The Conference was opened by former PA prime minister Ahmed Qureia, now head of Fatahs Department for Recruitment and Organization, with the words In the name of shahids (martyrs, i.e. dead terrorists). PA president Abbas also made clear that there was no change in Fatahs belief in the righteousness of terrorism, saying, We maintain the right to launch an armed resistance, which is legitimate as far as international law is concerned.
Thus, Fatah honored terrorists, including Khaled Abu-Isbah and Dalal Mughrabi, responsible for the 1978 coastal road bus hijacking, in which 37 Israelis, including 12 children, were slaughtered. Qureia honored them by declaring, We have in our midst the hero Khaled Abu-Isbah, hero of the operation [terror attack] led by the Shahida [Martyr] Dalal Mughrabi [loud applause from the audience]. We salute him and welcome him. And [we salute] the hero, the Shahida (Martyr) Dalal. [He shouts:] All the glory! All the glory! All the glory! All the sisters here are Dalals sisters (PA TV (Fatah), August 4, 2009, translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch, Hani Levi Julian, Fatah Leaders Applaud Bloodthirsty Terrorists at Convention, Israel National News, August 5, 2009).
Other statements by senior Fatah figures at or about the Conference:
· Marwan Al-Barghouti, the jailed Fatah terrorist chief: Resistance to the Israeli occupation is a national obligation, and it is a legitimate right. Some weeks earlier, he said that Fatah believes in a combination of all forms of struggle, and it will not abandon, thwart, or rule out any form of struggle We in Fatah think that political activity and negotiations complement resistance, and harvest its fruits.
· Fatah spokesman Fahmi Al-Zaarir: It is not possible to rule out or to marginalize the military option. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades [Fatahs armed force and a recognized terrorist group] are the jewel in Fatahs crown … We know that every warrior has a [period of] rest 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.
· Fatah senior official Jibril Rajoub: Resistance was and is a tactical and strategic option of the struggle are part of Fatah`s policy.
· Fatah senior Husam Khader: Fatah has not changed its national identity, and it retains the option of resistance and armed struggle.
ZOA Executive Director Gary Ratner said, The unreconstructed extremism of Fatah has been decisively reiterated at this conference. It is clear that Fatah still does not accept Israels existence as a Jewish state, that it seeks its destruction, that it demands the so-called right of return whereby Israel would be inundated with Palestinian refugees of the 1948 war and their millions of descendants and that it will not conclude the conflict even were a peace agreement to be signed.
But all this should not surprise. Fatah has never formally recognized Israel. It has never revised its Constitution, which calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism as an indispensible element in the struggle to achieve that goal (Article 19). Indeed, Abbas has often stated that Fatah does not accept Israel, as in April when he declared, I say this clearly: I do not accept the Jewish State, call it what you will. That is why Abbas has now told the conference that Fatah retains the alleged right to murder and maim Israelis.
In short, terrorism is merely one of several means that Fatah uses and which it glorified yet again at this conference, which was festooned with posters of Palestinian youth carrying rifles.
The Fatah platform also calls for increased international pressure on Israel, opposes any normalization of relations between Israel and Arab states, and refuses to declare that Fatah has no further demands from Israel beyond a peace settlement. The platform also calls for a strategic channel with Iran to be opened at a time Iran is defying the world by seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.
Tragically, Fatahs glorification of terrorism and the goal of removing Israel is not mere rhetoric. The PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps inculcate this ideology in the next generation. Thus, at a recent high gradual graduation, students chanted such slogans as, In the name of the Shahids (Martyrs), in the name of the prisoners, in the name of the stone and the rifle and in the name of Palestine: Haifa, Acre, Jaffa, and our Arab Jerusalem giving a clear picture of the nature and content of Fatahs indoctrination.
ZOA agrees with Israeli cabinet minister Yuli Edelstein when he says that the latest Fatah platform is a declaration of war. We must not act as if we havent heard. We must emerge from the circle of illusions that these are moderates who want peace.
Basically, the Fatah Conference is a fraud and mockery of peace. Not only has the Palestinian leadership never fulfilled its 16-year-old commitments to accept Israel and end terrorism and the incitement to hatred and murder that feeds it, but it has no intention of doing so. There must be therefore an end to all negotiations, rewards and concessions to Abbas Fatah-controlled PA until and unless this platform is revoked and the PA fulfills its signed commitments.