Will anyone listen? Will Obama abandon plans to create a Palestinian state? Will the oceans flow with Pepsi-Cola?
“‘Fatah has never recognized Israel,'” by Khaled Abu Toameh for the Jerusalem Post, July 22 (thanks to Kristian):
Fatah has never recognized Israel’s right to exist and it has no intention of ever doing so, a veteran senior leader of the Western-backed faction said on Wednesday.
Rafik Natsheh, member of the Fatah Central Committee who also serves as chairman of the faction’s disciplinary “court,” is the second senior official in recent months to make similar statements regarding Israel.
Natsheh is also a former minister in the Palestinian Authority government who briefly served as Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Earlier this year, Muhammad Dahlan, another top Fatah figure, said that Fatah had never recognized Israel’s right to exist despite the fact that it is the largest faction in the PLO, which signed the Oslo Accords with Israel.
Natsheh’s remarks came days before Fatah’s general assembly that is slated to take place in Bethlehem on August 4.
The assembly, the first in two decades, is expected to bring some 1,500 Fatah delegates together to discuss ways of reforming the faction and holding internal elections.
One of the topics on the conference’s agenda is whether Fatah should formally abandon the armed struggle and recognize Israel’s right to exist.
“Fatah does not recognize Israel’s right to exist,” Natsheh said, “nor have we ever asked others to do so.” His comments, which appeared in an interview with Al-Quds Al-Arabi, came in response to reports according to which Fatah had asked Hamas to recognize Israel as a precondition for the establishment of a Palestinian unity government.
“All these reports about recognizing Israel are false,” Natsheh, who is closely associated with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said. “It’s all media nonsense. We don’t ask other factions to recognize Israel because we in Fatah have never recognized Israel.”
Asked about calls for dropping the reference to armed struggle from Fatah’s charter, Natsheh said: “Let all the collaborators [with Israel] and those who are deluding themselves hear that this will never happen. We’ll meet at the conference [in Bethlehem].”
Natsheh stressed that neither Fatah nor the Palestinians would ever relinquish the armed struggle against Israel “no matter how long the occupation continues.” He said that Fatah, at the upcoming conference, would reiterate its adherence to the option of pursuing “all forms” of an armed struggle against Israel….