“We cannot be expected to agree to a Palestinian state without ensuring that it is demilitarized. This is crucial to the existence of Israel… Without this, sooner or later, we will have another Hamastan.” These were the words from Prime Minister of Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu, in a foreign policy speech that he gave on Sunday, June 15th. While it is clear that he rejects a state run by Hamas, what of the other popular Palestinian terrorist group, Fatah? Is the Prime Minister okay with having a Fatahstan instead?
It was a packed audience at the Begin-Sadat Center in Bar Ilan University, and all eyes of the world were looking on. As reported, Netanyahu, not unlike many of his predecessors, agreed at least in principle to the creation of a Palestinian state. The conditions he laid out – recognition of Israel as a Jewish homeland and a demilitarized “Palestine” – though, are probably conditions that the Palestinians cannot and will not fulfill. The Palestinian people are controlled not by one, but by two terrorist organizations, which curse Zionism and deny Israel’s right to exist. In view of the Prime Minister’s words, one has to question whether this is something he understands.
During Netanyahu’s speech, regarding the subject of Israel’s peace partners and enemies, he contradicted himself in a major way. At one point, he stated, “I appeal to you, our Palestinian neighbors, and to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. Let us begin peace negotiations immediately…” This, while towards the end of the speech, he strongly declared, “Israel will not sit at the negotiating table with terrorists who seek its destruction.”
The reason why the two statements contradict one another is because the organization Prime Minister Netanyahu is pursuing peace talks with, the Palestinian Authority (PA), is run by Fatah, a terrorist organization which “seeks” Israel’s “destruction” – precisely the type of group that he insists Israel will not sit with!
Fatah or Harakat al-Tahrir al-Watani al-Filastini, the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, was founded in October 1959. As its name suggests, the group’s goal is to liberate “Palestine” from the Jews. The method by which the group seeks to realize this goal is via violence, what the group refers to as “armed struggle.” Much of this violence has been aimed at civilian targets.
With Egyptian-born Yasser Arafat (“Abu Ammar”) as its leader, in July 1968, Fatah joined the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the governing apparatus of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was at the time a rival group to Fatah. Prior to that, Fatah had been backed by the Syrian government. Soon Fatah would take over the PNC and Arafat would be named Chairman of the PLO. With the admission of Fatah into the organization, the PLO’s founding document, the Palestinian National Covenant, was revised to account for the group’s more militant tone, devoted in large part to the outright annihilation of Zionism/Israel.
In April 1996, the PNC held a special session, where it claimed to have amended the covenant or charter to make it more Israel-friendly. In January 1998, in a letter to then-President of the United States Bill Clinton, Arafat outlined which of the covenant’s articles had been amended and/or canceled. Unfortunately, it was little more than a show, as even today, the covenant stands exactly as it was in ‘68.
It has become cliché to say that the Palestinians voice one thing to English-speaking audiences, while saying the opposite in Arabic, but in the case of the covenant, it is entirely true.
The Palestine Media Center (PMC) is the official news agency of the PLO. On the PMC’s website are two versions of the PLO covenant, one in English and one in Arabic. They both include the full 33 articles as adopted in 1968, with all of the divisive statements which were supposed to be removed fully intact. One reads, “The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine.”
Another reads, “Israel is a constant source of threat vis-a-vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world. Since the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian people look for the support of all the progressive and peaceful forces and urge them all, irrespective of their affiliations and beliefs, to offer the Palestinian people all aid and support in their just struggle for the liberation of their homeland.”
There are two glaring difference between the two versions, though. One is that the PLO logo depicting the entire state of Israel under the Palestinian flag is found only on the Arabic version. The other is that, in the English version, at the bottom of the articles, there is an addendum discussing the 1996 “amending” of the covenant. This addendum is missing from the Arabic version, making it clear that, for the Palestinians, the charter was never changed to begin with. It was just words to placate and elicit sympathy from the Americans.
This is substantiated by then-PNC Director of International Parliamentary Affairs Zuhari Sanduka, who stated in January 2002, “No other Charter has indeed been written since … There are indeed publications that refer to the decision to make the amendments. But there are no other texts - no other paragraphs or articles in place of those articles that had to be cancelled or amended.”
The Palestine Media Center, from where the covenant is located, is headed by Yasser Abed Rabbo, Executive Committee Member of the PLO and advisor to the current head of Fatah (and the PLO) Mahmoud Reda Abbas. According to his bio, Rabbo was also a “leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP),” a PLO subsidiary that is found on the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs).
The PFLP’s logo has been prominently placed on the official website of Fatah, www.fateh.org. Another logo that is found on the site is that of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AMB), Kata’ib Shuhada’ al-Aqsa, the militant wing of Fatah. Established at the outset of the September 2000 Palestinian Intifada, like the PFLP, AMB has been named to the State Department’s terrorism list. A number of the group’s attacks against Israelis have included suicide bombings. This is important to understand, when one learns that Fatah uses its website to publish AMB terror communiqués.
Mahmoud Abbas (“Abu Mazen”), as mentioned above, is the head of Fatah; he is also a co-founder of the organization. Following Yasser Arafat’s death in November 2004, he became PLO Chairman. As well, he is presently the elected President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) or Palestinian National Authority (PNA), the same group that Prime Minister Netanyahu says he wants to “immediately” enter into “peace negotiations” with.
According to Mohammed Daoud Oudeh (“Abu Daoud”), the mastermind of the 1972 Munich Massacre, where members of the Israeli Olympic team were kidnapped and murdered, Abbas financed the (Munich) operation. The act was carried out by a Fatah group going by the name of Black September.
Furthermore, as stated in his biography located on Fatah’s site, Abbas is the author of a number of books containing threatening undertones. One draws a parallel to the Palestinian Covenant, ominously titled Zionism: Beginning and End. And another sends a message to Netanyahu himself, titled The Fall of the Netanyahu Government.
Before Prime Minister Netanyahu continues to throw around the idea of a Palestinian state – conditions or no conditions – he must seriously consider his words. If Israel truly will not negotiate with terrorists who wish to destroy her, as he says she won’t, then he should back that up with action and refuse all contact with Fatah.
Last month, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published a scathing report about how Fatah has been orchestrating a terror campaign against Jews in the West Bank since March. Indeed, on Israel’s own government website, Fatah is repeatedly referred to as a terrorist group. According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “the major terrorist organization operating out of Ramallah is the Fatah…” Yet Israel’s own Prime Minister wishes to talk peace with it.
On a number of occasions, Prime Minister Netanyahu has had photo ops of himself shaking hands with terrorist Yasser Arafat. That was a charade that should never have taken place and should never be reenacted with Arafat’s successor. It was great that Netanyahu, in his speech, was adamant about not creating a terrorist state of Hamastan. He needs to know that a Fatahstan would be nothing more than the same.