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memri
December 5, 2018 No.
7792

Palestinian Authority, Fatah Act To Thwart UN Resolution Condemning Hamas Rocket Attacks On Israel: 'We Will Not Allow Hamas To Be Labeled A Terror Organization'; 'We Will Serve As Its Body Armor'

On November 30, 2018, the U.S. Mission to the UN submitted a draft resolution condemning violence by Hamas and by the other armed factions in Gaza. The resolution, which is scheduled for a vote at the General Assembly on Thursday (December 6, 2018), refers to Hamas's activity as "terror"[1] and "condemns the movement for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence, thereby putting civilians at risk." It demands that Hamas "cease all provocative actions and violent activity, including by using airborne incendiary devices." It also takes Hamas to task for using resources "to construct military infrastructure, including tunnels to infiltrate Israel and equipment to launch rockets into civilian areas, when such resources could be used to address the critical needs of the civilian population." In an announcement released the same day, the U.S. Mission stated that, "if the UN cannot bring itself to adopt this resolution, then it has no business being involved in peace discussions."[2]

Despite the ongoing intra-Palestinian schism, as part of which the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah

have repeatedly stated that Hamas's weapons are not directed at Israel but are intended to preserve Hamas's rule in Gaza,[3] PA and Fatah officials hurried to condemn the draft resolution and mobilized to thwart its passage. They emphasized the solidarity with Hamas and the national duty of coming to its aid, despite the bitter controversy with it, and clarified that they would not allow Hamas to be defined as a terror organization, because resistance to occupation is not terror but a legitimate right recognized by international law.

The following are excerpts from some of the statements by PA and Fatah officials against the draft resolution.

Palestinian Officials: We Will Fight This Draft Resolution; We Will Not Renounce Our National Responsibility Towards Hamas

The Palestinian leadership rejected the U.S. draft resolution out of hand on the grounds that it is completely biased in favor of Israel.  Statements by Fatah and its officials stressed the solidarity with Hamas and the need to defend it against accusations of terrorism, despite the conflict with it, and in fact claimed that no Palestinian movement could be accused of terrorism. They added that the PA and the Palestinian leadership would fight this "unjust" resolution at the UN.

'Abbas Advisor: The President Is Personally Acting To Thwart The Resolution

PLO Executive Committee secretary Saeb Erekat said: "The Palestinian leadership is waging a battle in the UN General Assembly to thwart the passage of the U.S. resolution condemning Hamas... Hamas is a Palestinian movement with which we have both disagreements and consensus – but we must not allow any Palestinian movement to be defined as terrorist."[4]

PA Supreme Shari'a Judge and 'Abbas's advisor on religious affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash said: "The Palestinian leadership, and President Mahmoud 'Abbas personally, are making exhaustive efforts to thwart the American attempts to get an international resolution passed condemning Hamas... This is because even though we have disagreements with Hamas, and despite the coup that it carried out [in Gaza in 2007] and its dodging of the [intra-Palestinian] reconciliation, which anger us, we are not renouncing our responsibility towards the entire homeland and the entire people, including Hamas."[5]

Fatah spokesman Osama Al-Qawasmeh said in a similar vein: "Despite all [our] disagreements with Hamas, and despite everything [Hamas] has done to harm the legitimate Palestinian rule [i.e. the PA], we know well the priorities of the national [Palestinian] activity, and we vehemently oppose the American-Israeli attempts to label Hamas a terrorist [organization] in the UN. We will fight to thwart this resolution proposal."

He asked all the countries of the free world that oppose this American extortion "to stand on their principles and values, to hear the voice of international law, and to condemn the Israeli occupation authorities, which are the true face of organized state terrorism."[6]

Fatah Official 'Abbas Zaki: We Have A Duty Towards Hamas, We Will Not Leave It Alone In The Fray

Fatah Central Committee member 'Abbas Zaki said: "The draft resolution submitted by the U.S. to the UN Security Council [sic] condemning Hamas is a clearly racist resolution that we will oppose by all possible means, because it harms the [entire] Palestinian cause... Defining Hamas – whose [policy] is one of resistance – as a terrorist movement means that all parts of the Palestinian people engage in terrorism. This contradicts reality, because Hamas and the rest of the Palestinian factions are national liberation movements engaging in resistance to the Israeli occupation that is using terrorism against our people... Our defense of Hamas emanates not from pity nor from a need to buy [political] positions, but from the belief that we have a duty to the [various] groups of our Palestinian people, and from sheer national faith. We cannot close our ears to the American administration's attempts to incriminate a national body that not long ago stopped the Israeli aggression and defended our people in Gaza. Hamas is an authentic movement, and we are its body armor against any unfair resolution... Hamas is part of us and we are part of it... It would be inconceivable for us to allow it to fight alone...  We disagree with Hamas, but it is inconceivable that we would disagree [with the fact] that it is a national authentic body of our people..."[7]

Other PA and Fatah statements stressed the direct involvement of the Palestinian leadership, headed by 'Abbas, in defending Hamas against the resolution. A statement issued by Fatah in Gaza said: "From the moment the American administration submitted its draft resolution in the Security Council [sic], the [Fatah] movement has acted against the proposal through all official and international channels, out of a sense of national steadfastness. This is without taking into account the narrow party and organizational differences of opinion [between us and Hamas] – towards which Hamas is trying to drag us by constantly attacking the [legitimate] Palestinian leadership and [PA] President Mahmoud 'Abbas, who is working energetically against the American draft resolution condemning Hamas..."[8]

Fatah, PLO Officials: "The Language Of The Resolution... Is Unacceptable"; This Is American Bullying

Fatah Central Committee member Hussein Al-Sheikh said: "The language of the resolution condemning Hamas submitted by the U.S. at the UN General Assembly is absolutely unacceptable... It constitutes additional and conclusive proof of the American policy that is completely biased towards the occupation and towards equating the hangman with the victim."[9]

PLO Executive Committee member Ahmad Majdalani said: "The resolution submitted against Hamas is [the equivalent of] a condemnation of [the entire] Palestinian people, because the right to resist is anchored in international and humanitarian law. If the U.S. craves peace and security, it must immediately end its partnership with the occupation that is carrying out organized state terrorism against the [Palestinian] people on a daily basis."[10] He repeated the Palestinian leaderships' claim that the U.S. was trying to undermine the status of the UN and of international law, saying: "The American threat to the UN – that the UN would have no role in the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations if the UN General Assembly does not pass the American resolution condemning Hamas alongside the other armed organizations – came as part of the [American] policy of wholesale dictates and shattering the prestige of the UN, in an attempt to force upon it the American agenda..."

Majdalani went on to warn against "this American bullying, that seeks to politicize the activity of this international organization [the UN], to impose the American perception, and to pressure the member states – all with the aim of making it lose its credibility and its role as an international organization one of whose most important roles is to preserve security and peace in the world and to implement its resolutions and international law."[11]

 


[1] It should be noted that Hamas has been a U.S. State Department Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization since 1997.  See state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm.

[2] State.gov, November 30, 2018.

[3] See for example statements by Mounir Al-Jaghoub, spokesman of Fatah's recruitment and organization commission, on Fatah's official Facebook page, Facebook.com/officialfateh1965, November 9, 2018.

[4] Samanews.ps, December 2, 2018.

[5] Samanews.ps, November 30, 2018.

[6] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Palestinian Authority), December 2, 2018.

[7] Fatehorg.ps, December 3, 2018.

[8] Alwatanvoice.com, December 1, 2018.

[9] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), December 1, 2018.

[10] Maannews.net, December 1, 2018.

[11] Maannews.net, December 1, 2018.