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memri
November 15, 2017 No.
7181

Officials In Fatah And Its Military Wing In Gaza: We Will Not Lay Down The Arms Of Resistance Until All The Land Is Liberated

The position of Palestinian President and Fatah Chairman Mahmoud 'Abbas, that, as part of the reconciliation agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas on October 12, 2017, all weapons in the PA territories will be in the hands of a single authority, has met with opposition not only from Hamas but within Fatah itself. In the last few days, Fatah officials, as well as members of the movement's armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, in Gaza, declared that they reject any debate about the weapons of the armed factions. On the anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death, they said that they follow Arafat's example by refusing to put down their arms until all Palestinian land is liberated. Fatah Central Committee member 'Abbas Zaki even said that anyone who considers this a matter for debate is a traitor.

The following are some statements on this issue by elements in Fatah and in the Al-Aqsa Brigades in Gaza:

Fatah Central Committee Member: The Central Committee Has Forbidden To Discuss The Weapons; We Shall Arm Our Brigades In Gaza

Fatah Central Committee member 'Abbas Zaki, known for his hawkish positions, said in an interview with Al-'Alam, a Hebron radio station: "The weapons of the resistance are pure, and we must hold on to them. From day to day we increase our training and improve our abilities, [waiting] for the right day to come, for we are not lambs to the slaughter. Whoever harms the weapons of the resistance is no patriot, and should be regarded differently [from a patriot]. These weapons are used in the shadow of the occupation and in accordance with [our] national decision. We use them effectively and they have great impact on the other side, namely on Israel. Had peace come and had Israel withdrawn, it would have made sense to raise [the issue of] the weapons, and we would not have regarded this as treason. But at the moment the occupation exists... [so] it is disgraceful to [discuss] this. Israel is the one who calls for the removal [of the weapons] and tells us, 'be slaves.' We are not slaves. We will never give up our weapons. Yasser Arafat used to speak about 'a rifle and an olive branch.' Whoever calls to discuss the weapons is of dubious identity... The weapons must not be a matter for debate... We too have brigades in Gaza, and we will resume arming them."


'Abbas Zaki (image: alwatanvoice.com, November 9, 2017)

Zaki added that "the function of the Palestinian government is to take care of the people's affairs, but strategic decisions are the province of the PLO. [The PLO] is the source of authority... We in the Fatah Central Committee have forbidden to discuss this issue. The weapons will become more numerous and more advanced, but [the decision] to use them is up to the supreme [Palestinian] bodies and the national consensus. Talk about disarming plays into the hands of Israel. Talk about the control of the weapons is [part of] preparing for the day of battle."[1]

Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades In Gaza: No One Will Disarm The Resistance; The Brigades' Rifle Exists Alongside Fatah's Political Track

Also, Fatah's military arm, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, in Gaza rejected any discussion of the factions' weapons. On the anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death, the Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported that Brigades official Abu Al-Muntasir 'Amar had said: "The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades continue with the struggle and with the resistance by all possible military ways and means, to defend our Palestinian people everywhere." He stressed that the Brigades "will continue in the path of Arafat until they actualize his goals and the revolution, that is, self-determination, the return [of the refugees], and the expulsion of the occupation from our land... No one can disarm the resistance – the [weapons] are the weapons of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause. As long as the occupation on the Palestinian lands continues, the rifle of the revolution will be aimed at the breast of the occupation, until it leaves or dies."

He added: "The rifle of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades exists alongside Fatah's political track. The actualization of the political achievements of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause is top priority for the Brigades, which will continue to be a bulwark for the Palestinian leadership, headed by Mahmoud 'Abbas... There is no contradiction between the political track and the military track, and the campaign against Israel must continue on the military, political, popular, and diplomatic levels, so that the world will hear the voice of the Palestinian cause and will restore the plundered rights to their owners."

'Amar also called for "strengthening national unity, uniting around the national independent Palestinian decision, concentrating all efforts on isolating Israel and ending the occupation of the land and the people, and continuing to march in the path of the martyred leader Yasser Arafat."[2]


Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades members (image: maannews.net, November 10, 2017)

Abu Muhammad, spokesman for the Brigades' Nidal Al-'Amoudi Battalion, rejected any compromise on the weapons of the resistance, saying: "The only legitimate weapon is the weapon of the resistance, and the resistance factions will not hand over their weapons until the last inch of occupied Palestinian land is liberated."[3]

In response to statements by Hazem 'Atallah, chief of the Palestinian police in the West Bank, who said that Hamas's 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades must disarm for the sake of the reconciliation, Abu Muhammad remarked: "Neither 'Atallah nor anyone else can disarm the resistance, because these weapons are more legitimate than any other weapons. This is the bond of blood that is passed on from the martyrs who fell with their weapons in their hands... 'Atallah must know: There is no way we will allow the occupation to roam through Gaza as it does in the West Bank."[4]

 


[1] Alwatanvoice.com, nedal.net, November 9, 2017.

[2] Maannews.net, November 10, 2017.

[3] For December 2016 statements by Abu Ahmad, commander of the Nidal Al-'Amoudi Battalion of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Gaza, advocating armed struggle and rejecting negotiations with Israel, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 5826, Fatah Militant Leader in Gaza: Fatah Has Lost Its Path, Palestine Will Not Be Liberated by Futile Negotiations; Only the Gun Can Reunite Fatah,

December 31, 2016; for footage of this battalion training, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 5904, Militants of Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades Demonstrate Skills during Course Graduation, Simulate Capture of Israeli Soldier, February 5, 2017.

[4] Shehab.ps, November 9, 2017.