Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority and leader of the PLO and the Fatah movement, presented a radical political doctrine in his speech on January 4, 2013, honoring the anniversary of Fatah’s establishment. The messages Abbas conveys express the political and national vision that he bequeaths to the Palestinian people.
In his speech Abbas avoids all mention of a historic compromise with Israel that would bring the conflict to an end. Nor does he mention the land-for-peace formula or the establishment of a Palestinian state beside Israel. Instead, Abbas chose to reemphasize that the Palestinian people remain on the path of struggle to realize “the dream of return” of the Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants.
Abbas pledged to continue the path of struggle of previous Palestinian leaders, mentioning the Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, who forged a strategic alliance with Nazi Germany, and heads of Palestinian terror organizations who were directly responsible for the murder of thousands of Israeli civilians. All are equal and suitable partners in the Palestinian struggle, and their ideological platform, even if it is terrorist and/or radical-Islamist, is a source of inspiration for the Palestinian people.
In honor of the anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement, which is headed by Mahmoud Abbas, at the end of December the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military arm of Fatah, held parades of armed men in the city of Hebron, the town of Bani Na’im, and the Kalandia refugee camp just north of Jerusalem. In Hebron and Bani Na’im, scores of activists armed with assault rifles participated.
Anyone who expected that Abbas would follow a more moderate course after the UN General Assembly resolution of November 29, 2012, upgrading the status of the PLO’s Observer Mission to that of an observer state, was undoubtedly disappointed with Abbas’ remarks. He was not preparing the Palestinian people for making peace, but rather reverting to rhetoric perpetuating and even escalating the conflict.
Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi is a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd. and is a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.