Our agency has received and perused a declassified Israeli intelligence report on the 7th Fatah Movement conference held in Ramallah between November 29 and December 4, 2016.

Fatah continues to be defined as Israel’s peace partner since September, 1993 by the government of Israel and the quartet – the US, Russia, EU and the UN.

What took place at the 7th Fatah Movement conference should challenge that definition.

The speeches given by Mahmoud Abbas and statements made by senior Fatah figures indicated the conference’s decision to strengthen the concept of “popular resistance”(decided on at the 6th Fatah Movement conference in August 2009). See our report on the 6th Fatah conference at: http://israelbehindthenews.com/the-fatah-conference-in-august-an-opportunity-missed/6195/

The term “peaceful popular resistance” hides support given by Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to popular terrorism, which again erupted violently in September 2015.

Fatah uses  “popular resistance” as an acceptable alternative to Hamas’ concept of “armed struggle,” which the PA and Fatah do not regard as useful at the present stage of the Palestinians’ anti-Israeli struggle (although Fatah does not reject it in principle).

The “popular resistance” makes massive use of violence, especially the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails, as well as stabbing and vehicular attacks.

During the past year, the “popular resistance,” which Israel refers to as popular terrorism, has caused the deaths of dozens of Israeli civilians and members of the Israeli security forces.

The PA and Fatah publicly support attacks carried out as part of the “popular resistance” and do not consider them terrorism.

They actively legitimize and aid Palestinians who carry them out by providing them with financial and media support (as well as providing aid for Palestinian murder convicts and the families of “martyrs”).

In the international arena as well, the PA fully legitimizes the “popular resistance,” attempting to blur and minimize its extensive use of violence. The PA does not consider “popular resistance” attacks, even the most deadly, as terrorism, a term it reserves for Israel and the settlers.

Speaking at the 7th Fatah Movement conference, Mahmoud Abbas rejected terrorism “regardless of motive or source,” including state terrorism (i.e., so-called “Israeli terrorism”) and that of the Israeli settlers, claiming that “We adhere to a culture of peace and tolerance” (PBC TV, November 29, 2016).

On the other hand, the PA publicly objects to the use of firearms and to turning the “popular resistance” into a military-type intifada against Israel, as advocated by Hamas.

The PA and its security forces enforce that po‎sition on Hamas and the other terrorist organizations with ongoing preventive activities and security cooperation with the Israeli security forces (despite harsh criticism from Hamas).

In principle, however, Fatah does not rule out the concept of “armed struggle.” According to the platform of the 6th Fatah conference in August 2009, the concept of “armed struggle” remains a possible future option, to be put into practice when the political and societal conditions of the conflict with Israel make it necessary. That can be seen in Fatah and the PA’s preservation of the legacy and symbols of the “armed struggle” against Israel by commemorating “shaheeds” – martyrs – (of all the terrorist organizations) killed while carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel.

In October 2015, at the height of the most recent wave of popular Palestinian terrorism, Mahmoud Abbas falsely represented the “popular resistance” as non-violent. For example, at the opening ceremony of a contracting company in Ramallah, he said that “We do not use violence or force. We believe in peace and a “popular resistance.” It is our right and obligation to continue it as long as there is aggression. We do not attack anyone and do not want anyone to attack us…We hold the hands of our brothers who defend al-Aqsa mosque…We want peace and our hand is always extended to peace despite our suffering…” (Wafa, October 8, 2015).

On October 14, 2015, he gave a speech in which he said the Palestinians would continue their “legal popular struggle, which focuses on the Palestinians’ right to self-defense based on popular, non-violent foundations” (PBC TV, October 14, 2015).

In the wake of the 7th Fatah Movement conference, Mahmoud Abbas, the PA and Fatah can be expected to continue their support of violence carried out as part of the “popular resistance.

“They will continue to provide financial support and media backup for the Palestinians who carry out popular terrorism attacks, while avowedly objecting to the military-type terrorism favored by Hamas.

At the same time, in the international arena, the PA blurs and minimizes its support for violence and terrorism, and spouts deceptive slogans about its support for “peaceful popular resistance”, to gain credibility for their “cause” among NGO’s, journalists, diplomats and peace groups.



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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.