April 29, 2003 Special Reports No. 15

Abu Mazen: A Political Profile

April 29, 2003 | By Y. Yehoshua*
Palestinians | Special Reports No. 15

Table of Contents

  1. The Struggle Against Israel
    1. The Armed Struggle and the Intifada
    2. Conflict with Israel in the '1948 Territories'
  2. Intra-Palestinian Relations
    1. Ideological Aspects
    2. Political Power Struggle
    3. Handling the Palestinian Opposition Factions
      1. Dialogue and Agreement
      2. Enforcing Majority Opinion
  3. The Need for Reform in the Palestinian Authority
  4. The Political Process
    1. Permanent Status Issues
      1. Jerusalem
      2. The Right of Return
    2. Previous Peace Efforts
      1. The Oslo Accords
      2. The Beilin-Abu Mazen Agreement
      3. The Camp David Summit
  5. Zionism and Holocaust Denial


One of the main requirements for reform in the Palestinian Authority was the appointment of a prime minister with actual powers. Both the Europeans and the Americans saw Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, as the appropriate candidate who, if appointed, could play a major part in leading the Palestinians towards renewed negotiations known as the "road map."

The Basic Law, the PA's temporary constitution, was modified to establish the executive position of Prime Minister and following the changes, on March 19, 2003, Abu Mazen was appointed prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA).[1]He was subsequently tasked with forming a government within three weeks, a duty for which he received a two-week extension.[2]

This was a critical stage in determining the nature of the new government, particularly in light of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's objections to the composition of the government proposed by Abu Mazen. In the final hours of the extension, it was reported that a compromise had been reached between Arafat and Abu Mazen through the mediation of Egyptian intelligence chief Umar Suleiman, who had been sent to Ramallah by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Nonetheless, the process of forming the government is not yet finished, and the appointment of ministers has not yet been released, let alone approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The PLC is slated to convene early this week to approve the new government.

Abu Mazen is considered the most important Palestinian leader after Arafat, therefore, his positions are of interest and carry great significance. His reputation as a moderate is based primarily upon views he recently expressed opposing the Palestinian armed struggle against Israel, and on his reputation as a major architect – serving the Palestinian side – of the Oslo accords.

This paper will analyze Abu Mazen's positions on the struggle with Israel, on domestic Palestinian matters, and on the peace process with Israel. Included in this report are chapters I and II. The remaining chapters will be sent tomorrow.

I. The Struggle Against Israel

A. The Armed Struggle and the Intifada

More than once, Abu Mazen called for a stop to what he termed was "the militarization of the Intifada." In a lecture delivered to the heads of the Popular Councils in the Gaza Strip Refugee Camps,[3]he said: "The weapons in our hands are the rifles designated to be the weapons of the national security forces. Besides this, [we have weapons] smuggled from here and purchased from there. This cannot in any way lead to the realization of the goal we want… We need, today, for our interests, to stop [the militarization of the Intifada]… We are not saying we should stop the Intifada, but that we should direct it and remove from it the negative phenomena, particularly the phenomenon of militarization." On another occasion,[4] he said, "We aspire to stop the military actions, completely and not partially, as there is no such thing as a partial cease-fire."

In an interview with Aafaq Barlamaniya, a supplement of the PA daily Al-Ayyam,[5]Abu Mazen expressed his opposition to actions carried out by the military wing of Fatah, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades: "The position of the Palestinian leadership and the Fatah [movement] is that we are against the operations claimed by the Brigades."[6]

Rarely has Abu Mazen based his opposition to armed operations on moral arguments. On one occasion, he stated that such tactics were "inhuman"[7] and on another, that "killing is not our hobby."[8] But the main thrust of his position has been primarily pragmatic. In his view, the military struggle is essentially a strategic mistake, both in principle and in practice.

In principle, said Abu Mazen, "the militarization of the Intifada was a complete mistake because we entered into war with Israel at its strong points, and not at its weak points. The strongest thing [Israel] has is weaponry, which is the weakest thing for us."[9] He made similar statements in an interview with the LBC television network,[10]arguing that the use of weapons was "a huge loss for the Palestinians… We cannot confront Israel militarily. Israel can withstand any Arab country."

In an interview with the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat,[11]Abu Mazen partially qualified his words, but did not deviate from the main idea: "We did not say that we would stop the armed struggle – but that we would stop the military nature of the Intifada. The armed struggle demands conditions and abilities that we do not have in Palestine. We cannot equate what is happening in Palestine to [what happened in] Lebanon or Algeria, and therefore military action under these circumstances is ineffective. Thus, we say that there is no alternative but to stop [the military operations] for one year. This does not imply any concession on our part."

Furthermore, Abu Mazen maintains that crossing over the line into military struggle was an Israeli trap into which the Palestinians had fallen. In his lecture to the heads of the Popular Councils in the Gaza Strip Refugee Camps, he stated[12]: "Many people responded to the Israeli provocations, and the Intifada deviated from its natural course. They began, in an unprecedented manner, to use weapons and inventions at their disposal, such as mortars, grenades, and other things, and to fire from homes and neighborhoods, and [there was also] the matter of the armed masked men. In light of this reality, and as a result of these operations, we are talking about a military battle."

In an interview with the Qatari daily Al-Raya[13] Abu Mazen argued: "We have acted mistakenly with Sharon… We made a mistake when, in response to his provocations, we used weapons – when [in effect] weapons, in a situation like this, are completely ineffective because we are acting against a force that is not equal [to our forces] and against a country that can defeat the [entire] Arab nation at once. If this is the case, it is necessary to use wits [instead of weapons]. Sharon wants war, and we have acted with him as he wished. We have entered his playing field."

Practically speaking, Abu Mazen said, the militarization of the Intifada had brought about the "complete destruction" of the PA. Again speaking to the heads of the Popular Council of Refugee Camps in the Gaza Strip, he said:[14] "What happened in the past two years, as we see today, is the complete destruction of everything we built [under Oslo], and of what was built before. We live below the poverty line in Gaza and the West Bank; our people are in a situation of loss, starvation, and suffering. The reason [for this] is [the militarization of the Intifada]… Every day, all the West Bank cities are subject to operations of destruction because of the Israeli exploitation of operations that I think are neither necessary nor effective…"

"Matters developed towards the worse possible scenario because of the deterioration of events and because of the mistakes we made, which pushed Sharon to continue his aggression. One of these mistakes was the PFLP's announcing responsibility for the murder of [Israeli tourism minister] Rehavam Ze'evi [in October 2001]. The PFLP did not have to announce its responsibility, because the initial and direct result of this announcement was known in advance – the first siege of President Yasser Arafat, which continues uninterrupted to this day… Now, all the pressures are directed towards us and we are accused of doing nothing and standing behind all operations. This is because we held our tongues in light of the terror, and this goes back to [the matter] of lack of control over the situation."[15]

In another speechto Fatah leaders[16] in the Gaza Strip, he said: "I do not understand the logic of assassinating [Israeli tourism minister] Ze'evi at this time. So far we have [incurred] 75 casualties and [sustained] hundreds of wounded. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and thousands of dunam of land flattened. Our lives have been brought to a standstill, and our cities have been besieged. And if [the assassination] was already [a fact], why take responsibility from Ramallah?[17] They [the PFLP] dared not take responsibility from Damascus or any other Arab capital. When [PFLP spokesman] Maher Al-Taher said 'We will strike at American interests,' [Syrian Vice President] Abd Al-Halim Khaddam silenced him. [Al-Taher] shut up, and was forced to deny everything a few minutes later. [But in our case, PFLP Secretary-General] Abd Al-Rahim Maluh appeared on TV and said, 'Our sons have returned to their bases safe and sound after the operation.' This was an irresponsible and destructive declaration."

"Had the matter remained ambiguous, Israel would have been confused for two or three weeks before knowing who perpetrated the operation. If you carry out an operation with which [people] will disagree, at least act wisely. But unfortunately they did not act wisely… [Had we stopped them], someone would have [complained,] 'Where is the national unity?'… Are we an authority or not? Have we responsibility or not? The entire world has begun to question what we are!"

"Gaza is like scorched earth because of the firing here and there due to the new equipment – mortar shells – and also because of the pipe bombs. I ask you: What are the mortar shells worth? I was informed that one mortar shell hit a mosque in Gaza. Isn't this a justification for them [the Israelis] to use tanks against mortar shelling? Similarly, the so-called pipe bombs, because of which 32 kids lost their hands… What use are they? Isn't this blood spilled in vain? Isn't it stupidity on our part to fire shots above the roof of a building – and then the building is destroyed on the heads of its owners and inhabitants, and [the Israelis] invade the city? Anyone who perpetrates such an operation is a criminal against his own people… Who will compensate those who have lost their homes, which they toiled for decades to build? … We have become like a people that destroys its homes by itself. And we are silent, so they will not accuse us of abandoning our brothers and of opposing national unity. If our measures are aimed at defending our people, we needn't fear such charges…"

"Are there people who fire [from Fatah, too]? Yes, they are still firing, and this is a huge mistake that we must stop, and we must [also] stop others [too]…"

Moreover, Abu Mazen believes that a halt to Palestinian military actions would greatly benefit the Palestinians. In an interview with theQatari daily Al-Raya,[18]Abu Mazen said, "The right thing to do is not to play in [Sharon's] field – that is, not to use weapons, but to focus on the political arena, where we could expose Sharon, and then either he would comply with the demands of peace or he would fall, as did Netanyahu."

In another newspaper interview,[19]Abu Mazen reiterated his stance, saying: "All military action must be stopped, both in the occupied territories and within the 1948 [territories]; then [we must] say to the world that we want negotiations. In my opinion, under such circumstances we will be able to embarrass the Israeli government… But in military action, Israel is much stronger [than we are] and it will exploit [any military operations on our part] as a pretext not [to comply with its commitments]."

Abu Mazen made similar statements to the heads of the Popular Councils in the Gaza Strip Refugee Camps[20]: "What, then, is required? We need to say clearly and with determination: 'No more, enough!' This is a crime that must be stopped. Because if we stop now, we will be able to continue conveying [a message] to the world that we were massacred and destroyed… that we want peace – and then anyone who believes in genuine peace will stand by our side."

During his Gaza Strip lecture to Fatah officials and commanders[21] Abu Mazen said: "[On the political level] we know how to deal with the Israeli governments as equals. We dealt with them at Camp David for 16 days, during which they applied tremendous pressure on us. When no leader in the world would say 'no' to America, we said things openly, because we have a right. We must be statesmen in order to obtain achievements diplomatically that we cannot obtain militarily…"

Abu Mazen argued that a move towards demilitarization should have taken place long ago, particularly in the wake of September 11, 2001 when the entire world was against terrorism. In his talk to the heads of Popular Councils,[22]he stated: "…We should have taken the opportunity of September 11, when Abu 'Ammar [Arafat] said, 'I am against terrorism.' Then the U.S. said: 'This is the man we want,' and applauded him. A short time later Sharon came and said: 'How can you applaud Arafat? You have sold Israel out!' and they told him, 'Quiet!'"

In his lecture to Fatah officials and commanders,[23]Abu Mazen raised another argument: his approach actually protected the Palestinian opposition factions: "…Following September 11, we were witness to a world revolution. The entire world declared itself to be against terror, and at the same time President Abu 'Ammar [Yasser Arafat] said that we too were against terror. This means that we are not [stepping] out of the boundaries [of] world [legitimacy], and we want to gain from this position. So we cover for the entire opposition at home, and protect it… In President [Arafat's] declaration, we protected those who would not receive protection abroad. And as you know, members of every [organization] defined as a terror organization were extradited [after September 11], except for those who were here until not long ago [a reference to the measures taken against Ze'evi's assassins]…"[24]

Abu Mazen criticized the Arab countries for encouraging the Palestinian armed struggle. In an interview with Aafaq Barlamaniya,[25] he said: "I do not forget some of the external pressure factors. Many Arab and Islamic countries have played such a role. They want to fight Israel through us, or, as they say, they want to fight Israel to the last Palestinian, and through us achieve what their armies could not."[26]

Along with this criticism, Abu Mazen emphasized repeatedly that he was not interested in stopping the Intifada, but rather in eliminating its armed aspect and restoring its popular aspect. The Intifada must be "a popular Intifada, expressing popular anger that no one could resist" since the occupation could be withstood "[only] by means of demonstrations, stone[s], and truth."[27]

In an interview published in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, the Qatari daily Al-Raya, and the UAE daily Al-Khaleej,[28] Abu Mazen said: "I am certain that it is our right to resist [the occupation], but the current Intifada can continue [also] by the same means used by the first Intifada, which lasted six years [through] demonstrations, children, stones, and other [non-military] means of protest."

B. Conflict with Israel in the '1948 Territories'

In accordance with his view that the struggle against Israel should consist of a combination of political struggle and a popular Intifada, but not include armed struggle, Abu Mazen called for ceasing military operations in the "1948 territories" as well. In a newspaper interview,[29] he said: "I think that the use of weapons in the Intifada, whether in the territories occupied in 1967 or in the 1948 territories, draws us into a vicious circle. If there are operations in the occupied territories, they will certainly spread to the 1948 territories, and then we will be back in the same vicious circle. All military operations must be stopped, in both the occupied territories and within the 1948 [territories], and then [we must] tell the world that we want to negotiate."

According to Abu Mazen, the participation of Israeli Arabs in the Intifada was a "grave mistake" that did damage to the implementation of the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and their contribution to the Palestinian struggle must be limited to political action.

During his lecture to the heads of the Popular Councils,[30]he said: "I have reservations about the participation of our Palestinian relatives – the Arabs of '48 – in the Intifada, despite my great appreciation of their sacrifice. This is because their participation was a very grave mistake. We refused to involve them in the first and second Intifadas, telling them: 'You have a unique quality; you have a different role than ours, an important role in bringing down [Israeli] governments and making governments succeed. Remain on that path. If you want to help us, do it by providing supplies [to the PA] and by [holding] peace demonstrations together with the Israeli peace movements.' But it didn't happen like that. At the beginning of the Intifada the first wave of their demonstrations broke out. Thirteen people were martyred and 80 were wounded, and then the Israelis said: 'They live amongst us for 50 years, and this is how they behave? How can we bring back the refugees?' And thus, quick as lightning, every Israeli began to ask himself: 'Can we agree to the return of such people? What benefit will be gained by this?'"

"When I spoke with them on this for the first time, clearly and sincerely, they were angry. I told them: 'You made a big mistake when you followed the street and your feelings and did not act coolly. You could have helped us in another way, by other means. Do not forget that you have Israeli citizenship, and this is your advantage and ours, and [it is] by means of this that you will be able to protect us. [Do this] by [voting] no confidence in the Israeli governments. You will [also] be able to change the governments by means of your Knesset members. This is what happened in practice when Yitzhak Shamir was brought down; then the Labor Party had 56 members of Knesset, and the Arabs had 5 or 6 mandates. Had they been seriously involved in the elections, as they were in the municipal elections, they would have been able to get 15-18 mandates and prevent the rise of a government that we do not want. When Rabin wanted to expropriate land in Jerusalem, the Arab MKs threatened no confidence, and as a result he retracted his decision. You, Arab citizen of Israel, can do much rationally and on the political level without chasing illusions and demagogy. The consequences of [their participation in the Intifada] on the matter [of the right of return] of the refugees were extremely negative."[31]

II. Intra-Palestinian Relations

A. Ideological Aspects

The conflict between the PA and the Palestinian opposition factions – particularly Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – centered in the last two years mainly on the issue of the struggle with Israel and its ramifications on the political process. According to Abu Mazen, with their military actions, the Palestinian opposition factions are trying to bring the PA closer to their own views, and to eventually eliminate it completely. In his Gaza lecture to Fatah leaders and commanders,[32]he said that it was unacceptable for the factions "to draw the PA, Fatah, and the Palestinian people in the direction they wanted, as happened in recent days following the [October 2001] assassination of [Israeli tourism minister Rehavam] Ze'evi. They pulled in the direction of their policy and positions only so that we would adopt them and relinquish our positions and our policy, and move with them towards the unknown… No one must accept decisions that may lead us to a place we do not want [to be], and it is against just this that I am warning [you]."

"Our brothers," he added, "participate with Israel in destroying our achievements and our option – the option of peace that we must continue… Our brothers in the [other] organizations shoot so as to say 'We participated in the Intifada and sacrificed martyrs' – [but] the truth is that they sacrificed the Palestinian dream."

In an interview with Aafaq Barlamaniya,[33] Abu Mazen discussed how the PA was being drawn towards the factions' positions. "The PA has not managed to clarify the correct position that meets the supreme national interest. That is, it has not managed to blaze another trail and act to persuade the public of [the correctness of] this way. By so doing, it surrendered to the provocation of 'The Sacred Icon' [i.e. the suicide martyrdom operations]."

B. Political Power Struggle

Behind the ideological struggle between the PA and the other Palestinian opposition factions lies, according to Abu Mazen, a power struggle, as these factions seek to accumulate political power and take over the PA. In his Gaza speech,[34]he said: "The future of the homeland must not be hostage to the interests of individuals or organizations. Some of the organizations have a view that says, 'We do not want the PA, we want to destroy it and take its place.' The result is that [they] will not take the place of the PA and that [in fact] there will be no PA… Certain elements in Fatah have participated in realizing this goal of the opposition factions, and this is a great mistake. Why did Fatah participate in this? Have we built the homeland in order to start a war?…"

In another Gaza Strip lecture,[35] Abu Mazen said: "When a delegation of the PFLP, headed by the late Abu 'Ali Mustafa, came to Cairo three years ago in order to conduct negotiations with us, they demanded that we give them this, and that… We refused their demands, and then they began to carry out actions that are unacceptable to us and that we felt were aimed at bringing an end to the Palestinian dream."

Asked whether the Hamas movement sought to take over the PA, Abu Mazen told Aafaq Barlamaniya[36]: "I am not judging them by their intentions, but by their actions. [Therefore] I ask myself: What is the purpose of these suicide operations, and the killing of civilians in Israeli population centers? I want one convincing reason why [they carried out] these operations."

Abu Mazen accused the factions of ingratitude, because, he said, they were endangering the PA that defended them and had brought them into the territories under its protection. In the same interview, he said: "The [opposition] factions are carrying out various military operations for their own personal benefit, and [then] demanding that the PA provide them with protection and support… It is they who are carrying out [the operations], and it is the PA that pays the heavy price…"

In his lecture, he told Fatah leaders in Gaza,[37]"I do not deny that the PFLP has the right to avenge [the death of Abu 'Ali Mustafa], but if they say 'national unity,' don't we have the right to know what they are about to do?…They say they rely on Abu 'Ammar [Arafat], [so] why don't they tell him about it? Likewise, why don't they keep quiet after carrying out an operation, and why did they decide that Ramallah was to be the base from which the [perpetrators] would go out and the place to which they would return, and the place from which they would issue the announcement [taking responsibility] for the operation? Why did Abd Al-Rahim Maluh turn to brother Abu 'Ammar every time he wanted to go to Amman [Jordan] so as to leave [the PA] in [Abu 'Ammar's] airplane [without Israel's knowledge]? Obviously, [he did it] because he didn't have the courage to leave [without Arafat's protection]. Why do they see the PA as a protector..., and accuse it when it demands from them a ceasefire?… They entered the homeland under our protection, and we don't want them to cause our removal from our homeland because of their mistakes."

C. Handling the Palestinian Opposition Factions

1. Dialogue and Agreement

In a move to ease the current circumstances, in which the PA is being drawn into physical destruction and political failure due to the actions of the opposition factions, Abu Mazen called for dialogue among all the factions, and for the issuing of a joint ceasefire announcement. In his interview published in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram,[38] Abu Mazen said: "There is a need for a joint Palestinian declaration on the part of all the organizations that they are committed to halting the military operations for a specific time. This is what pushed us to negotiate with Hamas in Cairo."

In another lecture,[39] he said: "most unfortunately, we are not of one opinion in Gaza. [Therefore] let us hold a dialogue and arrive at an understanding, first of all with Fatah, and then with the other [PLO] organizations – the PFLP and the DFLP – as well as Hamas and the [Islamic] Jihad, so that we can say where we are headed. Through this dialogue, we will be able to arrive at a formula for agreement, a formula for Hudna[truce] in order to defend this state…"

In his explanation, Abu Mazen revealed a phased approach. He said that for now, the Palestinian factions must stick to the agreement until the Palestinians obtain what they seek. Then, the situation will be different, and they will be able to do as they wish. In his Gaza lecture to Fatah leaders,[40] he said: "When we decided to go for a peace process, didn't [the Palestinian opposition factions] say it was a betrayal, and then join us? At that time, I asked [DFLP Secretary Nayef Hawatme, who wanted to return to the territories], 'Why do you want to return to under a traitorous agreement?' He told me, 'It's my right.' I said to him, 'This right was given to you in the Oslo agreement, and you must accept [the agreement] until the time and situation change.' Every situation will be examined in its time. No one knows what the future will bring."

"Before we went to Camp David, I met with officials from one of the Islamic organizations. They asked me, 'Where are you headed, and why?' I told them we are going to extract [from Israel's hands] the implementation of [U.N. Security Council Resolutions] 242 and 338. If we succeed, we will return [from Camp David] with our achievement and you will have to be committed to it and agree to it until we finish establishing our national plan – after which you can stage a military coup against us to seize the PA, or get what you want through elections… But now you cannot do whatever you want. They were satisfied with this position."

2. Enforcing Majority Opinion

If, according to Abu Mazen, it is not possible to reach an understanding and an agreement with opposition factions through dialogue, PA orders must be enforced, "because it is clear that the minority must obey the rule and decision of the majority."[41]

Abu Mazen stated:[42] "There is no use in talking if it remains in the air and is not accompanied by action. I say to you honestly that those who manufacture and trade in mortar shells are the only ones who gain by this. They trade in our blood, and our consent means we are their partners. What is strange is that some [among us] see them [acting this way] and keep silent…"

"All the factions dared to violate official Palestinian orders, and no security action was taken to make the people feel there is a PA. I do not mean repressive action – but as long as we have undertaken [to prevent] something of this kind from taking place, we must take steps to guarantee that… whether these people are from Fatah or the [other] organizations, there must be a firm and determined stand towards anyone who fires on others [i.e. Israelis], and in effect fires on our own people and our own political achievements."

Abu Mazen stated:[43] "The new government's commitment is to determine the way, to declare it, and to persuade our people that this is the path that will lead to the desired goal. Here and there a number of people who will deviate from the Palestinian consensus will remain, and we will try to coerce them to place the supreme Palestinian interest above their individual interest, if necessary by using force."

III. The Need for Reform in the PA (Elections, Security Apparatuses, and Economic Reforms)

Abu Mazen was party to the Palestinian call for reform in the PA, and stressed the need for political, security, and economic reforms. In his office in Ramallah, he told journalists: "There is a need for a revision in all PA institutions… I propose holding elections for the PLC and the municipalities."[44]

In an interview with Aafaq Barlamaniya,[45] Abu Mazen explained, "If we look carefully at the state of the Palestinian institutions, we will find, for example, that it has been a long time since the PLC was elected, and there is no choice but to hold new general elections to 'renew' the [PA's] legitimacy. The same goes for the local councils, for which the last elections were held in 1976. Some five years have passed [since] the government [was put together], and the ministers [still] sit in their seats. They do what they want… as if the ministries were their own [private] property. The same goes for the security apparatuses, among which, it transpired during the [IDF] invasion [of the territories], there is no coordination, and anarchy [reigns] in them."

In an interview with the PA daily Al-Ayyam,[46]Abu Mazen called for security apparatus reforms and restrictions: "In all things regarding the security apparatuses, such a [large] number of apparatuses cannot remain. We must have an effective security force, and in order to have an effective security force there must be a limited number of apparatuses with defined powers. Leaving things the way they are can cause the apparatuses to engage with each other. In truth, the exchange of accusations that occurred [among the various apparatuses] is disgraceful, and must stop. We must define for ourselves what security we need, so [that we can then decide] whether we need one or two, three or four [apparatuses]. In the event that we decide that we need all the apparatuses, we will leave them all. No one but us has the right to determine the number of apparatuses and who will head each."

In the same interview, he also discussed the need for economic reform: "There must be order in all financial matters, and, like in every other country in the world, there must be one source to which the funds will flow, and another one from which they will be issued. This is so that we can say to the world that we have transparency, so that embezzling is impossible for anyone who wants to play [with our money], such as the NGOs, which act without anyone knowing what they are doing. The donor countries come, meet with whomever they want, and provide aid to whomever they want, as if there were no PA, and as if its officials were worthless. This is not allowed anywhere in the world… We must have an apparatus with full transparency, so that the money and the aid will be apportioned by this apparatus, while today, dozens of NGOs are given [money] to act without us knowing where it comes from and where it is going. This is a basic responsibility of any self-respecting authority."

Abu Mazen also expressed support for new finance minister Salam Fayyad's economic reforms. In a lecture in Gaza,[47]Abu Mazen said: "Up till now, we have no ministry or institute with a defined budget. Therefore I said that the finance minister has a vision and has begun [to implement] reform in a particular way. I understand how to manage finances – not a penny should come in without it going into the general budget and [also] not a single penny should go out without a document or order from one authority. If we achieve this, it will be the first successful step [towards reform]. Similarly, there must be an end to the [irregular] orders for payment from here and there. I know that we have ambassadors who have not received their allowances."

IV. The Political Process with Israel

A. Permanent Status Issues

1. Jerusalem

According to Abu Mazen, Jerusalem – like any other Palestinian city occupied in 1967 –and particularly the Haram Al-Sharif, that is, the area of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, must be strictly Palestinian. Thus, he rejects any proposal of joint sovereignty over the Haram, such as Israeli sovereignty over the area beneath the Haramor the concept of "divine" sovereignty over the entire area.

In an article he wrote for the London Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat,[48]Abu Mazen said: "...At Camp David... the Israelis and the Americans began to send up test balloons regarding solutions concerning Jerusalem... Since we categorically rejected all these proposals, at the end of the summit they dropped the bomb of their demand for sovereignty over the Haram, claiming that the remnants of the Haykal Suleiman[the Temple] lie in or beneath the plaza of the Haram Al-Sharif. They also demanded the right for a certain number of people to pray at the Haram each day, or each week. Naturally, we rejected this as well, but we agreed that they could pray near the Western Wall, without our recognizing any [Israeli] sovereignty over it, based on the 1929 decision of the British Shaw Commission. The commission acknowledged that the Western Wall belongs to the Muslim Waqf, but the Jews were permitted to pray near it provided they did not blow the Shofar." [49]

"Following the summit they demanded, through mediators, that they will establish a small synagogue on the Haram plaza and that they would be content with that. When their proposal was rejected, they suggested that an Islamic country build a structure [on the Haram,] or Temple Mount], part of which would be used by the Jews as a synagogue. We rejected this as well. Then, they proposed that sovereignty [over the Haram or Temple Mount] be God's and that neither side demand proprietorship. We rejected this proposal because God is sovereign of the entire universe; why should his sovereignty be established specifically in this case? They wanted to determine this specifically in this case so that the sovereignty would return to them, since they, as they claim, are the closest to God of all the peoples of the world…"

"Our position on Jerusalem remains simple and completely uncomplicated: Jerusalem is part of the lands occupied in 1967; thus Resolution 242 applies to it. Jerusalem must return to our sovereignty, and we will establish our capital in it. We will not prevent Eastern and Western Jerusalem from being open to each other and cooperating in municipal affairs."

In an interview with the PA daily Al-Ayyam,[50] Abu Mazen said: [At the Camp David summit], we told them [the Israelis] that we would not agree with their maintaining any presence at the Western Wall. In contrast, at the Wailing Wall [a small part of the Western Wall], you can conduct your [religious] ceremonies. With regard to the Al-Magharba neighborhood [meaning the Jewish Quarter], a solution can be found. Beyond that, all eastern Jerusalem must be ours. On the last day, they presented to us a ridiculous proposal, according to which the Palestinians would have sovereignty over the Haram, while the Israelis would have sovereignty over what lay beneath the Haram. Obviously, we thought this was a joke, and an unacceptably humiliating proposal, and thus we rejected it.

Abu Mazen also rejected the Israeli claim that there had been a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount, telling the Israeli-Arab weekly Kul Al-Arab:[51] "Anyone who wants to forget the past cannot come and claim that the [Jewish] temple is situated beneath the Haram. They demand that we forget what happened 50 years ago to the refugees – and I speak as a living, breathing refugee – while at the same time they claim that 2000 years ago they had a temple. I challenge the claim that this is so. But even if it is so, we do not accept it, because it is not logical for someone who wants peace in practice."

2. The Palestinian Refugees and the "Right of Return"

In Abu Mazen's view, peace cannot be reached without giving every Palestinian refugee the right to return to his home. In an article in Al-Hayat,[52]Abu Mazen wrote: "It should be noted in this matter – and we clarified this to the Israelis as well – that the right of return means a return to Israel, not to the Palestinian state, because the lands of the PA, which in the future will be the State of Palestine, were not [party] to expelling the refugees, but [were the land that] absorbed them. There is not a single refugee who left Gaza, Hebron, or Nablus. All the residents of these cities remained in them, and took in refugees from the neighbor[ing cities], to the extent that 70% of the residents of Gaza are refugees, as are 40% of the residents of the West Bank. When we talk of the right of return, we are talking about the return of refugees to Israel, because it was Israel that expelled them, and because it is there that their property is..."

He expressed a similar view in his interview with the PA daily Al-Ayyam:[53] "It is natural that every refugee return, to his home, and anyone who doesn't want to will be compensated."

Likewise, he toldheads and leaders of the Popular Councils in the Gaza Strip Refugee Camps: "Peace will not be achieved without the refugees getting back their sacred rights, which cannot be touched… It is the individual right of every refugee, and no one can reach an agreement in this matter without his consent."[54]

Abu Mazen expressed a personal desire, too, to return to the city of his birth, Safad [in the Galilee]. In response to a question by the Israeli-Arab weekly Kul Al-Arab[55] as to whether he would implement his right to return to Safad, he said, "I hope I will be able to actualize my dream of returning to Safad."

In several interviews, Abu Mazen reiterated the PLO's position on compensation: Palestinian refugees were entitled to compensation, whether or not they wished to return. He told the PA daily Al-Ayyam[56]: "We made our position clear: [the Israelis] must take historical responsibility and accept the right of return and [that Israel has to pay] compensation for both those who wish to return and those who do not. For those who wish to return, the compensation would be for the use of their property [over the years]. For those who do not wish to return, the compensation [would be for] the value of their property and for their suffering [over the years]. They [the Israelis] must also compensate the countries that hosted the refugees. This was all we demanded."

In his article in the London daily Al-Hayat,[57] Abu Mazen wrote: "We claimed [at Camp David] that in Section 2 of Resolution 242 it says that a just solution to the refugee problem must be sought. There is no U.N. resolution on the refugee problem except General Assembly Resolution 194, from 1949, which states 'compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return.' The meaning of this resolution is that the right of return has precedence, and anyone who does not want it can demand compensation… The compensation must be paid by means of the Absentee Property Fund established by Israel in 1949 to oversee, use, and invest the money of the Arab absentees whose property was stolen. Therefore, compensation should include also those who want to return, compensation for the use of their land and for their suffering over 50 years and more. Naturally, this compensation must also include the countries that hosted refugees: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, and the PA. Had this resolution been implemented when it was taken, those who wanted to return and the countries that hosted them would not have needed compensation. But this resolution was not implemented, and since then over 50 years have passed, and therefore [both] the returnees and the host countries are entitled to compensation."

Further on in the article, Abu Mazen rejected the claim that Jews from Arab countries should also be compensated: "At the same time [that the Israelis rejected paying compensation to the Palestinians], they continued to claim that compensation must also be extended to include the Jews from Arab countries. We rejected this claim out of hand, and emphasized that the Jews came to Israel with the encouragement of the Zionist organizations, and they sold their property before doing so. Nevertheless, if they have any claims, they must apply to the countries they left and ask for the property that was left, if it was left. But we will not agree in any way to equate the tragedy of the Palestinian refugees with the Jewish exodus from Arab countries, because there is no connection between the tragedy of the refugees and the [situation of the] Jews from Arab countries."

Abu Mazen made similar statements to Al-Ayyam:[58]"[The Jews from Arab countries] came of their own free will, and sold their property. If after all this they have claims, they can sue the countries from which they emigrated, if they have any such property, because we are convinced that they sold this property before coming to our country. The proof of this is that when [former Israeli foreign minister] David Levy went to Morocco and visited his [family's] home, carrying the key to the house, they asked him, 'Is this your house?' He answered them in the affirmative. When they asked him why he did not return to it, he said, 'I sold it.'"

Abu Mazen dismissed the Israeli claim that the State of Israel would be demolished demographically by a massive influx of Palestinian refugees. In an interview, he told Kul Al-Arab:[59] "We do not want to eliminate the State of Israel. From the beginning, when we entered the peace process, we decided that we would coexist with Israel. The issue of the Palestinian refugees is a most sensitive one. You have four million refugees, all of whom left the land of historic Palestine, and it is their right to return to their homes. We do not require the refugees to return, but if some want to return, they must return. This will be done in the framework of an agreement between us and the Israelis."

According to Abu Mazen, it is particularly important that there be Israeli recognition, in principle, of the refugees' right to return, regardless of how this right is actualized. In an article, he wrote:[60] "When we went into the details of the number of refugees, the Israeli side claimed that no more than 150,000 refugees left their homes. However, we confronted them with the official international statistics, and even with the Israeli statistics. According to U.N. figures, the number of refugees who left their homes was 950,000, while official Israeli circles set the number at 750,000. Whatever the real number may be is irrelevant, since the question relates to the principle and the right."

In his talk to the heads of the Popular Councils,[61]Abu Mazen said: "I listened to a number of Israeli Members of Knesset and ministers. They asked how many refugees wanted to return. This means that they agree to the principle. I told them: 'Accept the principle of the right of return, and then I will give you the number.' At Camp David, they asked for the number, and we told them: 'If you accept the principle, we will give you the number now.' Recognition of the principle is a beginning – that is, Israel's recognition of the right of every Palestinian refugee to return to his land. Then, the refugees can choose whether to return or not, and negotiations will begin on the implementation and on the possible options for each individual case."

On another occasion, Abu Mazen explained, "The Palestinian delegation [to Camp David] refused to limit the number of refugees that would be permitted to return even if [the Israelis] offered the return of three million refugees… because we wanted them to recognize the principle, and then we would arrive at an agreement on the timetable for the refugees' return, or on compensation for those who do not want to return."[62]

B. Previous Peace Efforts

1. The Oslo Accords

Abu Mazen considers the Oslo process a tremendous achievement for the Palestinians and maintains that the agreement was "the biggest mistake Israel ever made." Israel, he explained, recognized what it considered to be a terror organization, and the Palestinians gained much and gave up nothing. During his lecture in the Gaza Strip to Fatah commanders and leaders,[63] Abu Mazen said: "Israel… made the biggest mistake of its life when it supported the Oslo accords. [Could anyone have] recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, while up until a short time before that it was in Israel's eyes a terror organization? Today, Sharon and the Likud, who were opposed to Oslo, say: 'We will fight the agreement'… in addition to their not being interested in a ceasefire. But the question is, how can we make them stick to the Oslo accords? Had Abu 'Ammar's [Arafat's] words – 'I will stop the firing and I will not respond to Israeli fire' – come true, we would have heard many Americans and all the moderate Israelis place [the blame for the stagnation of the peace process] on the Israeli side…"

Abu Mazen tried to respond to Oslo's critics: "What flaws does Oslo have? The [only] flaw is that the agreement will not be implemented. In the Oslo agreement, we took land without giving anything in exchange, while the issues of the permanent status are still [pending]. The fact that these issues were not implemented does not mean that we have conceded them. Many people from our organizations and from Israel are acting to 'end' the Oslo agreement, but this is the only basis [that still exists] between us and Israel. When it is ended – the justification for relations or partnership between us will end with it, except for the cannon."

According to Abu Mazen, the Oslo accords cannot be canceled because they are grounded in international agreements. In his interview with Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram,[64] Abu Mazen said: "In my opinion, the Oslo agreement is not ended. It is an international agreement that must be honored. If Sharon announces the end and the cancellation of the Oslo agreement, and acts on this basis – it does not mean that Oslo is in fact ended. It is an agreement signed between two governments, and two parliaments, with the participation of the patrons of peace, the U.S., Russia, the European Union, and the U.N. All these parties are guarantors of Oslo, and therefore it is not possible to cancel it."

2. The Beilin-Abu Mazen Agreement

Abu Mazen denied that there was any agreement between him and former Israeli justice minister Yossi Beilin regarding the final status arrangement. In an interview on the Palestinian Television weekly show "Good Morning Jerusalem," he said: "There were talks between us and Mr. Yossi Beilin, it is true. There was a group of us and a group of them and we began to talk about negotiations for the permanent status arrangement. The second time, we sat down to discuss, or to hear, what the young people did and we found that they were still discussing and arguing."

"[Beilin] told me, 'Now I must inform Mr. Rabin, as Mr. Rabin does not know what is going on…' I told him 'Okay, inform Mr. Rabin.' Beilin asked, 'And you?' I told him that I had informed Abu 'Ammar [Arafat] from the outset. We were to continue the discussion on this basis. Two or three days later exactly, Rabin was assassinated, and the entire discussion was halted, and there is no document, no agreement, and no nothing."[65]

In a symposium on the final status arrangements held on June 3, 1999, Abu Mazen said on the same matter: "There were secret negotiations, but there is no secret agreement. No one has the authority to [sign] a secret agreement. And on what? On the permanent arrangements. Am I mad to do this? I am not mad."[66]

3. The Camp David Summit

Abu Mazen often describes the negotiations at the Camp David talks in July of 2000, in which he headed the Palestinian negotiating team as talks that were doomed to fail, and as a trap they managed to escape. In an interview with the PA daily Al-Ayyam, he said:[67] "When Barak came to power, we were shocked by his five 'no's,' which meant that they [the Israelis] refuse to return to the 1967 borders, to remove the settlements, to accept a return of refugees, and to return East Jerusalem. We were shocked at how the Israeli government wanted to negotiate on issues of the permanent status arrangements while setting red lines regarding them. We spoke with Barak more than once on these issues, and we told him that if this is Israel's position, what point is there in negotiations?…"

"We clarified to the American and Israeli sides several times that the Palestinian side was unable to make concessions on anything, since this is the minimum that it is willing to accept, and because the Palestinians had made the difficult decision when they recognized Resolutions 242 and 338 in 1988. In addition, we agreed to these two resolutions at Fez [in Morocco] in 1982. We think that the Palestinian side has already agreed to the difficult resolutions, and will not agree to anything besides Resolutions 242 and 338, together with Resolution 194…"

"We knew clearly that the failure of the Camp David summit was certain, and that it was not possible to arrive at a solution to an issue that has been going on for an entire century in one, two, or three weeks, in the Israeli way or the American way… [But] so it could not be claimed that the Palestinians refused to negotiate, or that the Palestinians feared the summit, we went, and entered this summit and this experience. We did not agree to any pressure on us, since what was offered to us did not correspond to the minimum of the Palestinian aspirations…. Camp David was a trap by all standards, from beginning to end, and we managed to get out of it."

Regarding claims that Camp David failed because an opportunity was missed, Abu Mazen said, "I say that there was no opportunity. No opportunity was offered by anyone. Unacceptable ideas were raised, and proof of this is that many Israelis and Americans say that they were unacceptable."

"Had the Camp David summit been convened again," Abu Mazen told the PA daily Al Ayyam[68], "we would have taken the same position [on the permanent status issues.]"

V. Zionism and Holocaust Denial

Abu Mazen's doctoral dissertation, submitted to the Oriental College in Moscow in 1982,[69] concerned Zionism, and was titled "The Secret Connection between Nazism and Zionism." Abu Mazen later published a book with a slightly different title: The Other Face: The Connection Between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement." In the book, Abu Mazen sought to de-legitimize the Zionist movement, citing an agreement between the Nazi authorities and representatives of the Zionist movement which facilitated the escape of part of German Jewry to Palestine in exchange for their property. According to Abu Mazen, this agreement proves that the entire Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazis in the annihilation of the Jewish people because it saw Palestine as the only appropriate destination for Jewish emigration.

In the foreword to the book, Abu Mazen discussed the question of the number of Jewish Holocaust victims more extensively than in his dissertation, denying commonly-accepted data. He wrote: "During World War II, 40 million people of different nations of the world were killed. The German people sacrificed 10 million; the Soviet people 20 million; and the rest [of those killed] were from Yugoslavia, Poland, and the other peoples. But after the war it was announced that 6 million Jews were among the victims, and that the war of annihilation had been aimed first of all against the Jews, and only then against the rest of the peoples of Europe."

"The truth of the matter is that no one can verify this number, or completely deny it. In other words, the number of Jewish victims might be 6 million and might be much smaller – even less than 1 million. [Nevertheless], a discussion regarding the number of Jews [killed] does not, in any way, diminish the severity of the crime committed against them, as murder – even of one man – is a crime that the civilized world cannot accept and humanity cannot accept."

"It seems that the Zionist movement's stake in inflating the number of murdered in the war aimed at [ensuring] great gains. This led it to confirm the number [6 million], to establish it in world opinion, and by doing so to arouse more pangs of conscience and sympathy for Zionism in general. Many scholars have debated the question of the 6 million figure, and reached perplexing conclusions, according to which the Jewish victims total hundreds of thousands. The well-known Canadian author Roger Delarom said on this matter: 'To date, no proof whatsoever exists that the number of Jewish victims in the Nazi concentration camps reached four million or six million. Zionism first spoke of 12 million exterminated in these camps, but then the number decreased greatly, to half, that is, only six million. Then the number decreased further, and became four million, as the Germans could not have killed or exterminated more Jews than there were in the world at that time. In effect, the true number is much smaller than these fictitious millions.' The [American] historian and author Raul Hilberg thinks that this number is no greater than 896,000."[70] Abu Mazen's attribution of this figure to Raul Hillberg's The Destruction of the European Jews is false.[71]

In the foreword to his book, Abu Mazen also argued that gas chambers were not used as a means of annihilation – a claim based on research by Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson. This part did not appear in Abu Mazen's dissertation but was added to the book: "Afterwards, the Zionist movement attempted to describe how they [the Jews] were murdered in concentration camps and gas chambers, as it disregarded two fundamental facts. First, many of the Jews remained alive; some were rescued by the Zionist movement [which encouraged] their emigration to Palestine, and some [survived because of] the peoples of the world that managed to protect them and take them away from the Nazis, as the Soviet Union did by sending two million Jews to its eastern republics. In addition, hundreds of thousands of live Jews were found in the concentration camps when the Allies liberated the territories [ruled by the Nazis]."

"Second, the extermination of the victims was not carried out only in the concentration camps and gas chambers. Some of the victims fell as a result of their participation in wars and battles, and also due to starvation and disease that struck all the peoples of Europe. In addition, the concentration camps were not only for Jews, but held people from all over Europe, among them fighters, intellectuals, scholars, prisoners of war, and opponents of fascism…"

"Regarding the gas chambers, which were supposedly designed for murdering living Jews: A scientific study published by Professor Robert Faurisson of France denies that the gas chambers were for murdering people, and claims that they were only for incinerating bodies, out of concern for the spread of disease and infection in the region."[72]

*Yael Yehoshua is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.


[1] For more on the changes to the Basic Law, see Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), March 11, 2003 and March 18, 2003.

[2] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), April 10, 2003.

[3] Al-Hayat (London), November 26, 2002.

[4] The interview was given to the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, the UAE Al-Khaleej, and the Qatari Al-Raya, December 1, 2002.

[5] Aafqk Barlamaniya, Al-Ayyam supplement (PA), No. 2, November 2002. Actually, the interview was held in March 2002, for the first issue, but that issue was never circulated because of the IDF's Operation Defensive Wall.

[6] Following these statements, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades made threats on Abu Mazen's life. See Kul Al-Arab (Israel), September 27, 2002; Kul Al-Arab, October 4, 2002.

[7] In an interview with the Qatari daily Al-Raya, he said, "We are opposed to the murder of civilians from any side. This is not acceptable to us, not on the human level and not on the political level." See Al-Raya (Qatar), July 20, 2002.

[8] Al-Hayat (London), November 16, 2002.

[9] Aafaq Barlamaniya, Al-Ayyam supplement (PA), No. 2, November 2002.

[10] Al-Hayat (London), October 1, 2002.

[11] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 4, 2003.

[12] Al-Hayat (London), November 26, 2002.

[13] Al-Raya (Qatar), July 20, 2002.

[14] Al-Hayat (London), November 26, 2002.

[15] In a newspaper interview, Abu Mazen said: "The militarization of the Al-Aqsa Intifada caused the destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure, and therefore I am absolutely opposed to its armed nature." Al-Ahram (Egypt), Al-Khaleej (UAE), Al-Raya(Qatar), December 1, 2002.

[16] The lecture was in July 2002; the transcript was posted on the Fatah Web site: To Review, click here.

[17] Abu Mazen's protest focused on the question of why the PFLP had taken responsibility from Ramallah for Ze'evi's assassination, and was reminiscent of Arafat's criticism of the Islamic Jihad organization's taking responsibility for the first suicide bombing, at the Beit Lid junction in the spring of 1994. At the time, Arafat said in a public speech: "Since the bodies of the perpetrators were blown to bits, why was there a need to reveal their names, and say that they had come from Gaza?" (PA Television). Abu Mazen himself clarified his stance on this matter when he opposed operations carried out from PA territory, and in an interview said, "If someone fires a missile from the sea, I am not responsible… We are not the keepers of Israel's security, but the keepers of our security and the interests of our people, and the opposition must act responsibly." See Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), January 23, 1999.

[18] Al-Raya (Qatar), July 20, 2002.

[19] Al-Ahram (Egypt), Al-Khaleej (UAE), Al-Raya (Qatar), December 1, 2002.

[20] Al-Hayat (London), November 26, 2002.

[21] July 2002, To Review, click here.

[22] Al-Hayat (London), November 26, 2002.

[23] July 2002, To Review, click here.

[24] In an interview with the LondonArabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Abu Mazen made a qualified statement according to which it was permissible to use weapons in "the 1967 territories": "It is our right to resist [the occupation], and the Intifada must continue. It is the right of the Palestinian people to resist and to use any [means] they can to defend itself and its entity. I will add that if the Israelis come to set up a settlement on your land, then it is your right to defend [yourself] with anything you have… by all means and all weapons, as long as [they] have come to your home. This is the right of resistance. The prohibition [on using weapons] applies only to martyrdom operations, and to going out to fight in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. There is no justification for fighting against an army." See Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 4, 2003. Abu Mazen also told Aafaq Barlamaniya: "It is the right of the citizen whose home is destroyed or whose land is expropriated to resist… I am not talking about the PA but about the [private] citizen. He fights to protect his land, home, and field. He has a right to live with dignity. He does not fight in Tel Aviv." No. 2, November 2002.

[25]No. 2, November 2002.

[26] During the interview, Abu Mazen also criticized the Arab media, saying: "The media, and particularly the Arab satellite channels, have inflamed the people and reinforced the adventuresome Palestinian trends at the expense of the rational stream."

[27] Spoken during an interview to LBC television. See Al-Hayat (London), October 1, 2002.

[28] Al-Ahram (Egypt), Al-Khaleej(UAE), Al-Raya(Qatar), December 1, 2002.

[29] The interview was given to Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, the Qatari daily Al-Raya, and the UAE daily Al-Khaleej, December 1, 2002.

[30] Al-Hayat (London), November 26, 2002. Abu Mazen's statements enraged the families of the 13 Israeli Arabs killed in the October 2002 demonstrations, who issued a communiqué condemning Abu Mazen's statements and demanding an apology. See Fasl Al-Maqqal (Israel), December 12, 2002.

[31] Abu Mazen also referred to the distinction between Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the territories in an interview with the Israeli Arab weekly Kul Al-Arab. In response to the question of whether the Arab minority in Israel had the right to participate in a future Palestinian referendum on any agreement, he said: "No. I say with complete clarity: You are in Israel, and we would not want to involve you in this matter. Such a position may anger many. This is your legal status." See Kul Al-Arab (Israel), August 25, 2000.

[32] July 2002 To Review, click here.

[33] Aafaq Barlamaniya,, supplement to the Al-Ayyam daily (PA), No. 2, November 2002.

[34] Al-Hayat (London), November 26, 2002.

[35] July 2002, To Review, click here.

[36] Aafaq Barlamaniya, supplement to the Al-Ayyam daily (PA), No. 2, November 2002.

[37] July 2002, To Review, click here.

[38] Al-Ahram (Egypt), Al-Khaleej(UAE), Al-Raya (Qatar), December 1, 2002.

[39] Al-Hayat (London), November 26, 2002

[40] July 2002, To Review, click here.

[41] July 2002, To Review, click here.

[42] July 2002, To Review, click here.

[43] Al-Hayat (London), November 26, 2002.

[44] Al-Ayyam (PA), May 7, 2002.

[45] Aafaq Barlamaniya,, supplement to the Al-Ayyam daily (PA), No. 2, November 2002.

[46] Al-Ayyam (PA), May 7, 2002.

[47] Al-Hayat (London), November 26, 2002.

[48] Al-Hayat (London), November 23, 2000 (Part I), November 24, 2000 (Part II).

[49] The violence against the Jews broke out in August 1929, but the Shaw Commission published its conclusions in March 1930, and recommended that an international inquiry be conducted. In December 1930, the inquiry committee submitted its report, which stated that the ownership of the Western Wall belonged to Muslim Waqf, and that Jewish worship arrangements must be in accordance with the status quo – and the Ottoman status quo prohibited the blowing of the Shofar and other Jewish religious practices.

[50] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 28, 2001 (Part I), July 29, 2001 (Part II).

[51] Kul Al-Arab (Israel), August 25, 2000.

[52] Al-Hayat (London), November 23, 2000 (Part I), November 24, 2000 (Part II).

[53] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 28, 2001 (Part I), July 29, 2001 (Part II)

[54] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), October 25, 2002.

[55] Kul Al-Arab (Israel), May 23, 1996.

[56] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 28, 2001 (Part I), July 29, 2001 (Part II).

[57] Al-Hayat (London), November 23, 2000 (Part I), November 24, 2000 (Part II).

[58] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 28, 2001 (Part I), July 29, 2001 (Part II).

[59] Kul Al-Arab (Israel), August 25, 2002.

[60] Al-Hayat (London), November 23, 2000 (Part I), November 24, 2000 (Part II).

[61] Al-Hayat (London), November 26, 2002.

[62] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 30, 2000.

[63] July 2002, To Review, click here.

[64] Al-Ahram (Egypt), Al-Khaleej (UAE), Al-Raya (Qatar), December 1, 2002.

[65] Palestinian Television (PA), May 28, 1999.


[67] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 28, 2001 (Part I), July 29, 2001 (Part II).

[68] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 28, 2001 (Part I), July 29, 2001 (Part II).

[69] MEMRI has a copy of the dissertation.

[70] Mahmoud Abbas, The Other Face: The Connection Between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement Amman: Dar Ibn Roushd, 1984, p. iii.

[71] Abu Mazen cited p. 670 of Hilberg's The Destruction of the European Jews as the source of this data. However, an examination of this source shows that no such figure is mentioned. Hilberg writes that between 1935 and 1945 world Jewry lost a third of its number; it dropped from 16 million to about 11 million. It should be noted that the original Russian version of Abu Mazen's study focuses much less on how many Jews were murdered than does the Arabic version, and includes only the figure of 896,000, which Abu Mazen attributes to Hilberg.

[72] Ibid.

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