Is Clinton Soft On Fatah Intransigence?
ZOA in the news
November 24, 2009


At the 1993 Oslo signing ceremony in Washington, President Bill Clinton called the Oslo Accords a “brave gamble.” Actually, Oslo turned out to be a tragic gamble that cost Israel almost more than 1,900 dead and thousands more maimed. The reason: a concessionary policy that ignored continuing Palestinian rejection of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state and support for terrorist violence against her.

Now, however, the Obama administration is doing the same thing again. And it is Barack Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who is pretending that Palestinian terrorism and the incitement to hatred and murder that feeds it is nonexistent or unimportant.

Recently, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) wrote to Clinton, stating that he was “deeply concerned” about Mahmoud Abbas’


August 2009 Fatah Party Conference. He noted that “posters of children brandishing weapons [were displayed] … senior Fatah officials routinely … glorified perpetrators of terrorism … leaders addressing the audience continuously championed the notion that Palestinians maintain the right to commit violence against Israel.”

Accordingly, Specter urged that the $800 million in U.S. aid to the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) be “predicated on at least some level of assurance that the beneficiaries are committed to long-term peace.”

How did Secretary Clinton reply? With a letter of rebuttal to Specter, claiming that the Fatah Conference showed “a broad consensus supporting President Abbas, negotiations with Israel, and the two-state solution.” She also claimed that Abbas and Fatah “reaffirmed” their “strategic choice to support a peaceful resolution of the conflict … some individual Fatah delegates issued problematic texts and statements during the Congress. It is important to note that those texts and statements did not represent Fatah’s official positions.”

Were it only true.

In fact, as the ZOA documented at the time, the conference reaffirmed Fatah’s refusal to accept Israel’s existence as a Jewish state and did not commit itself to a non-violent path. To the contrary, Abbas himself declared that “We maintain the right to launch an armed resistance.” Jailed Fatah terrorist leader, Marwan Barghouti, often touted as future Fatah leader, said “Resistance to the Israeli occupation is a national obligation, and it is a legitimate right.”

Another senior Fatah figure, Fahmi Al-Za’arir, said, “It is not possible to rule out or to marginalize the military option. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades [Fatah’s armed force and a recognized terrorist group under U.S. law] are the jewel in Fatah’s crown.” Yet another senior Fatah official, Jibril Rajoub, declared that “Resistance was and is a tactical and strategic option of the struggle are part of Fatah’s policy.”
These are not merely the unrepresentative views of “some individual Fatah delegates” as Clinton claims — they are unequivocal statements of support for terrorism by senior leaders of Fatah from Abbas down. Moreover, the Fatah platform calls for increased international pressure on Israel and opposes any normalization of relations between Israel and Arab states. It 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.

Moreover, at this conference, Fatah openly 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. Former PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia honored their killers 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.” 

In view of these easily ascertainable facts, Clinton’s response to Specter is deeply worrying.
Ironically, as senator, Clinton distinguished herself by pointing to the poisonous incitement to hatred and murder that permeates the PA. She stated that such incitement would have “dire consequences for peace for generations to come” and that “It is clear that the Palestinian Authority, as we see on PA TV, is complicit” in terrorist attacks. She urged that the U.S. should condition U.S. aid to the PA on a “cessation of Palestinian propaganda and hateful rhetoric.”

Now, however, confronting this matter and in a position to act, Clinton ignores her own insights and advice. Worse, she actually praises Fatah for its commitment to peace.

The time has come for American Jewish and pro-Israel organizations to publicly demand conditioning U.S. aid to the PA on the dismantling of Palestinian terror groups and an end to incitement to hatred and murder in its media, mosques, schools and youth camps.

Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America.


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