TEL AVIV – The Palestinian people have a right to “resistance” against Israel, declared a top official in the Palestinian Authority who is known for his so-called moderate views.
Qadura Fares, a PA minister and member of parliament, told WND in an exclusive interview his Fatah party next month will vote on whether to officially incorporate “resistance” against Israel in its official charter.
“We have to decide about resistance. I think the Palestinian people, just as anyone in world, have a right to resistance to defend our freedom. We won’t [give up] the resistance and embark on a strategy of only negotiations with the Israelis,” Fares said yesterday.
Fatah and the PA are considered moderate according to U.S. and Israeli policy. The U.S. arms, trains and funds Fatah militias and calls for the creation of a Fatah-led Palestinian state.
Fares was referring to Fatah’s sixth General Congress, which is scheduled for August in Bethlehem. At the meeting, 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 PA President Mahmoud Abbas and amid intense negotiations that the Sixth Congress would moderate the party’s objectives.
But senior Fatah sources speaking to WND said a list of resolutions to be voted upon includes text affirming as one of Fatah’s main objectives the “resistance” and “armed struggle” against the Jewish state. Fares yesterday confirmed this to WND.
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.
Abbas secured special permission from Israel to allow Fatah members to travel to Bethlehem to attend the conference from other West Bank towns and the Gaza Strip as well as from Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
According to a list obtained by WND, the Fatah delegates slated to attend the Bethlehem event include such notable jihad supporters as:
- Kamal Ranam, the chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group in Ramallah. Ranam is accused of personally carrying out recent shootings, attacks against Israeli forces operating in the Ramallah and a shooting attack in northern Samaria in December 2000 that killed the leader of the ultra-nationalist Kahane Chai organization, Benyamin Kahane. Ranam last year was granted amnesty by then–Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as part of a gesture to bolster Abbas.
- Jamal Abu Al-Rub, a leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades from the Samarian village of Qabatya, just outside Jenin. Al-Rub is commonly known on the Palestinian street by his nickname, Hitler, for his routine public executions of Palestinians his group has suspected of collaborating with Israel. Al-Rub is accused by the Jewish state of planning several terror attacks.
- Zacharia Zubeida, a former Al Aqsa Brigades terrorist leader from Jenin who was also pardoned by Olmert in 2007. Zubeida is accused of multiple terrorist attacks and for a time was one of Israel’s most wanted terrorists.
- Abu Mahar Ranam, a Fatah central committee member who openly opposes peace talks with Israel.
- Sultan Abu al-Ainiin, Fatah’s main representative in Lebanon. He is known for his excellent relations with the Hezbollah terrorist group.
Fares explained to WND the main goals of the Fatah congress.
“We have to check our political ideology. Many things happened in last 20 years since our last congress,” he said. “We must renew and evaluate our internal laws, the structure of our movement and our messages for Palestinian unity. Lastly, we must elect a new leadership for Fatah institutions.”