In a March 21, 2017 article in the Palestinian daily Al-Quds, Fatah Central Committee member ‘Abbas Zaki wrote that nothing has changed since the 1967 defeat. Therefore, he said, Fatah must mobilize its tens of thousands of members and launch a popular resistance campaign against Israel, which all the other Palestinian factions will then join. He claimed that Fatah already did this in the past, after 1967, when its resistance operations “restored the Arab nation’s hope and realized the Palestinian legitimacy,” because “the sword is ever aimed [at the enemy] and the rifle comes before the olive branch.” He called on the Palestinian officials to continue pursuing Israel in international courts and to put the good of the homeland before their personal interests, as the “generation of pioneers” did.
The following are excerpts from his article:‘Abbas Zaki (image: Al-Quds, Jerusalem)
“How similar our current time is to yesteryear. In the June 1967 [war] we suffered defeat, and the [West] Bank, Sinai, and the Golan fell into Israeli hands. The leader of the [Arab] ummah, [Gamal] ‘Abd Al-Nasser, [felt] compelled to resign from his position and become a private citizen, [but] the public came out and stopped him from doing this. He had a high measure of national honor and people like him do not accept defeat, in accordance with his eternal slogan: What was taken by force cannot be restored by anything other than force, and therefore he decided on a war of attrition [against Israel].
“At the time, a message was sent to Fatah in Damascus that read: Oh, boys of Fatah, mobilize and fight, even by starting fires. If you don’t do this, Arab banners will never be raised [in these lands]. The leader of our path and the commander of our revolution, Yasser Arafat, took the hint and left for the occupied lands immediately – crossing the Syria-Jordan border and reaching the [Jordan] valley. The [deputy] commander of [Fatah’s] Al-‘Asifa unit, Abu Sabri Saidam, also followed suit. From there they crossed the Jordan River to the place their hearts yearned for – to Palestine, which is suffering the wound of the occupation and the disappointments of defeat…
“Fatah restored the nation’s hope and realized the Palestinian legitimacy by [creating] the PLO framework and with other achievements that cannot be downplayed. Despite the ups and downs, the sword remains aimed [at the enemy] and the rifle comes before the olive branch, while [Fatah] is showing the entire world that the Palestinian people are heroes who will never surrender or bend; that the smallest geographic region [can] occupy the world’s decision-makers; and that the Palestinian issue is the strongest card in the equation of Middle East conflicts…
“[We] require the awakening and practical action of tens of thousands of Fatah activists, [who must] join the civil popular resistance against the settlers and occupation forces, and their number will double once they are joined by national and Islamic parties and organizations, and by the entire public of our mighty people. For what unites the Palestinians is the struggle rather than the dialogue [with Israel], [a dialogue] which has already lost its effectiveness on all tracks. If the sweeping [masses] block the bypass roads [leading to the Israeli settlements in the West bank], Israel and the settlers will not remain [in the West Bank] because their presence there is motivated by their freedom [of movement] and an absence of resistance to their presence there as imperialists who occupy our Palestinian land.
“The government and the [PLO] Executive Committee need to pursue Israel in international courts for its ongoing crimes, presenting everything related to these issues: the settlements; the prisoners; the destruction of the foundations of Palestinian life; the crimes of arson, murder and demolition of homes, and the denial of our people’s freedom. [All this in order] to place Israel on the list [of countries that practice] apartheid, as the report of the [UN’s] Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia [ESCWA] stated – and we cherish the role played by [the commission’s former head,] Rima Khalaf, in this – and in order to place Jerusalem… at the top of the priority list of Palestinian missions on the economic level, and support the steadfast position and all needs of life in a manner befitting [Jerusalem’s] status as the eternal capital of Palestine and its spiritual status in the world.
“In order to belong to the generation of pioneers at this difficult phase, we must be loyal to the oath of devoting our time, money, and spirit to the homeland… and make sure that those who are concerned with the Palestinian cause will win out over those who seek privileges at the expense of the homeland… [All this] in order to fulfill our national dream of return and the establishment of an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital and our people’s right to self-determination. Each of us should ask himself what proof he can give that we are following in the footsteps of the great ones in order to rally our public – which is water and life, and the recipient of future rights. Long live the memory, the glory of the martyrs, and the freedom for prisoners.”
 Al-Quds (Jerusalem), March 21, 2017.