January 25, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11096

Fatah Official To Al-Jazeera Website: Fatah Members Are Fighting In Gaza; 'As Long As Muhammad Deif Is Still Standing – We Are All In Good Shape'

January 25, 2024
Qatar, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 11096

In a January 16, 2024 interview with the Al-Jazeera website, Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki said that members of Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, are fighting in both Gaza and the West Bank, and that "Fatah's ideology, [advocates] liberating all the land of Palestine, despite [the movement's] involvement in the peace agreements with Israel." Addressing Fatah's relations with Hamas, Zaki said that "Hamas needs us and we need it," and added that, as far as Fatah is concerned, Israel's recent assassination of Hamas Political Bureau deputy head Saleh Al-Arouri is no different from the assassination of Fatah deputy head Khalil Al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) in the late 1980s. He also stated that, "as long as [Hamas military commander] Mouhammad Deif is still standing, all of us [Palestinians] are in good shape."

Zaki's comments are in line with statements by other Fatah members who supported Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel and emphasized Fatah's desire for a national reconciliation with Hamas.

Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki (Image:, January 16, 2024)

The following are translated excerpts from Abbas Zaki's interview:[i]

I Regret That Our Name Has Become Associated With The Illusion Called Peace; Fatah Operatives Are Fighting Israel In Gaza And The West Bank

Question: "About the war against Gaza – what is Fatah's role [today], after the Al-Aqsa Flood events [i.e., Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel], and how do you respond to the criticism regarding the decline of [Fatah's role] on the Palestinian street?

Answer: "Sadly, our name has become associated with the illusion called peace. In the 30 years since [the signing of the Oslo Accords], the movement has not prepared for [military] campaigns [against Israel] as much as it dealt with building the state institutions.  In this [context], Fatah stood alongside the Palestinian Authority (PA) while [also] expressing reservations and criticism, and therefore its role in the resistance was more limited. However, that does not mean that Fatah is not engaged in fighting. There are plenty of Fatah members fighting in Gaza, and even in the West Bank. Despite all the restrictions and agreements that ban Fatah from carrying arms, we do see [its military wing] the Al-Aqsa Brigades waging resistance.[ii]

"I say that the day Isael dares to annex the West Bank, all Fatah members will stand against it, regardless of their affiliation with the PA and its interests. I believe that Israel's aggression will cause all of us to [join] the fray."

Fatah's Ideology Is To Liberate All Of The Palestinian Lands, Despite The Agreements With Israel

Question: "Fatah was supposed to hold its eighth General Conference in the middle of last month [December 2023]. What prevented this? What main decisions can be expected [at the conference], once it convenes?

Answer: "We meant to hold the conference in order to consolidate Fatah's democratic [character] and elect its [new] leadership. But it was absolutely impossible to convene the conference without Gaza, and hold decisions about who will lead [us] in the middle of this war, when there is a leadership on the ground and it is fighting in Gaza. I said [then] and I say now: As long as [Hamas military commander] Muhammad Deif is still standing – we are all in good shape…"

Question: "Generally speaking, how do you view Fatah's [condition] 59 years after its establishment? Does it still lead the [Palestinian] street? Would you say that the internal schisms within it have impacted its power on the ground?"

Answer: "Inspiring ideology does not depend on [specific] individuals, and Fatah's ideology [advocates] liberating all of the land of Palestine, despite its involvement in the peace agreements with Israel. Fatah still maintains the same strategy, and remains strong despite all the disagreements. The more Israel increased its pressure, the more the movement regains its unity and strength.  We have no disagreement with those among us who want peace, but we tell them that we must also prepare for war. Today we are making an effort in Fatah to ensure that what was imposed by past conditions [i.e., by the Oslo Accords] will not become permanent."

Hamas Needs Us And We Need It; As Long As The War Continues, It Must Not Be Criticized

Question: "Regarding the internal situation – are there contacts between the PA and Fatah [on the one hand] and Hamas [on the other]? What do you consider the most important matters that such contacts should address?"

Answer: "As far as I am concerned, the assassination of the leader [Hamas Political Bureau deputy head] Saleh Al-Arouri [in Lebanon on January 2, 2024] was just like the assassination of Abu Jihad [Fatah deputy head Khalil Al-Wazir, in 1988]. As far as Fatah is concerned, there is no difference between them, and despite all the conditions and threats, and the fact that the U.S. designated [Arouri] a terrorist, we declared [a period of] mourning [for him]…

"I believe that contacts [between Fatah and Hamas] should have been held from the first day of the aggression [against Gaza], and I think President [Abbas] should now call for a reorganization of the Palestinian domestic [arena, i.e., for integrating Hamas in the PLO] – because Hamas needs us and we need it, and there is nothing that can sabotage this"

Question: "Since [the start of] the Al-Aqsa Flood war, some voices in Fatah have been criticizing Hamas and demanding to hold it to account. Do you agree with this criticism?"

Answer: "During the war we must not express any such [criticism]. But after it, the people will hold everyone accountable by means of the ballot, in the elections for the new leadership…"


[1], January 16, 2024.

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