Jerusalem – Ma’an – The time has come for Fatah, Palestine’s largest
political party, to seek a strategic alliance with Iran, the movement’s
Jerusalem affairs liaison Hatim Abdul Qader told Ma’an on Saturday.

In a statement, Abdul Qader said that in light of Israel’s disinterest in
achieving a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, the Fatah movement
was left with no choice but to seek help abroad from Iran.

He insisted that he was referring just to the party, and not to the
Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah. Abdul Qader resigned from his
post as PA minister of Jerusalem affairs in July.

The more secular Fatah has in the past avoided relations with Iran ever
since its Islamic Revolution in 1979, although the Palestinian movement was
generally supportive of Iran’s efforts to throw off Western rule. Hamas and
Iran have open relations.

“The challenges that face the Palestinian people, in terms of unprecedented
attacks and dangers in Jerusalem, oblige the Fatah movement to formulate its
regional strategic alliances based on new principles and criteria,” Abdul
Qader said.

He encouraged the upcoming Fatah conference to adopt a political program
that formulates new relations with Iran due to its strategic importance and
influence. Abdul Qader argued that the Islamic republic’s power in the
region ought to be exploited to serve the Palestinian cause and the cause of

Abdul Qader also claimed that former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami was
one of the few leaders in the region who supported former Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat’s rejection of Israeli proposals at Camp David in 2000, unlike
many other Arab regimes.

The Fatah leader also said that despite Iran’s excellent relations with
Hamas, it still views Fatah as the leader of the Palestinian national
struggle, and would be willing to help. He also suggested linking the
Palestinian and Syrian tracks in any future negotiations with Israel.

Last month, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s top negotiator, Saeb
Erekat, met with Iran’s foreign minister for the first time in Egypt. Erekat
told Ma’an he spoke with Manouchehr Mottaki about reconciliation talks,
national unity, and other regional and Palestinian issues.