Archive for the ‘Palestinian Authority’ category

Fatah Official: We Should Launch Popular Resistance Against Israel Because What Unites Us Is The Struggle Against It, Not Dialogue With It

March 22, 2017

Fatah Official: We Should Launch Popular Resistance Against Israel Because What Unites Us Is The Struggle Against It, Not Dialogue With It, MEMRI, March 22, 2017

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:[1]

‘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.”

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[1] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), March 21, 2017.

Palestinians: Abbas’s Empty Promises

March 20, 2017

Palestinians: Abbas’s Empty Promises, Gatestone Institute, Khaled Abu Toameh, March 20, 2017

Abbas’s modus operandi is to flee from his problems at home by presenting himself to the international community as a leader who seeks peace. With every lick of the flames that threaten to engulf his palace of deception, the 82-year-old Abbas runs to seek sympathy among world leaders and international public opinion. Abbas’s promises of peace are as empty as the political sway he parades to his Western donors.

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Notably, these calls in favor of an armed struggle against Israel were coming from the streets of Ramallah and not the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Abbas can make all the promises in the world to the new US envoy. Fulfillment of any of them, however, is a different story altogether.

Abbas knows anyhow that he would never be able to win the support of a majority of Palestinians for any peace agreement he signs with Israel. No Palestinian leader is authorized to offer any concessions to Israel in return for peace.

On the eve of US envoy Jason Greenblatt’s visit to Ramallah last week, hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the city, calling on Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to resign. The protesters also condemned the ongoing security cooperation between the PA and Israel.

“Listen, listen to us, Abbas; collect your dogs and leave us alone,” the Palestinian protesters chanted during what has been described as the largest anti-Abbas demonstration in Ramallah in recent years. They also called for the abrogation of the Oslo Accords with Israel, and denounced Abbas as a “coward” and an agent of the Americans.

It is not clear if Greenblatt had been aware of the large anti-Abbas demonstration, which came in protest against PA security forces’ violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in Ramallah a few days earlier.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (right) meets with US envoy Jason Greenblatt (left), in Ramallah, on March 14, 2017. (Image source: NTDTV video screenshot)

At that protest, PA security officers used excessive force to disperse Palestinians who were demonstrating against the PA’s decision to prosecute four Palestinians for illegal possession of weapons. PA security forces arrested — and later released — the four suspects, although they had reportedly planned to carry out an attack against Israelis. One of the suspects, Basel Al-Araj, was killed in an armed clash with Israeli soldiers. (Al-Araj was wanted by Israel for planning an attack on Israelis. When Israeli soldiers surrounded the house where he was hiding, he opened fire from at them before he was killed.)

The killing of Al-Araj and the PA’s decision to prosecute his friends triggered the first protest that was brutally suppressed by the PA security forces. The second demonstration in Ramallah, a few days later, came in response to the excessive use of force by the PA security forces against the protesters.

The protests in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians, are yet another sign of growing discontent among Palestinians with Abbas and his autocratic regime. The Palestinians are particularly enraged over the Palestinian Authority’s security coordination with Israel, which is primarily aimed at combating terrorism and preventing Hamas from seizing control over the West Bank.

Yet this was far from a simple a protest against Abbas and his security forces. It was also a rallying cry for pursuing with further vigor the armed struggle against Israel.

“No to peace and no to all the nonsense, we want bullets and rockets,” some of the protesters chanted. Notably, these calls in favor of an armed struggle against Israel were coming from the streets of Ramallah and not the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The protests also reflect Palestinians’ rejection of the so-called peace process with Israel. In addition to the calls on Abbas to step down, the protesters demanded as well that the PA leadership cancel all agreements with Israel, first and foremost the Oslo Accords.

In other words, Palestinians are trying extremely hard to get their message across: Israel is our enemy, not our peace partner.

In a desperate bid to contain the growing resentment on the Palestinian street, Abbas ordered an inquiry into the police violence against the Ramallah protesters. In that episode, journalists and lawyers, too, were among those who were brutally beaten by Abbas’s security officers.

Still, many Palestinians voiced skepticism about Abbas’s intentions, and pointed out that previous commissions of inquiry into police violence have rarely led to punitive measures against those responsible. “The formation of a commission of inquiry into the police violence is another attempt by Abbas to contain the anger of the Palestinian street and avoid an intifada against his regime,” remarked a Palestinian journalist in Ramallah. “Abbas’s Zionist Palestinian Authority poses a threat to the Palestinian cause.”

As Abbas was meeting with the US envoy, a public opinion poll published in Ramallah showed that a majority of 64% of Palestinians would like to see their president resign. Another 61% of Palestinians expressed dissatisfaction with Abbas’s performance. The poll also found that if presidential elections were held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would receive the same percentage of votes as Abbas.

None of this — not the protests of rage and not the Palestinians’ expressions of disgust — appears to bother Abbas.

This is a president who seems utterly unconnected to reality — namely that a large number of Palestinians are disillusioned with him and see him as a puppet in the hands of Israel and the US. For now, he does not seem to care what his people think about him. But in the long run, he would never be able to deliver on any peace process with Israel without the backing of his people. Like his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, he does not want to go down in history as a “traitor” who sold out to Israel and the Jews.

Abbas, whose four-year-term term in office expired back in January 2009, is reported to have told the US envoy that a “historic” peace deal with Israel is possible. According to a statement released by the US Consulate in Jerusalem, Abbas also “committed to preventing inflammatory rhetoric and incitement (against Israel).”

So here is a Palestinian leader mouthing off about a “historic” deal with Israel, while only a few hundred meters away his people have made their message of rejection — of him and of peace — clear as a bell.

In a further irony, here is a Palestinian leader talking about preventing incitement while he and his media outlets and senior officials still spearhead a campaign to delegitimize and isolate Israel.

Just this week, Abbas decided to decorate for “bravery” senior UN official Rima Khalaf for publishing a controversial report that accuses Israel of “apartheid.” Khalaf has become a hero in the eyes of many Palestinians because of her report and subsequent resignation.

Abbas’s foreign minister, Riad Malki, has meanwhile voiced outrage over the UN secretary-general’s decision to drop the “apartheid” report (the reason Khalaf resigned). Malki said that the PA leadership has instructed all its embassies and representatives around the world to distribute the report as evidence of Israeli “crimes” against the Palestinians.

Abbas’s pledge to prevent inflammatory rhetoric against Israel seems to have missed his editors and journalists.

Take, for example, the Palestinian Authority-controlled media’s response to last week’s Jerusalem marathon. In the PA media, the sports event is depicted as part of Israel’s scheme to “Judaize” Jerusalem and change the “Arab and Islamic character” of the city.

In addition, Abbas’s media continues to portray visits by Jews to the Temple Mount as “provocative invasions” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Jewish visitors are described as “settler gangs” who carry out “suspicious tours” of Islamic religious sites. It is precisely this kind of terminology that is driving many Palestinians to carry out stabbings and car-rammings against Israelis.

Abbas can make all the promises in the world to the new US envoy. Fulfillment of any of them, however, is a different story altogether.

Abbas has had multiple opportunities to reach a “historic” deal with Israel, yet he has never delivered. Quite the contrary: he has repeatedly rejected offers for holding direct talks with Israel, insisting instead on pursuing his campaign to internationalize the conflict with the hope of imposing a solution on Israel.

Abbas knows anyhow that he would never be able to win the support of a majority of Palestinians for any peace agreement he signs with Israel. No Palestinian leader is authorized to offer any concessions to Israel in return for peace.

The “cordial” and “positive” meeting with the new US envoy will change nothing — certainly not Abbas’s stripes.

Abbas’s modus operandi is to flee from his problems at home by presenting himself to the international community as a leader who seeks peace. With every lick of the flames that threaten to engulf his palace of deception, the 82-year-old Abbas runs to seek sympathy among world leaders and international public opinion. Abbas’s promises of peace are as empty as the political sway he parades to his Western donors.

Israel Targets Palestinian Gun Makers

March 10, 2017

Israel Targets Palestinian Gun Makers, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Yaakov Lappin, March 10, 2017

At first glance, the bridal gown shop in the Palestinian city of Nablus appeared innocuous. But behind the scenes, Israeli intelligence says, the store served as a front for a major West Bank gun parts distribution center.

“Components for weapons were continuously being sold out of there,” a senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) source told The Investigative Project on Terrorism.

The store turned out to be part of a wide network of weapons dealers who had imported their lethal goods by ordering them on the internet, the IDF stated this week.

Nine suspects, including the store owner, are in custody, and additional members of the weapons trafficking ring remain at large. “They came from all walks of life and from varied layers of Palestinian society,” the source stated.

Since mid-2016, the IDF has been engaged in an intensive, large-scale campaign to seize as many firearms circulating in the West Bank as possible to prevent them from falling into the hands of terrorists.

A growing number of such firearms have been used in deadly attacks, such as the Sarona Market shooting in Tel Aviv last June in which two Palestinian gunmen murdered four people in a restaurant. The gunmen used locally produced automatic rifles, dubbed ‘Carlos’ due to their resemblance to the Carl Gustav Swedish sub-machine gun.

While the latest wave of arrests focused on traders who used the internet to import gun parts, most of those on the IDF’s target list manufacture and assemble guns in local workshops. Seven such workshops have been shut down since the start of 2017, and 84 guns have been seized by Israeli security forces, according to figures made available by the IDF.

“The terrorist threat picture has changed. In the past, the main threat was posed by organized, institutional organizations,” the senior security source said. “For the most part, these were hierarchical terror cells, with a clear division of labor. There was someone responsible for financing, someone else had the designated job of transporting the suicide bomber or gunman, etc. This threat still exists. Hamas is trying to organize such cells all of the time. But the main challenge these days comes from terrorists that we do not have prior knowledge about.”

Lone attackers, or small, localized cells with no organizational affiliation or background of security offenses, are far harder for intelligence services to detect, and these are just the type of terrorists who are likely to use firearms available in their surroundings. These types of attackers, some of whom have suicidal tendencies or personal crises, according to the source, often will attempt simple attacks, using whatever is at their disposal. This can take the form of knife or vehicle attacks, or picking up locally available weapons.

Guns in the West Bank can be purchased by Palestinians for many reasons; whether for personal protection, to defend families and clans, to fire at wedding celebrations, or to reinforce one’s sense of ego.

As long as the guns are cheap and affordable, the source warned, “anyone can get [them]. Many of the shootings cells we captured in the West Bank were armed with these types of weapons.”

A year ago, a locally produced Carlo rifle cost around 2,300 shekels in the West Bank, meaning that Palestinians could purchase it with a single month’s salary, or take the money from family members, before moving ahead with an attack.

“The Sarona Market gunmen had no outside financial support, but still managed to get their hands on their firearms. The suits they wore [to disguise their identities] cost more than their guns,” the source said.

“This is why we are in the midst of an intensive campaign targeting the manufacturing and trade of weapons and gun parts. Even if I can’t get rid of the illegal weapons phenomenon, I can make them less accessible, and much harder to traffic in them.”

The increased Israeli pressure makes it more difficult to obtain guns, and increases the odds of catching people before they can attack. They have to leave their village or neighborhood and move around with the firearms where they can be caught and intercepted by the IDF. “People will fear more getting caught and moving around with these firearms,” the source said.

The Palestinian Authority would also like to see these guns taken off the streets, the source said, since it encourages lawlessness and anarchy in some areas that pose challenges to its rule.

Nablus, Balata Camp (next to Nablus), and Hebron are gun manufacturing focal points, according to IDF assessments. In addition, areas like Ramallah, Kalandia, and Palestinian neighborhoods on the outskirts of Jerusalem have workshops that take air or toy guns and convert them into real firearms using stolen components.

Thefts from IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians, as well as trade with Israeli weapons traffickers who do not care where the guns end up provide other sources of terrorist arms.

Efforts by security forces to stem the tide were beginning to pay dividends, the source said. Today, a Carlo gun costs more than 6,000 shekels, as numbers dwindle.

“With time, we are seeing improvements,” he said. “We are seizing more than we did in the past, and our intelligence techniques have improved, so that we can capture guns not only in homes, but also in the manufacturing locations, and when they are moved around. This is a campaign. No single incident will stamp out the problem. So long as the profit from this trade is big enough compared to the fear of arrest or facing raids, many Palestinians will continue to be active in it. ”

Ultimately, he said, “over time, we will seek to decrease the number of guns and keep raising the price. This will result in less terrorists getting their hands on them, and resorting to less lethal attack forms, such as knife attacks. Our soldiers’ alertness [to knife attacks] means such attacks produce less casualties – meaning that our effort will boost security.”

Facebook enables Fatah terror promotion by reopening their terror promoting page

March 3, 2017

Facebook enables Fatah terror promotion  by reopening their terror promoting page, Palestinian Media Watch, Itamar Marcus, March 2, 2017

pal1

 

pal2[Official Fatah Facebook page, April 20, 2016]

Three days ago, Facebook shut down Fatah’s terror promoting account. The Palestinian Authority protested the closure as evidence of unfair collaboration between Israel and Facebook against the Palestinians (see below). Yesterday, Facebook reinstated the account, without removing any of the terror promoting material that is regularly posted on the page by Fatah. In 2016 alone, Palestinian Media Watch documented over 130 posts glorifying individual terrorist murderers and terror attacks, and posts encouraging violence and terror.

The following are examples of the terror and murder promotion that Facebook has reopened for public viewing:

video produced by Fatah’s student movement at Birzeit University urges Palestinians to murder Israelis and seek Martyrdom by carrying out stabbing and car ramming attacks. The video shows a staged car-ramming and stabbing attack at a checkpoint near Ramallah. [Official Fatah Facebook page, April 20, 2016]

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Fatah expressed pride in the first Palestinian female suicide bomber Wafa Idris, who murdered 1 and wounded over 100 in 2002: “Her pure body exploded into pieces in the Zionists` faces” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Jan. 27, 2017]

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Fatah posted an image encouraging stabbing Jews on its Facebook page, at the beginning of the 2015-2016 terror wave. The image depicts a religious Jew screaming in pain with a knife stuck in his shoulder, accompanied by the text: “Here is Jerusalem, you crazies, beware!” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Oct. 4, 2015]

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A Fatah student movement election campaign poster showed a bloody knife shaped as the PA map of “Palestine”. Text on poster: “Plant it [the knife] in the heart of your enemy.” [Official Fatah Facebook page, Apr. 26, 2016]

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Fatah celebrated murdering 116 Israelis, when it bragged about its “10 most outstanding operations” and “10 most outstanding operations during the Intifada” in two separate posts [Official Fatah Facebook page, Dec. 16, 17, 2016]

PA accuses Facebook of bias

Before Facebook reopened Fatah’s page, the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information complained that the closure was due to an “an agreement” between Facebook and Israel:

“The [PA] Ministry [of Information] emphasized in a statement… that the targeting of… Palestinian national platforms on social media constitutes blind bias in favor of the occupation and a violation of the international conventions and decisions. It also constitutes additional proof of an agreement – whose existence Facebook has been denying for a long time – between its administration and the freedom oppressing occupier (i.e., Israel).”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

Reacting to the closure of Fatah’s page, Head of Information at the Fatah Commission of Mobilization and Organization Munir Al-Jaghoub, who manages Fatah’s Facebook page, emphasized that Fatah “will establish an alternative page and new accounts,” and complained pages of “settlers” and “ISIS” have not been shut down:

“There are Facebook pages of settlers who post pictures of weapons and weapon training, and [Facebook] does not oppose them. The Facebook administration claims that it is not receiving complaints about these pages. This is in addition to the pages of ISIS, which every day post scenes of murder, slaughter, and weapons, and which have approximately a quarter of a million followers – and they are not closed or blocked… This page belongs to the [Palestinian] National Liberation Movement (i.e., Fatah), not a gang. It has had historical glory since the day of its founding.”

[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

The following are longer excerpts of the responses to Facebook’s closure of Fatah’s page:

Headline: “The [PA] Ministry of Information: Facebook’s supervision of our forums is bias in favor of the occupation”<

“The [PA] Ministry of Information said that the fact that the Facebook administration closed the Fatah Movement’s official page and the page of a private radio station constitutes blind bias in favor of the occupation, and siding with the hangman who creates terror and spreads hate through all the means and pictures day and night.<

The ministry emphasized in a statement today, Tuesday [Feb. 28, 2017], that the targeting of the media platforms and Palestinian national platforms on social media constitutes blind bias in favor of the occupation and a violation of the international conventions and decisions. It also constitutes additional proof of an agreement – whose existence Facebook has been denying for a long time – between its administration and the freedom oppressing occupier (i.e., Israel) who disdains the international conventions.

The ministry added that the Facebook administration closed the Fatah Movement’s official page and the page of a media outlet, which was a victim of ongoing incitement and acts of terror by the Israeli occupation army against its employees. This requires its administration (i.e., Facebook’s) to clarify its steps, so as not to be perceived as one that follows the path of the occupation and violates the standards of individual and public freedoms…

The ministry called on the site’s administration to take back the unfair decision, as one who spreads freedom of speech and thought and defends its platforms in the world cannot support the occupation and side with racism and dark terror that expels the people of Palestine who is thirsty for its freedom.”

[WAFA, official PA news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

Headline: “A picture of late President Arafat causes the closure of the Fatah Movement’s Facebook page”

“The ‘Facebook’ social media administration closed the Fatah Movement’s page on the site. According to the movement, the Facebook administration notified it that the reason for the closure was the posting of a picture of late President Yasser Arafat, in which he is seen holding a Kalashnikov rifle that had been in the possession of an Israeli soldier – after [the soldier] was captured in Beirut in the ’80s – and next to him [current Fatah Deputy Chairman and] leadership member Mahmoud Al-Aloul.

Head of information at the Fatah Movement Bureau (sic., Commission) of Mobilization and Organization Munir Al-Jaghoub told the [independent Palestinian] news agency Wattan: ‘The Facebook administration closed the page, which has approximately 70,000 followers, and said that the reason for the closure was that the picture contradicts Facebook’s standards.’ He added that ‘The admin pages that manage this page were blocked for a period of 30 days.’

Al-Jaghoub noted that they were warned by the Facebook administration that the page would be removed if they continued to post pictures like this, and said: ‘In the past approximately four warnings reached us before [the page] was closed today [Feb. 28, 2017].’

He responded to the closure by saying: ‘There are Facebook pages of settlers who post pictures of weapons and weapon training, and [Facebook] does not oppose them. The Facebook administration claims that it is not receiving complaints about these pages. This is in addition to the pages of ISIS, which every day post scenes of murder, slaughter, and weapons, and which have approximately a quarter of a million followers – and they are not closed or blocked.’

Al-Jaghoub continued: ‘This page belongs to the [Palestinian] National Liberation Movement (i.e., Fatah), not a gang. It has had historical glory since the day of its founding.’

He also emphasized that they will establish an alternative page and new accounts, as this is the second time that the movement’s page was closed; approximately a year and a half ago the Facebook administration closed this page when it had 200,000 followers.”
[Wattan, independent Palestinian news agency, Feb. 28, 2017]

PLO Ambassador To Iran: We Will Liberate Palestine ‘From The River To The Sea’ – With Everything From Stabbing And Vehicular Attacks To Launching Rockets

March 2, 2017

PLO Ambassador To Iran: We Will Liberate Palestine ‘From The River To The Sea’ – With Everything From Stabbing And Vehicular Attacks To Launching Rockets, MEMRI, March 2, 2017

“Providing a political analysis of what is happening with the Palestinian cause today, Al-Zawawi said: ‘We are not facing an ordinary enemy, or a small-scale plan. Rather, we are fighting the most dangerous international plan, especially after the U.S. adopted the [idea the Palestinians must recognize Israel as] a Jewish state. The U.S. transitioned from one phase to the next, fully aware of what its next step will be, and we were deceived.’ He added: ‘The ethnic and sectarian conflicts taking place today – their purpose is to take over and dismantle the region’s resources and spark wars among the Arabs in order to distance them from Palestine – [all this] promotes the establishment of Greater Israel.’

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A March 1, 2017 article in the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar about PLO Ambassador to Iran Salah Al-Zawawi included excerpts of an interview with him focusing on the PLO-Iran relationship. Al-Zawawi also stressed in the interview that armed struggle using all means was a legitimate path to liberating Palestine “from the river to the sea.”

It should be noted that on February 19, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that “the ambassador of the state of Palestine in Iran, Salah Al-Zawawi” would be part of the Palestinian delegation to the Sixth International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada, held in Tehran on February 21,[1] and that the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website also lists him as Palestine’s ambassador to Iran.[2]

Following are excerpts from the article, including statements by Al-Zawawi:

alzawawiSalah Al-Zawawi at the the Sixth International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada (image: Tasnim, Iran, February 21, 2017)

“In February 1981, the late [Palestinian Authority (PA)] president Yasser Arafat appointed Salah Al-Zawawi as PLO envoy to Tehran, after the late Hani Al-Hassan retired and left for Beirut. Following the signing of the Oslo Accords between the PLO and the Zionist enemy, Iran refused to recognize the PA that was born of this agreement, and also rejected the replacement of Al-Zawawi and the appointment of a new ambassador. Thus, Al-Zawawi remained in office, and has spent the past 32 years of his life in Tehran.

“Al-Zawawi reminisced about the opening of the [PLO] embassy [in Tehran], which was attended by Abu ‘Ammar [Arafat], [then-PLO ambassador to Tehran] Hani Al-Hassan, Ahmad Khomeini [son of the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ruhollah Khomeini], and former Iranian foreign minister Ebrahim Yazdi. During it, [he said], the Palestinian flag was raised over the former Israeli Embassy building. He expressed his pride in the fact that Arafat was the first official to visit Tehran, and added: ‘After the victory of the Imam Khomeini’s revolution, Arafat said: “Starting today, my front stretches from Tyre to Khorasan…” [Al-Zawawi added:] ‘Palestine-Iran relations run deeper than any political differences the two sides face, and even after the PLO’s recognition of Israel, ties between the two revolutions remain…’

“Underlining the [PLO-Iran] relations that have existed since time immemorial, Al-Zawawi said: ‘Our relationship with the Imam Khomeini began back when he was still in exile. The Imam’s revolution [i.e. Iran’s Islamic Revolution] was based on two main foundations: Islam, and Palestine [including Jerusalem, which is], the first direction of prayer [for Muslims, and the location of] the third-most important mosque [Al-Aqsa]. Once the Imam Khomeini’s revolution had triumphed, he said: Today Iran, and tomorrow Palestine, and added: Without restoring Palestine, Iran’s independence will remain lacking as well.’ Al-Zawawi added: ‘The Imam [Khomeini] adopted our [Palestinian] revolution when he was in the [Iraqi] city of Al-Najaf, which is holy [to Shi’ites], and it was then also that he issued his historic fatwa regarding the transfer of zakat [alms] and one-fifth [of a person’s income] to the Palestinian fighters who risk their lives.’

“Al-Zawawi speaks lovingly of Khomeini, saying: ‘The Imam would see in his mind’s eye the future of Palestine, and he declared the last Friday of Ramadan to be International Qods [Jerusalem] Day, [because] he could see what [ordinary] people do not see.’ [Al-Zawawi continues:]I look at the dark days we live in now: the Zionist enemy is attempting to swallow up the West Bank, annex Jerusalem, and see it as the capital of the Zionist entity. This is in addition to [the Zionists] stepping up settlement construction and allowing [themselves] to harm Al-Aqsa mosque.’

“The Palestinian ambassador likes repeating the history of [Palestinian-Iranian] ties even prior to the victory of the Islamic Revolution [in Iran]. He stresses that most Iranian commanders were trained at Fatah camps in Lebanon, that some of them died as martyrs fighting alongside Palestinian fighters and are still on the list of Palestinian martyr families, and that [Fatah] continues to pay allowances to their families in Iran.

“[Al-Zawawi continues:] ‘The Iranian ideological compass is linked to Palestine, so that wherever you go in Iran, you will find a street or monument named for Palestine. In the holiest site for [Shi’ite] Islam, that is, the seat of the [Eighth Shi’ite] Imam Ali Al-Ridha in Mashhad, there is a large courtyard, the Al-Quds Courtyard, that features a model of the Dome of the Rock, and after every prayer the Iranians chant anti-U.S. and anti-Israel slogans…’

“The Palestinian ambassador was careful to mention anything [that the Palestinians have] in common with Iran, saying: ‘We are facing a U.S.-run Western plan, which will not end except through combat and jihad, carried out by all means. The regime here was established on the basis of Islam and the Shi’ite sect, and we as a movement connect to it in the martyrdom aspects of Karbala and Hussein. The Imam Hussein’s rebellion is a fundamental matter in the Shi’ite conscience, and the principle of the victory of the bloody sword underlines that the few can also triumph [over the many], and that those with few weapons can defeat those with an abundance of them…’

“[Al-Zawawi], one of the most veteran Palestinian diplomats, does not deny [that there are Palestinian] disagreements with Iran, but [explains that] ‘every side has to understand the other side’s tendencies, and we must fight to liberate Palestine. For our people in the 1948 territories [meaning Israeli Arabs], a different kind of fighting is needed than the kind needed for the people of the West Bank, and the West Bank requires a different kind of fighting than Gaza. [Additionally,] there is the diplomatic struggle.’ He added: ‘Certainly, everyone should fight in their own way, from carrying out stabbing and vehicular attacks to launching rockets. That is how we will liberate Palestine from the river to the sea… Some [types of?] jihad aredictated by geography, and everyone should contribute from where they are, using the means at their disposal and in accordance with their various situations. All means of combat are legitimate in order to realize Allah’s promise for liberation: From [the traditional dance] Dabke to armed struggle.’

“Providing a political analysis of what is happening with the Palestinian cause today, Al-Zawawi said: ‘We are not facing an ordinary enemy, or a small-scale plan. Rather, we are fighting the most dangerous international plan, especially after the U.S. adopted the [idea the Palestinians must recognize Israel as] a Jewish state. The U.S. transitioned from one phase to the next, fully aware of what its next step will be, and we were deceived.’ He added: ‘The ethnic and sectarian conflicts taking place today – their purpose is to take over and dismantle the region’s resources and spark wars among the Arabs in order to distance them from Palestine – [all this] promotes the establishment of Greater Israel.’

“The Palestinian ambassador no longer believes in the Oslo Accords. Moreover, he says: ‘When the PLO signed the agreement, a Palestinian state was supposed to be established in the West Bank and Gaza in 1999, but it did not happen.’ Eighteen years have passed since then, and therefore Al-Zawawi determines that Israel and the U.S. will not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state. He said decisively: ‘Oslo is bankrupt. U.S. President Donald Trump is the Zionist face of this enterprise. Additionally, the futility of dialogue with the enemy is now becoming clear.’

“For the Palestinian ambassador, the internal [i.e. intra-Palestinian] division adds fuel to the fire: ‘Can you believe how divided we are and how we are unable to unite[?] I do not accept any excuses whatsoever [for this] from the factions.’ He added: ‘At this time, we have no choice but to unite because the enemy is taking advantage of our division to Judaize Palestine, which is slipping away before our very eyes.’

“As for the Sixth Conference to Support the Palestinian Intifada, he believes that it expresses Iran’s commitment to the Palestinians: ‘The belief of fellowship [between us and the Iranians] is known to all. [The Iranians] are the bearers of the black standard, who leave Khorasan for Jerusalem.’ He added: ‘If we see the conference as a political and media phenomenon, then it has achieved what it was expected to achieve under these harsh conditions, when everyone seeks to eliminate the Palestinian cause. The conference gave us a chance for dialogue amongst ourselves. Furthermore, it was attended by heads of parliament from Arab countries and around the world, who discussed the next phase of the Palestinian struggle.'”[3]

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[1] Wafa.ps, February 19, 2017.

[2] Mofa.gov.ps.

[3] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), March 1, 2017.

Saudi spy chief visits Israel, Ramallah

February 22, 2017

Saudi spy chief visits Israel, Ramallah, DEBKAfile, February 22, 2017

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The director of Saudi Arabia’s General intelligence agency, Khalid Bin Ali Al Humaidan, paid surprise visits to Ramallah and Jerusalem on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 21-22. Neither Palestinian nor Israeli officials have confirmed that the visit took place.

Last week, DEBKA Weekly carried an exclusive report that Iranian engineers were working round the clock on a project dubbed “Riyadh First,” for adding an extra 100km to the intermediate range of the Scud-C (600km) and Scud-D (700km) surface missiles, to enable them to reach the Saudi capital and explode in the center of Riyadh. The project, which is going forward at the Al Ghadi base in Big Ganesh, 48km west or Tehran, was ordered by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.

This plan was behind the threat made by IRGC Air Force Commander Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the start of an Iranian military exercise: “Should the enemy make a mistake, our roaring missiles will rain down on them,” he said.

Gen. Hajizadeh, who is in charge of the missile testing site, ordered all other work halted in order to concentrate on the fast-track “Riyadh First” Scud development project.

On Feb. 4, Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthis fired a missile which they claimed was a homemade Borkan with a range of 800km into Saudi Arabia. It struck the al-Mazahimiyah military camp west of Riyadh.

According to our military sources, the Houthis don’t possess a missile of that range. Their attack was in fact the first test of the newly-extended Iranian Scud, as a dress rehearsal for the real strike.

If the visit by the Saudi spy chief is confirmed, he will have come for several missions. In Ramallah, he would have warned the Palestinians not to go through with their bid to strengthen direct ties with Tehran (which was first revealed by DEBKAfile on Feb. 13). The first meeting of Iranian and Palestinian delegations has already taken place in Brussels.

In Jerusalem, Al-Huymaidan may have explored security issues related to the US-Israeli-Arab regional conference proposed by US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when they met in Washington on Feb. 15.

DEBKAfile’s sources note that the Saudi spy chief is a professional soldier and the first commoner to hold the post of Director of Saudi General Intelligence. Among his predecessors were high-ranking princes such as Bandar Bin Sultan, Turki Bin Faisal and Muqrin Bin Abdul Aziz.

How Israel Would Become Palestine

February 20, 2017

How Israel Would Become Palestine, The Jewish PressFred Maroun, February 19, 2017

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If Israel annexes the West Bank, the Jewish majority in Israel would be reduced immediately from 75% to between 56% and 57%, and the Arab minority in Israel would double from 21% to between 40% and 41%.

While Jews would retain a clear majority immediately after annexation, the Arabs’ influence on government would increase dramatically. Arab parties have been kept out of every governing coalition in Israel’s history, but the continuation of that practice would be almost impossible when Arabs represent 40% to 41% of the population. It would require that all Jewish parties, from left to right, always agree to work together after every election; sooner or later, that Jewish-only coalition would break up.

There is not much that is uncertain in this common-sense scenario resulting from annexation of the West bank, other than how long it would take to unravel. The end result is that Israel, which would likely be renamed Palestine, would no longer be a Jewish state by any definition of the term.

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The idea of Israel annexing the West Bank was tentatively endorsed by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin who insisted that if this occurred, Palestinians living in the West Bank must be given Israeli citizenship. US President Donald Trump signaled that he is willing to accept a one-state solution, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lack of response to Trump indicates that he is not opposed to it either.

Based on the Jewish Virtual Library, in Israel, as of January 2017, “The Jewish population makes up 6,450,000 (74.8%); 1,796,000 (20.8%) are Arabs; and, those identified as ‘others’ (non-Arab Christians, Baha’i, etc) make up 4.4% of the population (384,000 people)”. Based on the Jerusalem Post, “Current estimates of the West Bank population, according to Israeli, Palestinian and US numbers, put the number of Palestinians at anywhere between 2.7 and 2.9 million.”

If Israel annexes the West Bank, the Jewish majority in Israel would be reduced immediately from 75% to between 56% and 57%, and the Arab minority in Israel would double from 21% to between 40% and 41%.

While Jews would retain a clear majority immediately after annexation, the Arabs’ influence on government would increase dramatically. Arab parties have been kept out of every governing coalition in Israel’s history, but the continuation of that practice would be almost impossible when Arabs represent 40% to 41% of the population. It would require that all Jewish parties, from left to right, always agree to work together after every election; sooner or later, that Jewish-only coalition would break up.

As Arab parties negotiate to be included in governing coalitions, some of their priorities would become government policy. Arab policies that are outright anti-Zionist would be rejected at first, but other priorities would have to be accepted.

One of the first priorities to be demanded by Arab parties is likely to be the immigration into Israel of relatives of Israeli Arab citizens, including some Palestinian refugees residing in Arab countries and some Palestinians residing in Gaza. This would have the effect of further increasing the size of the Arab minority, which would lead to even more Arab clout in the government.

Other Arab demands would have to be met, including immigration of more Palestinian refugees into Israel and the annexation of Gaza. Eventually, Arab parties would be able to govern with little or no Jewish representation. As Arabs control the Israeli government, they would eliminate laws that discriminate against them, including the unlimited Jewish right of return, perhaps even replacing it with an unlimited Palestinian “right of return”.

There is not much that is uncertain in this common-sense scenario resulting from annexation of the West bank, other than how long it would take to unravel. The end result is that Israel, which would likely be renamed Palestine, would no longer be a Jewish state by any definition of the term.