On November 23-24, 2014, the Fatah Advisory Council, chaired by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud 'Abbas, convened in Ramallah for a "Session [dedicated to] the Martyrs of the Homeland, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa." In his speech at this conference, 'Abbas spoke of every Palestinians' willingness to sacrifice for the Al-Aqsa Mosque, adding that defending Al-Aqsa is a moral, national and religious right. He accused Israel of backing all those responsible for aggression against Al-Aqsa, and congratulated his people for defending Jerusalem.
Fatah officials participating in the conference called to step up the popular resistance, and congratulated the Palestinian public for coming out bravely against those who seek to harm Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.
In an announcement published at the close of the conference, the Advisory Council praised the heroic awakening of Jerusalem's Palestinian residents, warned against the attempts to defile Al-Aqsa, recommended to allocate special funds to martyrs' families, and voiced its determination to continue the struggle.
The following are excerpts from some of the speeches at the conference and from its closing announcement, as reported in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida and on the Palestinian website Amad.ps.
Image: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), November 24, 2014
'Abbas: Defending Al-Aqsa Is A Moral, National And Religious Right
In his speech at the close of the conference, 'Abbas said: "It is a moral, national and religious right to defend Al-Aqsa and the places holy to Islam and Christianity. Our people oppose the thieving attackers who are supported by the government of Israel - the same [government] that has sabotaged the efforts to attain peace and is leading the wild campaign in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, seeking to strike any chance of obtaining security and peace between the two peoples on the basis of the two-state [solution]. I congratulate our people for their steadfastness in defending Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. We are all ready to sacrifice ourselves for Al-Aqsa and for Jerusalem.
"Throughout the nine months of negotiations under the sponsorship of U.S. State Secretary John Kerry, Netanyahu and his extremist government torpedoed every effort and every American or European initiative to revive the peace process. Under the protection of the occupation forces, this government began attacking and expropriating lands and homes in East Jerusalem while defying the international legitimacy [i.e., U.N. resolutions] and the condemnations voiced by international bodies. Our position, which is clear and is appreciated and supported by the international community, is anchored in a commitment to the two-state solution and to negotiations based on Israel's obligation to withdraw to the 1967 borders, evacuate the settlers from our lands, and carry out the fourth installment of prisoner release [which includes prisoners] arrested prior to 1992."
Fatah Officials: Step Up The Popular Resistance
Members of Fatah's Central Committee, Revolutionary Council and Advisory Council stressed the need "to reinforce national cohesion in Jerusalem in order to defend Al-Aqsa and the Muslim and Christian holy places; step up the popular resistance in all areas threatened by settlement, and defend village mosques and [villagers'] fields against arson and against the theft of the olive harvest by settlers." Fatah members also congratulated the wounded and the "heroic prisoners," pledging to continue the struggle until their release.
Fatah Advisory Council: We Congratulate Jerusalem Residents For Their Brave Awakening; We Are Determined To Continue The Fight
In the announcement issued at the close of the conference, the Advisory Council praised the residents of Jerusalem for awakening and "standing fast in the fateful battle that will decide the destiny of Palestine." It also called to dedicate funds to assisting the martyrs' families, and declared that the Palestinian people is determined to continue the struggle and the fighting.
The first part of the announcement, titled "Jerusalem Is a Red Line," says: "[In the conference,] the Advisory Council congratulated the [Palestinian] public for its courage and bravery in challenging, bare-chested, the settlement[-strategy] attack on holy Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Our youth, our men and our women in Jerusalem prove that they are the defenders of the gates of Al-Aqsa [and will continue to be so] until Judgment Day. Our people stands with Jerusalem and with the defenders of the holy places. The Advisory Council stressed that peace, security and stability begin in Jerusalem, and warned against the danger of harming the holy places and transforming the conflict into a religious one."
The announcement called on the PLO and the PA, as well as on Jordan, the custodian of the holy places in Jerusalem, and Morocco, which heads the Jerusalem Committee of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, "to work night and day to support the steadfastness of our residents in Jerusalem, and [to act] on the international level to compel Israel to stop its aggression, which is aimed at desecrating Al-Aqsa and the holy places in order to deny the right of our people to establish an independent state with holy Jerusalem as its capital..."
The announcement said further: "The message of aid and support must reach every home in Jerusalem, and all our steadfast residents there must feel that they are not alone in this fateful struggle that will decide the destiny of Palestine. The Advisory Council calls to dedicate a special budget to the families of martyrs who made sacrifices for the sake of freedom and who are arrested and have their homes demolished by the Israeli occupation. They deserve more than any of us to receive aid and support without stint and without hesitation. They are standing fast for the sake of our future in this historic homeland of Palestine, for we have no other homeland..."
The Palestinian People Is Determined To Continue Its Struggle And Fighting
The announcement stressed that "the activity towards approaching the Security Council with a national draft resolution to end the occupation, establish an independent [Palestinian] state and [recognize] the refugees' right of return will be a historic achievement for our people, considering the isolation of Israel in the international arena. This Security Council bid is accompanied by international activity in Europe [to promote] recognition of the independent Palestinian state..."
The announcement clarified that today, when the Palestinians are marking the tenth anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Fatah, the Advisory Council sees fit to "stress the Palestinian people's determination to fight and struggle to end the occupation."
 Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA); Amad.ps, November 24, 2014.