WASHINGTON — Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas and his political party Fatah is consistently labeled “moderate” by Western press, European governments, and the Bush Administration. In reality, Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are a fully operational and terrorist organization operating under the clear and published directives of the Fatah constitution, directives that endorse and encourage terrorism. Officially designated as a Foreign Terrorist organization since 2002, Al-Aqsa is responsible for the killing and injuring hundreds of Israeli and American civilians.
The Fatah constitution, readily available online, firmly rejects “moderation” up front, setting forth in its “Essential Principles” that the Palestinian struggle is not and cannot be a political struggle, but violent armed conflict is the “inevitable method” to destroy Israel, and that this is the stated goal of the Party.
(Article 12) Goals “Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military, and cultural existence.”
(Article 19) Method “Armed stuggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease until the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.”
Fatah is often touted as moderate in contrast to Hamas and the Islamist terror group’s open refusal to acknowledge Israel’s existence or right to exist. Hamas is seen as more extremist for its refusal to accept a two-state solution. In reality, the Fatah constitution is quite clear on its rejection of Israel in any form.
The constitution declares Fatah’s armed struggle to be a part of, “the world-wide struggle against Zionism, colonialism and imperialism” and forbids acceptance of any United Nations “project, accords, and resolutions, or those of any individual, that undermine the Palestinians right to their homeland.”
The document wholly rejects the so-called “two-state solution.” Article 22 firmly rejects any such outcome, stating that Fatah is committed to “opposing any political solution offered as an alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation of Palestine, and well as any project intended to liquidate the Palestinian cause or impose any international mandate on its people.”
Abbas stated in an interview on PA television on Oct. 7, 2006 that “Hamas is not required to recognize Israel. It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel.” Abu Ahmed, a senior Fatah member and Al-Aqsa leader explained that Fatah itself has never even officially recognized Israel. “It is the PLO, which is a separate entity, that recognized Israel, and this was a step, a tactical step that had as its goal to bring the resistance and the revolution closer to the lands of Palestine…There is no change in our official position. Fatah as a movement never recognized Israel.”
Efforts to disconnect Fatah from Al-Aqsa are also readily disproved. Documents seized by the Israeli Defense Force established that Yasser Arafat was paying Al-Aqsa forces directly. In a 2004 interview with the Arabic daily, Asharq al-Awsat, Fatah’s Ahmed Qurei, then Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, proclaimed: “We have clearly declared that the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are part of Fatah[.]… We are committed to them and Fatah bears full responsibility for the group.” Qurei maintained that they “will not be dismantled,” and that each of the Brigades’ members had “the right to play a political role within the framework of Fatah.” Abu Ahmed also declared that the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade is “one and the same” with the Fatah party.
Abbas himself publicly endorsed violence in front of thousands of Fatah supporters on Jan 11, 2007, declaring “[W]ith the will and determination of its sons, Fatah has and will continue. We will not give up our principles and we have said that rifles should be directed against the occupation . We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation .” Within two weeks, Al-Aqsa had claimed joint responsibility with Islamic Jihad for the January 29 bombing that resulted in the murder of three Israeli civilians in an Eilat bakery.
The Fatah constitution further declares Zionism to be “racial, colonial and aggressive in its ideology, goals, organization, and method,” and sees the Israeli existence as “a Zionist invasion with a colonial expansive base…” The “liberation of Palestine” is “an Arab, religious and human obligation.”
“Fatah is openly and doctrinally committed to terrorism and the destruction of Israel,” said Morton A. Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America, “The effort by so much of the media and diplomatic corps to present Fatah as ‘moderate’ shows a very troubling eagerness to ignore terrorist acts, public statements and even Fatah’s own governing document in an attempt to continue a so-called ‘peace process’ with Palestinian entities that have no interest in peace.”
Said Klein, “Any sort of final peace with Israel would be in direct violation of both the Hamas charter and the Fatah constitution. Have we seen any effort or even a suggestion that this might change? The answer is, of course, No.”