Official Fatah Editorial: Demand complete Israeli withdrawal – including Jerusalem, return of refugees, attack settlers, soldiers…

[IMRA Commentary: As Oslo supporters push a revisionist history to excuse Arafat for the failure of the Camp David and Taba Talks and Yossi Beilin celebrates the latest Palestinian-Israeli “joint declaration” (explaining that it doesn’t matter what the Palestinian REALLY think/plan – just what they sign), Yasser Arafat’s own official Fatah website leaves no question that the goals are far beyond what Beilin envisions: complete withdrawal from easern Jerusalem and the return of refugees to within Israel.

The editorial also approves attacks against settlers and soldiers AND attacks within the Green Line if Israel continues to attack.]

Rejection and Imposition

The Intifada broke out in September 2000, following the obnoxious visit of Sharon to al Aqsa mosque. The visit was seen as an Israeli attempt to impose surrender on the Palestinian people and their leadership. One should remember that the visit took place after the Camp David summit at which President Arafat rejected a proposal that the Israelis supposed would end the Arab Israeli conflict. The Intifada proved that Palestinian steadfastness and resolution would never wither away. The PNA and the National and Islamic Forces have managed to activate all the institutions of the civil society in the battle against the Israeli occupation.

At the beginning, the Intifada did not need a specific program in order to show the Palestinian rejection of the Israeli US attempts to impose Clinton’ s proposals. The violations the proposals made against the international legality were listed in our December 31,2000 edition of our bulletin (the Fateh bulletin).

Following is a summary of these violations: Clinton’s proposals

  1. Denied the Palestinian refugees the right to return to their properties in line with UN Resolution 194;
  2. Allowed Israel to Judaize and annex the Arab city of Jerusalem which was occupied in 1967. This contradicts UN Resolutions 242 252;
  3. Allowed Israel to annex occupied territories, and this violates UN Resolutions 242 and 338;
  4. Legitimized the presence of Israeli settlements. This violates UN Resolution 486, which considers these settlements illegal and an obstacle on the path to peace;
  5. Accepted Israel’s plan to divide al Aqsa Mosque and approved of what Israel did to al Haram al Ibrahimi in Hebron. These acts threaten the Arab character of the Christian and Islamic holy sites.

The Intifada has gone beyond the idea of rejecting the Zionist proposals and it should now answer the questions that many people raise. These include: Where is the Intifada heading? What is the Intifada’s program from the perspective of the National and Islamic Forces?

Some people believe that the Intifada has already proved that the Palestinian people will never succumb to the Israeli will, and this helps in improving our negotiating position. Therefore, further bloodshed in the confrontation with Israel will not lead anywhere. Another group of people, on the other hand, believe that we should seize the historic opportunity the Intifada has provided to achieve our strategic goal, the liberation of all historic Palestine by liquidating the Zionist entity at the military, political, economic and cultural levels. While the first group failed to value the determination of their people, the second underestimated the enemy that receives the full support of the US.

Since the beginning of the Intifada, the National and Islamic Forces have agreed on a number of principles that govern the Intifada’s political discourse and attract the consensus of all factions. Each faction, however, is allowed to express its own strategic line separately or in cooperation with other factions.

The National and Islamic Forces have been carrying out joint activities that are usually announced in a central statement. These activities aim to unify the efforts of all factions. For this purpose, the Central Coordination Committee and the Higher Follow-up Committee have been established in the West Bank and Gaza respectively. There has been a general feeling that popular activities are decreasing. This is due to the absence of the organizational bases that govern the work of the popular forces in the institutions of both the PNA and the civil society such as trade unions, commerce and industry chambers, societies and clubs.

In their latest meetings, the National and Islamic Forces have differentiated between two types of working programs: the first one includes activities that are a mere reaction to the Zionist aggression against our people. The second includes activities aimed at the origin of the aggression, i.e. Israel’s occupation and its settlement policy. The first type of activities consists of spontaneous popular gatherings in the proper time and place. However, the second type of activities that should have a direct influence on the occupation and settlers, requires the specification of a clear political line that motivates the people to play a basic role in the Intifada when they feel the tangible results of the confrontation.

In addition to having a clear political line, securing people’s participation requires an organizational line that regulates the relationship of the National and Islamic Forces with the organized popular forces and the PNA institutions. This will help clarify the positions of all parties and in return bring us closer to achieving our goals. As to the military line, it needs the effective participation of the leaders and the competent cadre of all factions.

A clear political line of a working program should be based on the commitment of all factions to the following goals:

  1. The cessation of Sharon’s escalating aggression that aims to impose the Zionist security perception;
  2. The removal of settlers and settlements;
  3. The withdrawal of Israeli forces from all occupied territories including East Jerusalem;
  4. The return of refugees to their homes;
  5. The actualization of national independence and the establishment of our sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital.

Also, the international demand that Israel cease the construction of new settlements, puts an end to one of the basic tenants of the Zionist movement. However, this does not achieve our goal, i.e. the removal of all settlements from our land. Two things need to be done to achieve this goal. The PNA should continue to warn the world against this flagrant violation of agreements it has signed. Secondly, further coordination need to be made between the PNA and the National and Islamic Forces to find the proper ways of confronting the confiscation of our land.

A clear organizational structure should be worked out to illustrate relationships among the parties involved in the Intifada. Tanzim sites, popular committees, and resistance and self-defense committees should be linked to the areas committees. These in turn are linked to the regions committees that are linked to the Central Coordination Committee.

A larger participation in the Intifada activities will be secured when members from all factions seriously shoulder their responsibilities.

The organizational structure of the Intifada should complement that of the PNA. The different committees of supplies, civil defense, emergency, social solidarity, information and culture, and popular defense should coordinate with the ministries that offer similar services.

To run the affairs of the Intifada, specify its requirements and follow up its decisions, an independent organizational structure should be established. Such a structure could take the form of a small committee or a secretariat that deals with the Intifada not only at the local level but also through communicating with solidarity committees that have been formed through the Arab & Muslims world and in other countries. An Intifada secretariat will also carry out information campaigns to remove all the distortions that Zionist organizations have been spreading against us.

As to the working program of the military resistance, we should be careful not to give the Intifada a military character. Militarization serves the Israeli ends, since it takes away the popular character of the Intifada and allows the Israelis to depict themselves as victims rather than aggressors.

The Israeli army and settlers constitute legitimate targets because their presence violates the UN resolutions. Hitting such targets will have its effects on the Israelis who should realize the high price they have to pay for occupying another people and settling in their land. The Palestinians, after all, should be able to deter Israel from using its F16 fighter jets. In fact, if Israel continues to attack targets in the PNA-controlled areas, it will be permissible to hit targets inside Israel proper. Under pressure, the Israeli society should eventually call for the withdrawal of their army and the dismantling of their settlements.

While the Intifada is approaching its second year, it is necessary to maintain its achievements at the top which are national unity, the complementing roles of the PNA and the National and Islamic Forces, and the revival of the Palestinian resistance spirit. However, creativity remains essential for opining up new horizons for the Intifada.

Revolution until victory. Issued on July 28, 2001