Fatah Official: Abbas’ Fatah Doesn’t Recognize Israel
March 19, 2009


Muhammad Dahlan, a senior leader of the Fatah party, which controls the Palestinian Authority (PA) and was co-founded by its current head, PA president Mahmoud Abbas, has openly acknowledged that Fatah does not accept Israel’s existence and has in fact never recognized the Jewish state. Dahlan, who commanded Fatah forces in Gaza until Fatah’s violent eviction from that territory by Hamas in 2007, said on PA television earlier this week, “I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas movement not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel even today.”


Dahlan proceeded to explain that it is only the PA government, not Fatah itself, that recognizes Israel – not out of conviction or sincerity, but in order to receive money from the U.S. and the international community:


“It is not being demanded of Hamas that it recognize Israel. The government must deal with people’s problems … The entire Palestinian economy is dependent on Israel. The government’s role is to manage the day-to-day life of the Palestinian people. I cannot force my thinking and my position [non-recognition of Israel] on the government, and then [were I to do so] – should the Palestinian people pay the price for this position? No. I maintain the position of the Hamas and of the Fatah not to recognize Israel, but the government is required to offer medical treatment, to make education easier and take care of it. It must carry out reconstruction. Do you imagine that Gaza’s reconstruction is possible under the shadow of this political bickering between us and the international community? It’s not the political parties [that must recognize]; it’s required of the government and not of the parties. It’s required of the government but not of Hamas; it’s required of the government but not of the Fatah, so that this government will be able to offer the necessary assistance, to carry out the necessary reconstruction, to offer assistance to the sick, to bring relief to needy families… This can be dealt with [only] by a government that has relations with the international community, one that is acceptable to the international community, in order that we can work together and benefit from the international community.”(‘Fatah still refuses to recognize Israel, 2009,’ Palestinian Media Watch Video, Youtube, March 17, 2009).


This is but the latest admission of the glaring deception and contradiction of the official PA line in the West that Fatah has accepted Israel whereas in fact it constitute the controlling party of the PA and has repeatedly avowed that it does not accept Israel’s existence. Abbas himself disclosed this deception openly in a 2006 PA television Arabic language interview when he said:


 “It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel, all right? The PLO, in 1993, recognized Israel. As Israel recognized the PLO. Every person has the right to say ‘I do not recognize,’ okay? It’s your right. It is the right of every organization. But the government which will be formed, and which will function opposite the Israelis on a daily basis… every hour and perhaps every second, there will be contact between Palestinian ministers and Israeli ministers. And I ask – how can this government, or these ministers, not recognize their counterparts, and then solve people’s problems?” [Abbas then gives an example of 500 million dollars in taxes intended for the Palestinians, but put on hold by Israelis. The Palestinian finance minister has to come to an agreement with the Israeli finance minister regarding the transfer of that money.] “So how can he make an agreement with him if he does not recognize him? “So I do not demand of Hamas nor any other [organizations] to recognize Israel. But from the government that works with Israelis in day to day life, yes.” (Itamar Marcus & Barbara Crook, ‘Abbas dupes US: “Recognition” is functional, not inherent,’ Palestinian Media Watch, October 5, 2006).


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “For the ZOA, Dahlan’s latest admission on PA TV does not come as any sort of surprise. On the contrary, we have been drawing attention for years to the duplicity of Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah. In particular, we have highlighted innumerable times Abbas’ own 2006 admission that Fatah has not in reality accepted Israel and that the PA only formally does so for the purpose of receiving international aid and Israeli concessions. We have also stressed the fact that the Fatah Constitution remains unaltered and therefore still calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism as an indispensible element in the strategy to achieve this goal (Article 19). It is also noteworthy that before, during and since the 2007 Annapolis conference, Abbas and other senior PA officials explicitly repudiated accepting Israel as a Jewish state.


“Under these prevailing conditions, there is no legitimate reason to even suspect that Fatah accepts Israel, let alone that it means to conclude a serious and durable peace agreement that accepts the permanence of Israel as a Jewish state. All the diplomatic flurry for a peace settlement negotiated with Abbas’ PA is simply an illusion built on sand. 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.”


“Any of the U.S. aid $900 million aid for the Palestinians slated for the PA, as well as negotiations with the PA, should be conditioned on Mahmoud Abbas repudiating Dahlan and explicitly and clearly stating his acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state.”


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