Thursday, May 1, 2008

Special Report: May 2008 - Fatah as “Moderate” A Hard Look Post-Annapolis UPDATE (The Center for Near East Policy Research)

Fatah as “Moderate” A Hard Look Post-Annapolis

Executive Summary
This comes four months after the release of the primary report: “Fatah as ‘Moderate’” – seen at

The fully documented update that follows this summary examines a marked pattern of
incidents – statements and actions by key members of Fatah or by the organs of Fatah – that work against genuine moderation. This situation has enormous import in light of the peace negotiations between Israel and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority that are based on the premise of Fatah moderation.

OVERVIEW: Increased Radicalism & Deterioration
Political discourse within Fatah (which controls the Palestinian Authority) has been
radicalized: more openly embracing terrorism and rejecting negotiation, and moving
towards an Islamic stance.

Fatah is now much closer to Hamas than was the case previously, as nationalism is now
entwined with Islam: nationalist rhetoric is succumbing to the notion of a religious war with a “Zionist-Crusader West.”

Internal Fatah politics are also increasingly unstable: Obstructionist elements are in ascendancy.

Influential members of the Fatah Central Committee who are hard line make it impossible for Abbas to advance a reasonable proposal for peace.

Praise of and Support for Terrorism
Considerable evidence exists for PA glorification of terrorism – often couched as
“armed struggle.”

Abbas Interview
Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, has given an interview that
connects him directly with terrorism.

Praise of Terrorists and Their Actions
The PA officially praises terrorists who are responsible for horrendous terrorist acts: We see this with the infamous terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, referred to as “extraordinary hero... a beacon of light.” With the terrorist who massacred eight students at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, referred to as a Shahid - holy Islamic martyr, and approved by a Fatah leader who says Fatah conducts itself similarly. And others.

Evidence of incitement exists at the highest levels of the PA.

Multiple charges by Abbas
On at least three occasions during March 2008, Mahmoud Abbas, PA president, made
inciteful statements, either to the press or in talks within Arabic conferences. He spoke of “an ethnic cleansing” in Jerusalem, and of a ‘barbaric holocaust” in Gaza.

“Right of Return” Plan
Also in March 2008, a PA Deputy Minister advanced an initiative for all Palestinians
living abroad to converge upon Israel for Israeli Independence Day.
Blanket Criticism of Israeli Military Operations
When wanted terrorists responsible for murder of Israelis were killed by Israeli forces, the PA referred to this as a “barbaric crime…executions against our people.”
With regard to violence between Palestinians (no matter their affiliation or terrorist deeds) and Israel, the PA defends the Palestinians, who are brothers, and not Israel.

Terrorist Acts
Repeatedly, Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a military arm of Fatah, claims full or partial
credit for terrorist acts or attempted acts: These include a planned terror by poison in a restaurant; an attempted knifing; a number of rocket launchings; and two shootings each of which killed two Israelis.

Adherence to the “Phased Program”

The PLO’s “Phased Program” has the final goal of acquisition all the land, but achieved one “liberation step” at a time. It calls for giving an impression of moderation, with diplomatic processes. Each step is expected to weaken Israel. “Armed resistance” – terrorism – is to be utilized when it can be useful.

In an April 2008 TV interview, the Fatah-affiliated PA representative in Lebanon made it clear that the PLO still adheres to this policy.

Connection to Iran
Israeli Intelligence has information that Iran provides money to several Fatah groups.

Ongoing Hamas Connection
The Western world is providing an enormous amount of assistance to Fatah, broadly
based on the premise that it is a moderate entity serving as a foil to the radical Hamas, and not significantly associated with it.
But in actuality Abbas does a dance between two poles. He cannot totally avoid contact with Hamas – for he is struggling with the power and influence of Hamas, the ethos of Palestinian brotherhood, and the weakness of Fatah.
In March there were preliminary negotiations between Hamas and Fatah towards a
renewed unity government, but this fell apart immediately.
When Fatah and Hamas join forces, Fatah does not moderate Hamas, Hamas radicalizes Fatah.

Abbas has indicated he has stipulations for dealing with Hamas. But at no time has he
insisted that – because he is now negotiating peace with Israel – he can only form a
government with a party that recognizes Israel’s right to exist and is prepared to
negotiate a two-state solution.
Abbas's bottom line is simply the return of Gaza, which was wrested from Fatah in a
coup almost a year ago.

See the Full Report: Fatah as “Moderate” A Hard Look Post-Annapolis

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