January 4, 2022 Special Dispatch No. 9709

Fatah's 57th Anniversary Rallies In Ramallah And Elsewhere In The Palestinian Authority Feature Armed Activists, Models Of Rockets

January 4, 2022
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 9709

The Fatah movement marked its 57th anniversary with mass rallies on December 30 and 31, 2021 glorifying the armed struggle against Israel; some of the rallies were attended by senior Fatah officials.[1] These gatherings prominently featured armed, masked activists from Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, despite the fact that Palestinian Authority (PA) outlawed it nearly 15 years ago, in 2007.[2] The rallies included activists carrying models of rockets and waving posters of Fatah terrorists; also participating were young children, some of them also masked and carrying weapons.

It is noteworthy that models of rockets were also an element of the rallies marking the anniversary of the founding of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which were held recently on the campus of Birzeit University, north of Ramallah.[3]

 This report will present examples of militarization at the rallies marking the Fatah anniversary:

Fatah Deputy Chairman At December 30 Manara Square Rally In Ramallah: "Fatah Believes In All Types Of Resistance"

In his speech at a December 30 Fatah rally at the central Manara Square in Ramallah, movement deputy chairman Mahmoud Al-'Aaloul stressed that the Palestinian people would not stop its struggle and its "resistance to the occupation" until it achieves freedom and independence,[4] and that Fatah believes in "all types" of resistance."[5]

Al-'Aaloul extended greetings to prisoners Marwan Barghouti and Karim Younes, two Fatah Central Committee members who are serving lengthy sentences in Israeli prison for involvement in the murders of Israelis, ,[6] and to other Fatah prisoners including Maher Younes, a cousin of Karim Younes, who is serving a 40-year sentence for the murder of an Israeli soldier; Fouad Al-Shubaki, who was the PA official in charge of bringing the Karin A weapons ship to Gaza in 2002, who is serving a 20-year sentence; and Zakaria Zubeidi, Fatah Revolutionary Council member and former commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin, who was arrested several times for involvement in terror attacks. Likewise, Al-'Aaloul sent greetings to PFLP secretary-general Ahmad Sa'adat, who is serving a 30-year sentence for the 2001 murder of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi.[7]

A video of the rally shows the master of ceremonies calling on Fatah members to "wave your rifles."[8]

Left: The December 30 Fatah rally at Manara Square, Ramallah (source:, December 30, 2021); right: Al-'Aaloul on stage at the rally (source:, December 30, 2021).

Photos and videos of the Manara Square rally on social media show that the rally participants included armed, masked, and uniformed activists with yellow Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades headbands, and that similarly attired children were also present. Some activists from Shabiba, the Fatah youth movement, marched at the event, carrying models of various types of rockets; on one of the rockets was written "Prisoners of Freedom" – a reference to Zakariya Zubeidi and the other five prisoners, Islamic Jihad members, who had escaped Israel's Gilboa Prison in September 2021 and remained on the run for several days before their capture.[9]

Posters carried by Fatah activists glorified the movement's leading prisoners, and some honored the six prison escapees.

Armed, masked, and uniformed Shabiba activists carrying models of rockets at December 30 Fatah rally in Ramallah (source:, December 30, 2021)

At Fatah rally in Ramallah, activists in uniform carry models of rockets (source:, December 30, 2021)

Activist carrying rocket with "Prisoners of Freedom" written on it (source:, December 30, 2021)

Children carrying Qurans and weapons at the Fatah rally in Ramallah (source:, December 30, 2021)

Posters glorifying imprisoned terrorists at the rally (source:, December 30, 2021)

Armed Activists At December 31 Fatah Event In Bil'in

Smaller Fatah anniversary events held elsewhere also included displays of militarization and support for the armed struggle against Israel. For example, at an event in the village of Bil'in, west of Ramallah, armed masked activists from Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades carried rifles and grenades in the proximity of children. The event was also covered on official PA TV.

December 31 Fatah event in Bil'in with children and activists carrying rifles and grenades. (source:, December 31, 2021)


[1] This is not the first time that militarization is in evidence at a Fatah anniversary event. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7259, Fatah Social Media Accounts Glorify Armed Struggle Against Israel, Incite To Violence, January 2, 2018.

[2] In 2007, Palestinian Authority President and Fatah chairman Mahmoud 'Abbas issued a presidential order outlawing "all armed militias and all military or paramilitary groups," and ordered their weapons and ammunition confiscated. This order was meant to apply also to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military arm of Fatah of which he is the head., June 26, 2007; Fatah, under 'Abbas, continues to honor former Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades activists; for example, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7248, Fatah, Headed By Mahmoud 'Abbas, Fetes Released Prisoner Responsible For Shootings, Suicide Attack During Second Intifada, December 26, 2017.

[4] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), December 31, 2021.

[5] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), December 30, 2021.

[6] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), December 31, 2021. Karim Younes and his cousin Maher Younes abducted and murdered an Israeli soldier and were each sentenced to 40 years in prison. Marwan Barghouti is serving five life sentences and another 40 years for carrying out many terror attacks as part of his role as Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades commander. For more on Fatah and Palestinian Authority support for the Younes cousins and Barghouti, see: MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7282, Palestinian Authority Honors Two Prisoners Serving Life Sentences For Kidnapping, Murder Of Israeli Soldier; Representative For PA President 'Abbas: 'The Two Prisoners Are A National Example', January 16, 2018; MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6934, Praise And Support For Imprisoned Terrorists By Palestinian Authority President 'Abbas, Palestinian Authority Officials, May 21, 2017.  

[7], December 30, 2021.

[8], December 30, 2021.

[9] For more on Palestinian Authority and Fatah backing for the terrorists who broke out of Gilboa Prison, see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 9542, Article In Palestinian Authority Daily Calls To Help Palestinian Terrorists Who Escaped From Israeli Prison, September 9, 2021.


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