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August 4, 2008 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 458

In Wake of Tahdiah Agreement, Escalation in Hamas-Fatah Conflict and in Fatah's Position Vis-à-vis Israel

August 4, 2008 | By C. Jacob
Palestine | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 458

Introduction

Under the tahdiah agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which went into effect on June 19, 2008, the Palestinians agreed to stop the rocket attacks on Israel in exchange for a cessation of Israel's military activity in Gaza. It was also agreed that there would be negotiations for opening the Rafah crossing, with the participation of Palestinian Authority, Hamas and E.U. representatives.[i]

The agreement was the result of prolonged negotiations, during which both sides withdrew some of their original demands. Hamas waived its demands to include the West Bank in the agreement and to open the Rafah crossing immediately. Israel, on its part, withdrew its demand to stop arms smuggling as a condition for signing the agreement, and did not insist on a clause linking the tahdiah to the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Hamas was very interested in the tahdiah, mainly out of concern that the continued siege on Gaza would weaken its status among the Palestinians, and out of fear that Israel would target its leaders. Nevertheless, the movement has presented the agreement as an Israeli capitulation and as a Hamas victory, emphasizing the lifting of the siege on Gaza and Israel's apparent recognition of Hamas.

Though some of the Palestinian factions expressed reservations about the agreement, they all agreed to the tahdiah. Despite this, some of them have violated the agreement by firing rockets at Israel, on the pretext that Israel's military actions in the West Bank constituted a breach of the tahdiah. Hamas' response to the violations was ambiguous; while one Hamas spokesmen expressed sympathy for the groups that had fired, and stressed that Hamas would not impose the tahdiah by force, other Hamas spokesmen emphasized the need for coordinated action by all the Palestinian factions, stating that those who launch rockets must be arrested. As a matter of fact, Hamas has indeed arrested some activists from Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades who fired or were planning to fire rockets. Israel's response to the rocket fire has been to intermittently close the border crossings, which in turn has led Hamas to suspend negotiations on the release of Gilad Shalit.

The tahdiah has brought about an escalation in the conflict between Hamas and the PA. The PA and Fatah criticized the tahdiah agreement, accusing Hamas of selling out the Palestinian cause – and especially the West Bank – in order to protect its leaders from assassination and in return for "fuel and food that are sold on the black market for a personal profit." PA and Fatah spokesmen also claimed that Hamas has relinquished its hard-line position, and is now pursuing the very same policy that the PA had pursued in the past – a policy that harshly condemned by Hamas at the time. The tension between the PA and Hamas has also resulted in armed clashes between the two sides in Gaza and the West Bank.

Meanwhile, the tahdiah is being only partially honored, with each side – Hamas and Israel – trying to pressure the other. Hamas, which sees the agreement as a victory, is calling to escalate the resistance in the West Bank. It has explicitly condoned the recent acts of terrorism in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and has taken responsibility for some of them in a bid to refute claims that it has sacrificed the West Bank and has abandoned the path of resistance. Hamas's military arm, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, even threatened recently to abduct more Israeli soldiers.

Senior Fatah leaders have also escalated their statements – perhaps in attempt to prove that they are no less committed than Hamas to the national cause, and perhaps because Israel's agreement with Hamas has convinced them that force can lead to achievements. In their statements, they stressed that Fatah had not relinquished the strategy of armed resistance, congratulated Samir Al-Quntar on his release from the Israeli prison, and glorified Dalal Al-Mughrabi, who led the 1978 coast road bus hijacking. This, in addition to the violation of the tahdiah by Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades, whose members recently fired rockets at Israel.

Following are excerpts from articles on the tahdiah in the Palestinian press, and from postings on a Hamas-affiliated website.

Hamas: The Tahdiah Is A Victory

Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar, formerly foreign minister in the Hamas government, announced: "The tahdiah is a victory for the Palestinian people. Israel agreed to it [only] when it realized that it could not benefit from military action."[ii]

Hamas' Perceived Achievements:

Israeli Recognition of Hamas

Hamas political bureau deputy chief Moussa Abu Marzouq stated: "As a result of the tahdiah, Israel has for the first time, officially and genuinely, recognized the legitimacy of Hamas." He added: "It was [the Israelis] who initiated the tahdiah, and we agreed to reciprocate."[iii]

Hamas media coordinator Ramadhan Shabet wrote on the Hamas-affiliated website www.palestine-infor.info: "For the first time, the tyrant has bowed to the will of the people who have risen up against him and who have refused to accept the siege, deprivation and oppression. Congratulations to the people and to the legitimate government in Gaza, who have compelled this enemy to beg for some peace and quiet, when in the past he would brag, calling your honorable resistance 'terrorism' and refusing to recognize the so-called 'terrorism and terrorists.' All this is the result of your fortitude."[iv]

Another contributor to the site, Badr Al-Din Madoukh, wrote: "The countdown to enemy's downfall has begun, and the trap has been set for the Zionist enterprise. For the second time in its history, it has publicly agreed to a tahdiah with the resistance forces, which are determined to maintain their strategic goal – [namely] to wipe the [Zionist] entity off the face of the earth... The tahdiah is tantamount to recognition by all sides that Hamas is a major player in the political process, and that any agreement or negotiations over the Palestinian issue must be approved by Hamas."[v]

The Lifting of the Siege on Gaza

Hamas spokesman Isma'il Radhwan said that the movement's main achievement was in the lifting of the siege on Gaza, which was an injustice to the Palestinians.[vi]

A Respite for the Palestinian People and Fighters

Hamas political bureau member 'Izzat Al-Rishq said: "The tahdiah is a respite that we have achieved for our people, [allowing them] a breath of air."[vii] A contributor to www.palestine-infor.info, Ibrahim Al-Shahid, wrote: "We wished to stop for a while the [acts of] aggression against our people, in order to give the resistance groups a chance to rest, to prepare, and to reorganize. That is all we wanted. Our goal was [to give] the warriors a respite,[viii] in preparation for the next round. We wanted to give them a six-month break in which to prepare, so they would deal swift death to the Israelis in the next round [of fighting]. [In the meantime] we continue to arm, train, and become stronger."[ix]

Proof that Force and Resistance Can Lead to Achievements

Journalist Karem Al-Gharabli of the Hamas weekly Al-Risala wrote: "Hamas has succeeded where others have failed: It has confirmed and enforced the famous maxim that 'what was taken by force will only be regained by force.' This is a strategic achievement for Hamas, which has managed to combine armed [resistance] with political [tactics]."[x] A posting on www.palestine-infor.info by Ahmad Al-Hila stated: "The resistance conveyed a clear message, namely, that armed [fighting] combined with endurance and a clear vision can lead to a victory in our struggle against the occupation, and can bring us closer to obtaining our rights... The occupation understands nothing but force, and has no respect for the weak – [so] it is only natural that it has founded its state and its [concept of] glory on an ideology of force. Had it not experienced a bitter failure in countering the 'useless' rockets of the resistance, it would not have signed this tahdiah agreement with the resistance."[xi]

Another contributor to the site, Bashar Sa'id, wrote: "The enemy agreed to a tahdiah after it failed to achieve its goal of defeating Gaza and the Hamas government by [a combination of] military means and a suffocating siege."[xii]

Contributor Muhammad Shurab commented that Hamas' rocket attacks on Israel were not as effective as suicide bombings, but that Israel's failure to stop these attacks was in itself a victory for Hamas. As a result of this failure, he said, "[Israel's] army suffered great harm and its deterrence [capabilities] eroded... The resistance won the battle, though it paid a heavy price in lives and [damage to] property."[xiii]

Abducted Soldier Gilad Shalit Left Out Of Tahdiah Deal

A posting on www.palestine-infor.info by Majid Al-Zibdeh stated: "The bilateral tahdiah [agreement], which was approved by the various factions of the Palestinian resistance and by the Zionist enemy, came after the Zionist negotiators failed to tie the tahdiah to the issue of the soldier Gilad Shalit. This is a new victory for the Palestinian resistance, [which has managed] to cling to its position despite the heavy siege on Gaza and despite its desperate need for a tahdiah."[xiv]

Arms Smuggling Clause Not Included in Deal

Hamas leader Isma'il Haniyya said: "[The Israelis] said that Hamas must stop the so-called smuggling of arms by sea and by land... [However,] we did not respond to this call, because it is unjust... [Moreover, stopping the arms smuggling] is beyond the capacity of the [Hamas] government, so we will not undertake such a commitment."[xv] Former Hamas spokesman Taher Al-Nunu likewise emphasized that "the tahdiah agreement did not contain any clause on stopping the [arms] smuggling." He added: "Israel agreed to this because the Hamas government made it clear that it had nothing to do with the smuggling issue."[xvi]

A Chance for National Reconciliation

Ahmad Al-Hila wrote on www.palestine-info.info: "The tahdiah is a chance for reassessment in the domestic Palestinian arena, after some severe disagreements that prevailed in the past year among the brothers in the homeland, and after the distinct failure of the political process [vis-à-vis Israel]."[xvii]

Unlike PA, Hamas Obtained Concessions From Israel

Hamas political bureau deputy head Moussa Abu Marzouq stated that the tahdiah had caused the PA considerable embarrassment, because "Hamas had managed to put a stop to the aggression [against] Gaza while the PA had achieved nothing in the West Bank – either on the political or on the security front." Abu Marzouq added: "[In the West Bank,] the arrests and assassinations continue, and not a single checkpoint has been removed. The PA has not succeeded in stopping the attacks on the Palestinian people. It has failed to defend them despite its continued contacts and negotiations with the enemy."[xviii]

Majid Al-Zibdeh wrote on www.palestine-info.info: "[Hamas'] insistence on its positions and its refusal to accept the Zionist terms [are in striking contrast to] the concessions made by the [PA] negotiators, who have [always] been the weak side in [their] agreements with the Zionist enemy. It is clear to all that if the [PA] negotiator had insisted on his positions, [putting aside] personal and narrow factional interests, these [Palestinian] concessions would have never been made."[xix]

Hamas Calls to Escalate Resistance in West Bank While Expressing Commitment to Tahdiah

Calls to Escalate Resistance

The tahdiah has motivated Hamas to escalate the fighting in the West Bank – first, out of a sense that only force will compel Israel to make concessions, and second, as a signal that it has not sacrificed the West Bank in favor of Gaza, and that – in spite of the tahdiah – it has not relinquished the path of resistance. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri stressed that "the duty of the resistance [fighters] in the West Bank is to fight," and called upon the PA security forces "to allow [them] to fulfill their task of defending the [Palestinian] people in the face of the Zionist aggression."[xx]

The call to escalate the fighting in the West Bank was also manifest in other Hamas statements and publications, such as the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam communiqué taking responsibility for the June 20, 2008 attack on Israeli settlers near Neve Tsuf. The communiqué said: "We will not stand idly by [while the West Bank suffers]... The heroes and knights of the West Bank will be like a bone in the throat of the occupation."[xxi] A posting on www.palestine-info.info praised Houssam Duwiyat, who carried out the July 2, 2008 bulldozer attack in Jerusalem, stating, "The Jews need a thousand Houssams."[xxii] Ahmad Al-Hila wrote on www.palestine-info.info: "Since the attempts to reach a political settlement have failed, why don't we take advantage of the fact that there is no tahdiah in the West Bank, and concentrate our resistance effort there, in a bid to stop the cancerous [spread of the] settlements and the confiscation of land?"[xxiii]

Another contributor to the site, Rashid Thabet, wrote in a similar vein: "The honorable and loyal [resistance fighters] can turn the only problematic [aspect] of the [tahdiah] deal – namely the non-inclusion of the West Bank – to their advantage by [escalating] the resistance there, or by using it as a base for [attacks] on every possible target [in Israel]."[xxiv]

Expressions of Commitment to the Tahdiah

Though it did not respond forcefully to violations of the tahdiah, Hamas has expressed commitment towards it and a determination to honor it. Mahmoud Al-Zahar stated: "Hamas and Islamic Jihad have agreed that anyone who violates the agreement – including their own members – will be arrested and his weapons will be confiscated, since [such actions] are not resistance but a sabotage of the resistance."[xxv] On July 10, the Hamas security forces arrested three activists from the Al-Aqsa Brigades who had fired rockets into Israel.[xxvi]

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: "We in Hamas [hereby] declare that we are committed to the tahdiah, and that we will work with all other Palestinian factions [to guarantee] its success and continuation... Clearly, it was the Zionist occupation that provoked the Palestinian public and the resistance factions by perpetrating the heinous crime in Nablus and executing two [Palestinians] in cold blood after the [prolonged] siege [on our people]."[xxvii]

Senior Hamas official Khalil Al-Haya said that "Hamas would not enforce the tahdiah in Gaza by use of arms if the resistance groups violated it," and that "Hamas would not become a policeman securing the borders of the occupation."[xxviii] At the same time, he criticized Islamic Jihad for rushing to respond to the Israeli attack in Nablus, saying: "If it is necessary to respond, it should be done in the West Bank, not in Gaza."[xxix]

Hamas also criticized the Al-Aqsa Brigades for trying to sabotage the tahdiah through rocket attacks on Israel. Ahmad Al-Filou wrote on www.palestine-info.info: "Launching rockets at this time is a Fatah tactic aimed at embarrassing Hamas, which is honoring the tahdiah agreement that it signed out of [a sense of] supreme responsibility. [Fatah is violating the agreement] in order to create a distorted and misleading impression, [namely that] Hamas is against the resistance while the remnants of Dahlan's gang – those cowardly [signers] of the Oslo [Accords] and the agents of the Mossad – are patriotic resistance [fighters]."[xxx]

Amira 'Abd Al-'Aziz wrote on www.palestine-info.info: "Where were the rockets of [Fatah's] Al-Aqsa Brigades when the Palestinians were experiencing hard times in Gaza? Why were they silent [then]? Why did they remain silent while Gaza burned, and what has caused them to awaken now, after [Hamas] signed the tahdiah agreement? Have the rockets and the armed resistance ceased to be 'useless' [as Fatah used to claim]? Or perhaps [the Al-Aqsa Brigades activists] were in a deep coma, and have woken from it only now, when the rockets of Hamas and 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam are taking a rest?... Perhaps orders have come from Ramallah to oppose and sabotage the tahdiah, since Hamas has achieved [this victory] and compelled the enemy to agree to its terms."[xxxi]

PA Spokesmen Criticize Tahdiah Agreement

Although the PA generally supported the tahdiah, some PA officials opposed it and harshly criticized Hamas. Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt Nabil 'Omar stated in an interview that "in the tahdiah agreement, Hamas sacrificed the West Bank by stating that the tahdiah would be implemented gradually." He added: "What will Hamas say if Israel enters Nablus? It will condemn it just as we have, but will do nothing, since it has accepted that the tahdiah holds only in Gaza."[xxxii]

Palestinian information ministry official Hani Al-Masri, a columnist for the PA daily Al-Ayyam, wrote: "Under the tahdiah agreement, the siege will not be lifted [immediately] but only gradually. [Furthermore, the agreement] does not guarantee the opening of the Rafah crossing, [but leaves] this issue for [future] negotiations... Nor does it include the exchange of prisoners, which is another [missed opportunity], since the Israeli government is under great pressure in this matter by the [Israeli] public and the family of Gilad Shalit... [In addition,] the tahdiah agreement does not include a provision for effective supervision by a third party... The most serious flaw, [however,] is that [the tahdiah] is not contingent on any political process and is not expected to be accompanied by serious negotiations to end the occupation. This makes the tahdiah – if it materializes and endures – [an act of] coexistence with the occupation, when what is needed is an end to the occupation..."[xxxiii]

Yousef Muhammad, columnist for the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, wrote: "Hamas has sold out the interests of the Palestinian people in order to protect its leaders from assassination and in exchange for some food and fuel sold on the black market for personal profit."

Al-Hayat Al-Jadida columnist and advisor to the Palestinian prime minister 'Omar Hilmi Al-Ghul wrote: "The Hamas leadership has agreed to be a policeman securing the borders of the occupying and aggressive Israeli state. To this end, it has been persecuting the resistance groups, and has even arrested some [resistance fighters], even if it has not made this public... [As a result of the tahdiah,] Gaza and its political forces are under supervision; if some resistance groups develop weapons and carry out resistance operations, Israel will have the right to regard the tahdiah as null and void."

Former PA deputy minister Dr. Sufyan Abu Zaida stated: "Hamas is currently trying to play the role previously played by the PA, when it sought to maintain a tahdiah. What is the difference between an 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam fighter who is [now] responsible for maintaining the tahdiah and is [therefore] preventing resistance fighters from carrying out operations and a soldier from the [PA] National Defense Forces who did this in the past?"[xxxiv] Al-Ayyam columnist 'Abdallah 'Awwad wrote: "When Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud 'Abbas] promoted a tahdiah, it was regarded as treason, heresy and collaboration [with the enemy]; however, when Hamas upholds the tahdiah, it [is characterized as] struggle, resistance, victory, and the superior interest of the Palestinian people... Have you forgotten that [your] slogan used to be 'resistance until the liberation of the West Bank?'"[xxxv]

Escalation in Fatah Positions

Escalation vis-à-vis Hamas

The PA has escalated its positions vis-à-vis Hamas, notwithstanding President 'Abbas's announcement of a national dialogue under Egyptian auspices that will involve all the Palestinian factions.[xxxvi] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida columnist Mahmoud Abu Al-Heja wrote: "I doubt that even one person still believes or hopes that dialogue can lead to a settlement concerning the coup in Gaza... Hamas is determined to break away and pursue its plan to create an [Islamic] emirate... What is to be done? There is no alternative to [taking] a dramatic step – though I am not sure what this step is and how it can be taken. This is the duty and responsibility of the leadership. We rely on it to take this step.[xxxvii]

The head of the Fatah bloc in the Palestinian parliament, 'Azzam Al-Ahmad, said that since Hamas has rejected all attempts at mediation, the PA has for the past several weeks been considering declaring Gaza a "rebel region" ruled by a military gang that has carried out an armed rebellion. Al-Ahmad emphasized that if a rebellion erupts in some part of a country, the legitimate government has a right to put it down by force, and to ask for assistance from whomever it sees fit. [xxxviii]

Hamas has in fact accused Fatah of perpetrating the July 25, 2008 bombing in Gaza, in which five of its activists were killed. In response to the bombing, the Hamas authorities arrested Fatah members, took over Fatah institutions, and stopped the circulation of the three major PA-affiliated papers in Gaza, while Fatah, on its part, arrested Hamas activists in West Bank.[xxxix]

Escalation vis-à-vis Israel

In the wake of the tahdiah, Fatah officials have also escalated their positions vis-à-vis Israel. The PA leaders are apparently disappointed by the lack of achievements in the negotiations with Israel. According to the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, the PA is considering three options regarding future contacts with Israel: the first is to terminate all contacts and to announce the end of the political process; the second is to unilaterally declare the establishment of a Palestinian state; and the third is to withdraw all Palestinian forces to Jericho, leaving the Palestinian cities in the hands of the Israeli army.[xl] The change in the Fatah leaders' attitude is clearly reflected in a statement by Yasser 'Abd Rabbo, a senior member of the Palestinian negotiation team, who called for announcing the end of the political process."[xli]

PA senior officials have also escalated their positions concerning the armed conflict with Israel. This is reflected in statements praising Samir Al-Quntar and Dalal Al-Mughrabi, who perpetrated terrorist attacks in Israel. Senior officials have also stressed that Fatah will not give up armed resistance. A July 10, 2008 communiqué by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades called to carry out bombings in response to attacks on olive trees by Jewish settlers, since "that is the only language they understand."[xlii] The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades group has violated the tahdiah by firing rockets at Israel.

Dr. Ibrahim Abrash, a former Hamas minister in Salam Fayadh's government, wrote: "Stopping the resistance in Gaza may be warranted, since there are no Israeli settlements or forces there, but in the West Bank the situation is different. [The West Bank] is not under siege but under occupation, and the settlements continue...

"Can we stop the resistance in the West Bank when it is still completely under occupation?... Had Hamas been a serious resistance movement, it would have stopped the resistance in Gaza the minute Sharon withdrew his forces and settlements out of there, and would have shifted its efforts to the West Bank, which [now] has a greater need for resistance and jihad."[xliii]

Fatah representative in Cairo Dr. Barakat Al-Farra said: "No one can claim that Fatah has relinquished the resistance, since it was [Fatah] that initiated it four and a half decades ago. [Fatah] has led the Palestinian people throughout its history, and participated in both the first and the second intifada. Fatah fighters served as fuel for the intifadas. Fatah will not give up on resistance in any form, including armed resistance, until the end of the occupation; it will use [this strategy] whenever the interests of the Palestinian people demand it.

"Fatah's strategy is clear to all: we have opted for a political process and [intend] to pursue it. If it fails, we will not put down our rifles. As the late president Abu 'Omar stated in his famous 1974 speech to the U.N. – and as Abu Mazen [PA President Mahmoud 'Abbas] reiterated in his own famous U.N. address last year – "we come bearing an olive branch [in one hand] and a rifle in the other. Fatah will carry both the olive branch – the symbol of peace – and the rifle, which is the symbol of struggle. This is our strategy today, and we will not abandon armed struggle as long as the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza continues. True, we are prepared to give peace a chance, but this is not surrender on our part. Fatah will not surrender or give up either its weapon or its struggle against the oppressing Israeli enemy."[xliv]

President 'Abbas, who, like Arafat before him, also heads Fatah, congratulated the families of Samir Al-Quntar and of the other released prisoners. A Fatah spokesman, Ahmad 'Abd Al-Rahman, congratulated Hizbullah and all the resistance forces on their "victory" over Israel and on the return of "the heroes of freedom, the prisoners and the martyrs [to Lebanon] – especially the great fighter Samir Al-Quntar and the martyred fighter Dalal Al-Mughrabi, who led the most glorious martyrdom operation in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict." He added: "The Fatah movement welcomes martyrs who sacrificed themselves for the sake of freedom and independence. [It] promises the Palestinian public to follow in the footsteps of these pure martyrs, and to continue the struggle until the homeland is liberated and the Palestinian state is established, with Jerusalem as its capital."[xlv] Fatah popular activities coordinator Akram Al-'Aydi said in a press statement: "The martyr Dalal Al-Mughrabi is a supreme symbol of struggle in the history of the Palestinian revolution."[xlvi]

An announcement for a July, 16, 2008 Fatah rally in honor of Dalal Al-Mughrabi included the following quote from Al-Mughrabi: "Fatah taught me the meaning of struggle, of love of the homeland, and of martyrdom."[xlvii] Palestinian Presidential Office director Rafiq Al-Husseini said at the rally: "We will never forget [Dalal's] heroic operation."[xlviii] During a Fatah march in Rafah in honor of Dalal Al-Mughrabi, Khaled Moussa said on behalf of the movement: "Dalal was and is a pioneer of the armed struggle." [xlix]

Appendices

A. Clauses of the Tahdiah Agreement:

1. Bilateral cessation of military actions beginning June 19, 2008.

2. The duration of the tahdiah – six months, in accordance with the Palestinian national consensus.

3. Implementation of the tahdiah – with the consent and under the sponsorship of Egypt.

4. Partial opening of the crossings several hours after the tahdiah comes into effect.

5. In the future, Egypt will work towards the implementation of the tahdiah in the West Bank.

6. In the second week of the tahdiah – a meeting between PA, Hamas, and European representatives to discuss a procedure for the opening of the Rafah crossing.[l]

B. Excerpt from Fatah Charter

Chapter One: Principles, Goals, Methods

The Movement's Basic Principles

Article 1.Palestine is part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are part of the Arab nation. Their struggle is part of its struggle.

Article 2. The Palestinian people has a natural and legitimate right over Palestine, and has an independent identity. It has an exclusive right of self-determination, and a right to lead the Palestinian cause without [being subjected to] the authority, sponsorship or guidance of any other [party]. The Palestinian people has complete sovereignty over all its lands.

Article 3. The Palestinian Revolution is the vanguard of the Arab nation in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine.

Article 4. The Palestinian struggle is part of the joint worldwide struggle against Zionism, colonialism and imperialism.

Article 5. The struggle to liberate Palestine is a national pan-Arab obligation. The Arab nation will participate in this struggle with all its spiritual and material capabilities.

Article 6. We reject all plans, accords, and resolutions of the U.N. or of any country or group of countries if they deny the right of the Palestinian people to its homeland. All such [plans, accords, and resolutions] are null and void.

Article 7. The Zionist Movement is racist, colonialist, and aggressive in its ideology, goals, organization and methods of operation.

Article 8. The Israeli presence in Palestine is an aggressive Zionist invasion, serving as a colonial base of expansion and as a natural ally of colonialism and imperialism.

Article 9. Liberating and protecting the holy places [in Palestine] is an Arab, Islamic and human obligation.

Article 10. Fatah is an independent national revolutionary movement and is the vanguard of Palestinian people's revolution.

Article 11. The masses who participate in the revolution and bring about the liberation [of Palestine] are the owners of the land.

Goals

Article 12. Complete liberation of Palestine, and the eradication of the Zionist occupation state – economically, politically, militarily and culturally.

Article 13. Establishing an independent democratic state with complete sovereignty over all the Palestinian lands, with Jerusalem as its capital – a state that will protect the legitimate rights of its citizens based on justice and equality without any racial or religious discrimination.

Article 14. Setting up a progressive society that guarantees human rights and grants freedoms to all [its members].

Article 15. Active participation in achieving the Arab nation's goals of liberating its land and building an independent, progressive and united Arab society.

Article 16. Supporting all oppressed people in their struggle for self-determination and for the liberation of their homeland, in order to build a stronghold of world peace based on justice.

Method

Article 17. Armed popular revolution is the inevitable and only way to liberate Palestine.

Article 18. Reliance on the Palestinian people, which is the vanguard of the Arab nation that is a partner in the struggle. Achieving solidarity between the Arab nation and the Palestinian Arab people by involving the Arab masses in the struggle [and forming] a united Arab front.

Article 19. Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the armed revolution is a decisive factor in the struggle for liberation. This struggle will not cease until the Zionist presence in Palestine is eradicated and Palestine liberated.

Article 20. Striving for concord among all the national forces participating in the armed struggle in order to attain national unity.

Article 21. Emphasizing the identity of the Palestinians, as a revolutionary and fighting people, in the international arena. This does not contradict the unity of destiny between the Palestinian people and the Arab nation.

Article 22. Rejecting all political solutions offered as an alternative to eradicating the Zionist occupying entity in Palestine, as well as any plan to eliminate or internationalize the Palestinian cause or to impose a mandate upon the [Palestinian] people.

Article 23. Maintaining relations with Arab countries with the aim of encouraging the positive aspects in their positions, as long as this does not affect the ongoing armed struggle and its escalation.

Article 24. Forming strong ties with all liberation movements worldwide which support our just armed struggle, in order to resist Zionism and imperialism.

Article 25. Convincing countries which allow the emigration of Jews to Palestine to put a stop to this, as a contribution to the solution to the problem.

Article 26. Keeping the Palestinian cause separate from any Arab or international conflicts and considering it to be above all controversy.

Article 27. Fatah will not interfere in the internal affairs of Arab countries, and will not allow any party to interfere in its affairs or to thwart the Palestinian people's struggle for the liberation of their homeland.[li]

*C. Jacob is a research fellow at MEMRI.

[i] See appendix for the full text of the agreement.

[ii] Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), June 22, 2008.

[iii] Al-Hayat (London), June 24, 2008.

[iv] www.palestine-info.info, June 22, 2008.

[v] www.palestine-info.info, June 25, 2008.

[vi] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 20, 2008.

[vii] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 22, 2008.

[viii] The term "warriors' respite" in connection with the tahdiah was coined by Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mash'al.

[ix] www.palestine-info.info June 23, 2008.

[x] www.palestine-info.info June 26, 2008.

[xi] www.palestine-info.info June 24, 2008.

[xii] www.palestine-info.info June 3, 2008.

[xiii] www.palestine-info.info June 28, 2008.

[xiv] www.palestine-info.info June 28, 2008.

[xv] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), June 21, 2008.

[xvi] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), June 22, 2008.

[xvii] www.palestine-info.info, June 24, 2008.

[xviii] Al-Hayat (London), June 24, 2008.

[xix] www.palestine-info.info, June 21, 2008.

[xx] www.palestine-info.info, June 24, 2008.

[xxi] www.palestine-info.info, June 24, 2008.

[xxii] www.palestine-info.info, July 7, 2008.

[xxiii] www.palestine-info.info, June 24, 2008.

[xxiv] www.palestine-info.info, June 27, 2008.

[xxv] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), June 28, 2008.

[xxvi] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 11, 2008.

[xxvii] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 25, 2008.

[xxviii] www.palestine-info.info, June 24, 2008.

[xxix] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), June 26, 2008.

[xxx] www.palestine-info.info, July 1, 2008.

[xxxi] www.palestine-info.info, July 5, 2008. In defending its firing of rockets in response to the Nablus assassination, the Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades declared: "This jihad operation was a natural response to the criminal assassination of Al-Quds Brigades commander in Jenin Tareq Abu Ghali and of resistance fighter Iad Khanfar... If the assassination of [our] people continues, [we] will respond forcefully, by turning Sderot and Ashkelon into ghost towns."[xxxi] Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shihab said that the firing of the rockets did not mean rejection of the tahdiah. Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, June 26, 2008.

[xxxii] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 25, 2008.

[xxxiii] Al-Ayyam (PA), June 28, 2008.

[xxxiv] Al-Quds (Jerusalem), June 28, 2008.

[xxxv] Al-Ayyam (PA), June 29, 2008.

[xxxvi] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 28, 2008.

[xxxvii] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 28, 2008.

[xxxviii] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 28, 2008.

[xxxix] www.islamonline.net, July 26, 2008.

[xl] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 25, 2008.

[xli] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 16, 2008.

[xlii] http://kataibaqssa.com/newarab/news, June 10, 2008.

[xliii] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 2, 2008.

[xliv] Al-Rai (Qatar), July 13, 2008. It should be noted that following the Oslo accords, Fatah did not annul or amend its charter, nor did the accords require it to do so. For the main articles of the charter, see Appendix B.

[xlv] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 17, 2008.

[xlvi] www.sabanews.net (PA), July 13, 2008.

[xlvii] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 16, 2008.

[xlviii] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), July 17, 2008.

[xlix] Al-Ayyam (PA), July 18, 2008.

[l] www.arabs48.com, June 18, 2008.

[li] www.fatehforums.com, May 11, 2004.

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