution, sharpening rift with Hamas," Haaretz, Aug. 10, 2009, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1106393.html

[20] Jacob, C., "Fatah Members: The Principle of Resistance and Armed Struggle Must Not Be Relinquished," Middle East Media Research Institute, Aug. 6, 2009, http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA53809

[21] Issacharoff, Avi, "Dahlan, Qureia vie to succeed Abbas as Fatah chief," Haaretz, Aug. 9, 2009, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1106243.html

[22] "Fatah: We'll sacrifice victims until Jerusalem is ours," Haaretz, Aug. 8, 2009, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1106050.html

[23] Fatah: We'll sacrifice victims until Jerusalem is ours," Haaretz, Aug. 8, 2009, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1106050.html

[24] Fatah party insists on right to resistance," Agence France-Presse, Aug. 9, 2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jjJcSM4DoJZUI3hA0R6jGOIiDCkg

[25] "State of Israel vs. Marwan Barghouti, Ruling by Judge Zvi Gurkinkel," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dec. 12, 2002, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2002/12/State%20of%20Israel%20vs%20Marwan%20Barghouti-%20Ruling%20by%20Jud

[26] Abu Toameh, Khaled, "Fatah moves 'to remove, defeat occupation," The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 10, 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418557097&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

[27] Daraghmeh, Mohammed, "Palestinian Fatah conventions adopts program backing 2-state solution, right to fight Israel," The Canadian Press, Aug. 9, 2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jIhogzCT23pUkEBBuv5V4SfRZSSQ

[28] Mar'I, Mohammed, "Fatah declaring war against Israel," Arab News, Aug. 3, 2009, http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4§ion=0&article=125113

[29] "PM Rabin- Israel-PLO Recognition Signing Ceremony," Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sept. 10, 1993, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Archive/Speeches/PM%20RABIN-%20ISRAEL-PLO%20RECOGNITION%20SIGNING%20CEREMONY-; Rosenfeld, Shaul, "No moderate Palestinians," YnetNews, Aug. 4, 2009, http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3757017,00.html

[30] "Fatah votes for new council members," Al Jazeera, Aug. 10, 2009, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/08/200989195545400442.html

[31] Berger, Robert, "Palestinian Fatah Faction Endorses Peace Process, Armed Resistance," Voice of America, Aug. 9, 2009, http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-08-09-voa25.cfm

[32] "Abdul-Rahim: Fatah Conference 90 percent over," Ma'an News Agency, Aug. 10, 2009, http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=217680

[33] Toameh, Khaled Abu, "Fatah: Return J'lem before talks go on," The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 8, 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418552346&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

[34] Jacob, C, "Fatah Members: The Principle of Resistance and Armed Struggle Must Not Be Relinquished," Middle East Media Research Institute, Aug. 6, 2009, http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA53809

[35] Jacob, C, "Fatah Members: The Principle of Resistance and Armed Struggle Must Not Be Relinquished," Middle East Media Research Institute, Aug. 6, 2009, http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA53809

[36] Jacob, C, "Fatah Members: The Principle of Resistance and Armed Struggle Must Not Be Relinquished," Middle East Media Research Institute, Aug. 6, 2009, http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA53809

[37] Jacob, C, "Fatah Members: The Principle of Resistance and Armed Struggle Must Not Be Relinquished," Middle East Media Research Institute, Aug. 6, 2009, http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA53809

[38] "Glorifying terrorists and terror," Palestinian Media Watch, Aug. 4, 2009, http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=458&fld_id=458&doc_id=1227

[39] "A Sabbath of Terror," Time, March 20, 1978, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,919454,00.html

[40] "Abbas: Popular resistance to go on," The Jerusalem Post, Aug. 4, 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1249275687434&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

[41] Azoulay, Yuval, "2 Palestinians arrested for plot to poison Ramat Gan diners," Haaretz, April 11, 2008, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/973770.html

[42] "Qassam fired from Gaza hits Ashkelon; IAF strikes rocket launcher," Haaretz, June 12, 2008, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1044028.html

[43] "3 killed in Eilat terror attack," Ynetnews, Jan. 29, 2007, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3358185,00.html

[44] Mar'i, Mohammed, "Shin Bet Foiled Fatah Attack on Olmert in August," Arab News, Oct. 22, 2007, http://arabnews.com/?page=4§ion=0&article=102702&d=22&m=10&y=2007

[45] Cowan, Claudia, "Potential Mideast Bomber Wanted AIDS as Weapons," Fox News, April 22, 2004, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,117731,00.html

[46] "Ashdod suicide bombers from northern Gaza," Xinhua, Feb. 15, 2004, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2004-03/15/content_1365837.htm

[47] "Security Guard Foils Attack on Tel Aviv Nighclub," U.N.Wire, May 24, 2002, http://www.unwire.org/unwire/20020524/26618_story.asp

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