July 31, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 4043

Columnist for Hamas Daily Calls On Palestinians To Adopt United Front Against Recognizing Israel

July 31, 2011
Special Dispatch No. 4043

In his column in the Hamas-affiliated daily Falastin, Mustafa Al-Sawwaf claimed that the PLO's 1993 recognition of Israel, in an official letter from PLO chairman Yasser Arafat to Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, was meaningless, as the factions that comprised the PLO, including Fatah, did not recognize Israel. Al-Sawwaf then called on the Palestinians to present a united front opposing recognition of Israel and the Jews' right to the land of Palestine, adding that such a move could rally all the Palestinians around a common cause.

Following are excerpts from his column:

Israel Aspires To Become a Purely Jewish State

"The American administration continues to prove that it has adopted the Israeli stance. Its diplomatic initiatives take up the Israeli viewpoint, as though the [American] administration has become the exclusive agent of Israel, its positions, and its policies. This stance is [reflected] in the American administration's new plan, as exposed in one of the Egyptian newspapers.[1] This is a [proposal] that the American administration is trying to market to the Arab and Islamic states – one which includes recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, in accordance with the American-Israeli approach, and all that that entails – land swaps, maintaining the settlements, [Israeli] security control over the Jordan Valley, and a united Jerusalem to remain the capital of the [Zionist] entity. In exchange, the Palestinians and Arabs are being asked to recognize the Jewishness of this state.

"This is a diplomatic American plan which the U.S. believes the [Arabs and Palestinians] may accept. The person who will be most inclined [to accept it] is [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas, along with the [Palestinian] Authority in Ramallah. I am not merely saying this; it is borne out by Abbas's own statements about the establishment of two states, a Palestinian one and an Israeli one, and about 'Israel' being able to refer to its state however it wishes – Jewish, secular, leftist – since it is Israel's business and the Palestinians have nothing to do with it...

"This plan represents the implementation of the American outlook that Obama has presented on the many [occasions] when he spoke of a Palestinian state for the Palestinians and 'Israel' for the Jews... This [demonstrates] America's clear support for the Israeli stance that Netanyahu presented [when he spoke about] the need for the Palestinians and Arabs to recognize the Jewishness of [his] state. That is to say, if this thieving entity recognizes a Palestinian state, all must recognize Israel as a purely Jewish state that belongs [only] to the Jews, and that the non-Jews have no choice but to leave, whether they want to or not."

The PLO Factions Do Not Recognize Israel

"What we, the Palestinians, need to discuss is [whether] we want to recognize 'Israel.' This is more important [than the question of whether] to recognize the Jewishness of 'Israel' or anything else. If we do recognize 'Israel,' it [does not matter] if we also recognize it as purely Jewish and belonging to the Jews. It is important that we define our position with the utmost clarity: Do we, in fact, recognize the Jews' right to the land of Palestine? And [if so,] is this a tactical recognition, as the Palestinians who recognize 'Israel' claim, and recognition by the PLO but not by Fatah? And if Fatah, Hamas, and [Islamic] Jihad do not recognize 'Israel,' does it mean anything to say that the PLO recognizes Israel? After all, the backbone of the PLO is Fatah and all the leftist factions... Is an organization without its constituent parts [even] an organization?

"If there has been a shift in the stance [of the PLO factions], why don't they form a united front fundamentally opposed to recognizing 'Israel,' [based on the notion] that this entity has no legitimacy and that the Jews have no [right to] a state or an entity on the land of Palestine? If this is the stance of Hamas, [Islamic] Jihad, and some [other Palestinian] forces, why don't the rest of the forces (Fatah and the PLO forces) publicly declare that they do not recognize 'Israel,' and why aren't they working to form this front, which at least 99% of the Palestinian people would join?

"We need a national popular front made up of [all] the factions that will unite all the Palestinians in confronting any plan for recognition of a Palestinian state [in exchange for the Palestinians' recognition of Israel]; in opposing anything [that threatens] to sabotage the Palestinian cause; and in speaking out against anyone who spreads propaganda aimed at [achieving] recognition of 'Israel' under any definition – Jewish or non-Jewish. Whoever recognizes 'Israel' will be considered outside the national and Arab ranks and an alien to Islam.

"The situation is dangerous and demands a swift rally to [form a united] front, even if it is only formed to oppose recognition of 'Israel' while we remain divided on the other issues. This is one issue that can unite us. So why not hasten to form [this front] and to stop all plans to destroy [our cause] and all those who have fallen by the wayside and are thronging to recognize the occupation?"[2]


[1] On July 14, 2011, the Egyptian daily Al-Masryoon reported that the Arabs were considering a U.S. proposal to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. The agreement, it said, was based on land for peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, in exchange for Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and the resettlement of the Palestinian refugees in the future Palestinian state. Al-Masryoon (Egypt), July 14, 2011.

[2] Falastin (Gaza), July 16, 2011.

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