Abbas Reinstates a Radical Political Doctrine

Vol. 13, No. 1    11 January 2013

  • Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority and leader of the PLO and the Fatah movement, presented a radical political doctrine in his speech on January 4, 2013, honoring the anniversary of Fatah’s establishment. The messages Abbas conveys express the political and national vision that he bequeaths to the Palestinian people.
  • In his speech Abbas avoids all mention of a historic compromise with Israel that would bring the conflict to an end. Nor does he mention the land-for-peace formula or the establishment of a Palestinian state beside Israel. Instead, Abbas chose to reemphasize that the Palestinian people remain on the path of struggle to realize “the dream of return” of the Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants.
  • Abbas pledged to continue the path of struggle of previous Palestinian leaders, mentioning the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who forged a strategic alliance with Nazi Germany, and heads of Palestinian terror organizations who were directly responsible for the murder of thousands of Israeli civilians. All are equal and suitable partners in the Palestinian struggle, and their ideological platform, even if it is terrorist and/or radical-Islamist, is a source of inspiration for the Palestinian people.
  • In honor of the anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement, at the end of December the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military arm of Fatah, held parades of armed men in the city of Hebron, the town of Bani Na’im, and the Kalandia refugee camp just north of Jerusalem. In Hebron and Bani Na’im, scores of activists armed with assault rifles participated.
  • Anyone who expected that Abbas would follow a more moderate course after the UN General Assembly resolution of November 29, 2012, upgrading the status of the PLO’s Observer Mission to that of an observer state, was undoubtedly disappointed with Abbas’ remarks. He was not preparing the Palestinian people for making peace, but rather reverting to rhetoric perpetuating and even escalating the conflict.

Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), chairman of the Palestinian Authority and leader of the PLO and the Fatah movement, who lately has also been exalted with the title “president of the state of Palestine,” presented a radical political doctrine in his speech on January 4, 2013, honoring the anniversary of Fatah’s establishment. Abbas spoke by telephone from Ramallah to a crowd of thousands gathered in Gaza’s Al-Saraya Square.

Abbas’ speech is of great importance because he directly addresses the activists of the movement, who are the main prop of the Palestinian Authority, and the Palestinian people as a whole. The messages Abbas conveys in his speech to the nation express more than any other statement the political and national vision that he bequeaths to the Palestinian people, in terms of which he asks them to proceed.

In his speech Abbas avoids all mention of a historic compromise with Israel that would bring the conflict to an end. Nor does he mention the land-for-peace formula, the establishment of a Palestinian state beside Israel, recognition of Israel, or Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

Instead, Abbas chose to reemphasize that the Fatah movement has not changed since the day of its establishment – marked by its first anti-Israel terror attack on January 1, 1965 – and that the Palestinian people remain on the path of struggle. The keywords in his speech were the “dreams” and “national goals” to be achieved; that is, “historical justice,” as the Palestinians view it. Translated into the language of action, that means, according to Abbas, “realizing the dream of return” of the Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants.

Abbas reinforced his uncompromising message with a pledge to continue the path of struggle of previous Palestinian leaders, mentioning the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who forged a strategic alliance with Nazi Germany, and heads of Palestinian terror organizations who were directly responsible for the murder of thousands of Israeli civilians, including Halil al-Wazir Abu Jihad (Fatah), Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (Hamas), Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi (Hamas), Fathi al-Shikaki (Islamic Jihad), George Habash (Popular Front), Abu Ali Mustafa (Popular Front), Abu al-Abbas (Arab Liberation Front), and Izzadin al-Qassam (leader of the jihad war against the Jewish Yishuv and the British in the 1930s).

Abbas refrained from setting red lines for the “Palestinian struggle,” condemning terror, or denouncing Palestinian terror organizations and leaders. All of these, in his view, are equal and suitable partners in the Palestinian struggle, and their ideological platform, even if it is terrorist and/or radical-Islamist, is a source of inspiration for the Palestinian people in their ongoing endeavor to achieve their national goals.

This is not just a matter of lip-service about solidarity with historical leaders who have left this world. Abbas regards the tradition of national unity with Palestinian terror organizations as an imperative and a duty that are incumbent on him and on the Palestinian people, a key to “realization of the dreams” – in other words, the destruction of the State of Israel.

In honor of the anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement, which is headed by Mahmoud Abbas, at the end of December the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military arm of Fatah, held parades of armed men in the city of Hebron, the town of Bani Na’im, and the Kalandia refugee camp just north of Jerusalem. In Hebron and Bani Na’im, scores of activists armed with assault rifles participated.

Anyone who expected that Abbas would follow a more moderate course after the UN General Assembly resolution of November 29, 2012, upgrading the status of the PLO’s Observer Mission to that of an observer state, was undoubtedly disappointed with Abbas’ remarks. He was not preparing the Palestinian people for making peace, but rather reverting to rhetoric perpetuating and even escalating the conflict.

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The following is a translation of Abbas’ speech:

In the name of Allah the merciful and compassionate, O members of our heroic Palestinian people, O members of heroic Fatah, O heroic residents of Gaza:

Peace on all of you, dear Gaza, peace on you O Gaza of Hashim [grandfather of the Prophet Muhammad], O the one [Gaza] that clasps the struggle to its soul, all through its bitter history and various forms, peace on you O Gaza, O those born from its womb, the first cells of your pioneering movement [that were set up] in 1957, some eight years before it was founded on January 1, 1965, peace on you O Gaza, which launched the First Intifada.

Peace on the souls of your martyrs [shahids] O Gaza, and peace on you who have taken the patient path and are gathered in Al-Saraya Square, square of the martyr Yasser Arafat, to mark the anniversary of the beginning of the Palestinian revolution. Peace to the heroes who bore the burden and the pain so as to maintain the national Palestinian personality. Peace to those who stand firm against the blockade. Peace to every sister and brother of you, every son and daughter. To all I send all my love from the bottom of my heart.

My brothers and my sisters, this mass gathering is being held on the anniversary of your revolution, which began under the most difficult of conditions. Our situation on the day of the establishment [of the Fatah movement] was harder than our situation today, since the world had not recognized the existence of our people outside the context of the expulsions and the misery, and we did not have an entity nor a state on the political map of the world, which regarded us as a problem of refugees who needed nothing more than charity. Yet the spearhead of this proud people decided to alter the course of history. Your modern revolution transformed the problem of your people through sacrifice, determination, and faith in the reality of a state with a flag of its own, to be flown at the United Nations beside the flags of the rest of the countries of the world.

The Fatah of yesterday is the Fatah of today. It was established for the sake of Palestine, and Palestine remained its compass, and it upheld the ideal that cannot be questioned, that of fealty to the [Palestinian] problem, and according to [this principle] national unity is the foundation of the national Palestinian endeavor and safeguarding the national identity is the first priority. If it were not for unity in the framework of Fatah, the sole legitimate representative that will not be divided and will not be replaced, we could not have progressed from a situation of misery and from refugee tents to a situation in which the [Palestinian] problem is the most important one in the international arena. In this context of the struggle of the heroes, the Palestinian problem has become a symbol of liberation, of defiance, and of rebellion against injustice and tyranny all over the world!

I bless you, sons of our people and those congregated in the square of the martyr Yasser Arafat, on this wonderful day marking the establishment of [the movement], which became a foundational moment in our path of struggle, and which is exalted in the restoration of the national unity that has no substitute when it comes to achieving our national objectives.

I bless you and strengthen the hand of each of you, since you have inscribed [on the pages of history] the most wonderful epics of heroism, patience, and steadfastness, and you have remained firm in your hearts even as your role in worthy actions and in sacrifices along this path increased, as, for example, when the names of the martyrs and the gravestones of leaders multiplied, commanders of the struggle and warriors, innocent children, mothers and sisters, who fell in the path of freedom amid all the Israeli aggression that wreaked injustice, and to which our precious [Gaza] Strip was subjected!

Brothers and sisters, all of our Palestinian people lives under occupation and blockade, while our eyes and our hearts are directed at Al-Quds [Jerusalem], which is being subjected to an enormous settlement campaign, in which the occupiers compete with time and think it is an opportunity [for them], and under these circumstances the obligation falls on all of us, Palestinians and those who are not Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, and with us the liberals in the world, to unite our efforts, our hearts, and our resolve for the rescue of Al-Quds, our eternal capital city, and this by providing the means and elements of steadfastness, and support for the residents of the city, righteous Muslims and Christians.

And as for Gaza, the first Palestinian soil from which the army and the colonists exited, we focus our thoughts on ending the blockade imposed on it, so that Gaza will be free and liberated and connected to all the other parts of our homeland.

On the anniversary [of Fatah] we renew with a faithful heart the pledge to the heroic martyrs to walk in the path of the brother-martyr Abu Amar [Arafat] and his brother-friends, the leaders of all the national forces: Abu Jihad, Abu Iyyad, Abd al-Fatah Hamud, Abu Ali Ayyad, Abu Sabri Saydam, Abu Yusuf al-Najjar, Kamal Adwan, Kamal Nasser, Abu al-Walid Saad Sa’il, Faisal Husseini, Abu al-Hol, Abu al-Mondhir, Abu al-Said, Ahmed Yassin, Abd al-Aziz al-Rantisi, Ismail Abu Shanab, Fathi al-Shikaki, Majed Abu Sharar, Suleiman al-Najab, Bashir al-Barghouti, Hani al-Hassan, Abu Ali Mustafa, Abu al-Abbas, Samir Rusha, Abu al-Abd Khatab, and tens of thousands of heroic martyrs, and here it is obligatory to mention the first pioneers: the Mufti of Palestine, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, Ahmed al-Shukeiri, Yehiyeh Hamuda, Izzadin al-Qassam. These left on our shoulders and on our conscience their last bequest to continue in the path and to act in unity, and there is no other alternative than unity for achieving the national objectives and arriving at victory.

Blessings to our heroic prisoners and a blessing to all the members of our people in the homeland and in the diaspora and in every place where the Palestinians have agreed on the united dreams and objectives and the fulfillment of the dream of return. In the near future, with the help of Allah, we will achieve our unity on the road to ending the occupation so that the flag of the state of Palestine will wave over the churches of Al-Quds and the minarets of the mosques, as our eternal martyred leader Yasser Arafat reiterated at every opportunity, and we, with the help of Allah and the resolve of our people and the support of the friends and the brothers and the free world, will realize our objectives, and we will celebrate on the next anniversary of the revolution that has begun, so as to achieve the victory, and the victory will come, will come, will come.

With the help of Allah we will meet with you in proud Gaza very soon.

Source: http://www.wafa.ps/arabic/index.php?action=detail&id=145853

About Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi

Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.