Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
JERUSALEM – As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prepares to meet President Obama today, back home in the Palestinian territories key members of Abbas’ Fatah organization are planning to affirm the “armed struggle” and “resistance” against Israel as official Fatah doctrine, WND has learned.
The warlike affirmations are slated to be part of Fatah’s official objective during a meeting of the party’s General Congress slated for as early as next month. But according to Fatah sources speaking to WND, the U.S. has been working feverishly to ensure the Fatah congressional session is postponed.
The U.S. considers Fatah to be moderate and has backed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations aimed at creating a Fatah-led Palestinian state.
Fatah is making plans to convene the Sixth Fatah General Congress sometime next month. At the meeting, likely to take place in either the West Bank or Jordan, hundreds of voting Fatah members will discuss the future of their party and pass official resolutions outlining Fatah’s major objectives.
The Congress was last held in 1989 in Tunisia, prior to any Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. At the time, the Congress, led by late Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat, officially resolved continuing “to intensify and escalate armed action and all forms of armed struggle to liquidate the Zionist occupation from our occupied Palestinian land and guarantee our people’s rights to freedom and independence.”
Israel had hoped under Abbas and amid intense negotiations that the Sixth Congress would moderate the party’s objectives.
But senior Farah sources speaking to WND said a list of Fatah resolutions to be voted upon includes text affirming as one of Fatah’s main objectives the “resistance” and “armed struggle” against the Jewish state.
The sources said Abbas and other senior Fatah officials opposed the inclusion of “resistance” in any resolution to be called for a vote but said that the majority of Fatah members insisted it be incorporated.
The sources said it was “very likely” the “resistance” clause could be accepted during the congressional meeting by the majority of general Fatah voters, who tend to publicly express more radical views than Abbas.
But the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem has been working to postpone the Congress and to back Fatah leaders who would push for the exclusion of the “resistance” clause.
According to information reaching WND from a top Fatah official, the U.S. has pressured Egypt, Jordan and Algeria against hosting the Fatah congress, making it likely the event will instead be held in the West Bank.
Also, U.S. funds recently transferred to Fatah strongman Mahmoud Dahlan were meant to enhance an internal Fatah campaign to ensure against voting for “resistance” against Israel. On board with that campaign are Fatah’s old guard leaders, such as Dahlan, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and former Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qurei. Still, throngs of Fatah voters support the resolution, according to Fatah sources.
In Washington, Abbas is set to meet Obama, where the two will reportedly emphasize a repackaged 2002 Saudi plan, also known as the Arab Initiative, that calls for Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel in exchange for extreme territorial concessions.
Following scores of denials he would trumpet the plan, Obama in January hailed the Arab initiative.
In an interview with an Arab television network – his first formal interview as president – Obama stated: “Well, here’s what I think is important. Look at the proposal that was put forth by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. … I might not agree with every aspect of the proposal, but it took great courage to put forward something that is as significant as that. I think that there are ideas across the region of how we might pursue peace. I do think that it is impossible for us to think only in terms of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and not think in terms of what’s happening with Syria or Iran or Lebanon or Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
Since then, Obama and his team have trumpeted the plan several more times, including during a meeting last month with Jordan’s Abdullah.
The Arab Initiative, originally proposed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and later adopted by the Arab League, states that Israel would receive “normal relations” with the Arab world in exchange for a full withdrawal from the entire Gaza Strip, West Bank, Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem, which includes the Temple Mount.
The West Bank contains important Jewish biblical sites and borders central Israeli population centers, while the Golan Heights looks down on Israeli civilian zones and was twice used by Syria to mount ground invasions into the Jewish state.
The Arab plan also demands the imposition of a non-binding U.N. resolution that calls for so-called Palestinian refugees who wish to move inside Israel to be permitted to do so at the “earliest practicable date.”
Palestinians have long demanded the “right of return” for millions of “refugees,” a formula Israeli officials across the political spectrum warn is code for Israel’s destruction by flooding the Jewish state with millions of Arabs, thereby changing its demographics.
When Arab countries attacked the Jewish state after its creation in 1948, some 725,000 Arabs living within Israel’s borders fled or were expelled from the area that became Israel. Also at that time, about 820,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries or fled following rampant persecution.
While most Jewish refugees were absorbed by Israel and other countries, the majority of Palestinian Arabs have been maintained in 59 U.N.-run camps that do not seek to settle the Arabs elsewhere. There are currently about 4 million Arabs who claim Palestinian refugee status with the U.N., including children and grandchildren of the original fleeing Arabs, Arabs living full-time in Jordan and Arabs who long ago emigrated throughout the Middle East and to the West.
Abbas, meanwhile, has said he would work to change sections of the plan to better fit Israel’s security needs. King Abdullah of Jordan made a similar pledge.
Abbas’ meeting with Obama comes amid disagreement between the U.S. and Israel over Jewish construction in the strategic West Bank.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had made clear he will press ahead with housing construction in the territory despite a blunt demand from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that all such building stop.
WND reported earlier this week the Obama administration wants to abrogate a secret deal that President Bush made to allow Israel to construct homes in previously existing West Bank Jewish communities.
“The matter is ongoing and is subject to current talks with the U.S. administration,” said a source in Netanyahu’s office.