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Fatah Meeting Foreign Policy Platform

August 11, 2009

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The Fatah  movement held its first congress in 20 years in the West Bank, in the summer of 2009. The holding of the meeting itself was problematic, owing to the inability of Fatah movement delegates locked into Gaza by the Hamas to get to the meeting. Many voted by telephone. Others were unable to vote and complained of fraud. Nonetheless, the conference restored a measure of legitimacy to the aging Fatah movement, which has not recovered from the death of its founder and long time leader, Yasser Arafat and to its embattled leader, Mahmoud Abbas.

The platform adopted in 2009 was a great leap away from the frank program of destruction of Israel that had been adopted previously, but to Israelis it is still unmistakably a hard line and unacceptable document. It calls for peace and a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. However, it insists on the "Right of Return" of Palestinian refugees, and explicitly rules out recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, in order to "safeguard" the "rights" of the refugees and of Arabs living in Israel. In other words, it aims for a two state solution in which both states will have an Arab majority and the Jewish people will be deprived of the right of self determination. Israel would be flooded with millions of "returning" Palestinian refugees.

Since the Arab opposition to the Palestine partition resolution, UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in the Palestine mandate, Arab refusal to recognize a Jewish state has been at the heart of the conflict. The Fatah platform as it stands, literally, is therefore not a platform for peace that could be accepted by even the most dovish Israeli government. It is tantamount to unconditional surrender by Israel.

Of course, the Palestinian Authority and not the Fatah is responsible for negotiating the peace solution, and equally impossible stands, such as the Israeli Likud party opposition to a Palestinian state, have yielded to pressure in the past. But the Fatah/PLO/Palestinian demand for "right of return" has been a steady obstacle to peace throughout the Oslo process. It remains to be seen if this platform is the basis for peace, and/or for a newly revitalized Fatah movement, or if it is the swan song of an aging movement that has failed to revitalize itself and failed to make it relevant to new realities fifty years after its foundation. 

Ami Isseroff (August 19, 2009)

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As published in al-Ayyam Translation provided by The Jerusalem Media & Communications Center 

The political program said the continuation of negotiations without achieving real progress within a set time ceiling constitutes a danger on our rights and becomes foul play that allows Israel to use the negotiations as cover up for the continuation of settlements and consolidation of the occupation. The program defines eleven rules in order to engage in negotiations with Israel and outlined five options in case of the failure of the current dialogue with Hamas and ratified four steps to confront the siege imposed on Gaza and talked about seven forms of struggle.

Fatah Movement rejected the alternative homeland in Jordan and refuses to sign any agreement that does not lead to the release of all prisoners. Fatah stressed on rejecting the principle of forceful resettlement or the calls for the alternative homeland: there wont be resettlement in Lebanon and there wont be an alternative homeland in Jordan.

Fatah stressed on serious work towards the release of all prisoners and we will not sign any peace agreement until all prisoners are released. Fatah stressed on the independence of the movement in the context of the PLO and the PNA.

The political program of Fatah pointed out that in order to avoid a situation where the negotiations become foul play and waste of time; we have to make sure that the PLO abides by the following rules in order to engage in the negotiations:

1- To link the negotiations process with real progress on the ground according to clear and concrete indicators, mainly the complete halt of settlements especially in Jerusalem and to stop changing the features of Jerusalem and to stop the Judaization process of Jerusalem and these are two conditions that must be met in order for resumption of any peace negotiations; we need to ensure also that Israel end its incursions, arrests, assassinations, and the end of the siege imposed on our people in Gaza, and the removal of the checkpoints in the West Bank, and the withdrawal until the September 28, 2000 borders as a first step towards withdrawal until the borders of June 4, 1967; these are clear and concrete indicators that must be seen on real grounds and to link progress in negotiations with achieving the above mentioned steps and measures.

2- Negotiations will be on the basis of international legitimacy and its main resolutions (181, 194, 242 and 338) and in the context of the Arab Peace Initiative, as long as the continuation of negotiations meet our interim and strategic goals.

3- To continue work towards holding a new international peace conference that consolidates our rights and pushes towards quick negotiations that result in a peace agreement that achieves our goals.

4- To insist on setting up a clear and binding time table and a time ceiling for the negotiations.

5- To reject delaying negotiations over Jerusalem and the refugees cause or any of the final solution issues.

6- To reject the idea of the state with temporary borders.

7- To totally reject recognizing Israel as a Jewish state in order to protect the rights of the refugees and the rights of our people inside the Green Line.

8- To insist on international participation during the negotiations and on a mechanism for arbitration upon the eruption of a dispute when implementing the agreements and this mechanism should be binding for both sides.

9- To insist on international monitoring and an international peace keeping mechanism to guarantee the implementation of the agreement.

10- Our success in achieving our goals through negotiations requires a national professional committee capable of negotiations that will remain under the PLO supervision and to be monitored by a higher committee which
should include the factions and Palestinian competent figures and another Fatah Committee to follow up the negotiations and to submit its reports to Fatah Central Committee and Fatah Revolutionary Council.

11- We must head to popular referendum to adopt the peace agreement that will be reached through the final status negotiations.

Fatah defined five options that it will adopt in case the current dialogue with Hamas fails. Fatah said that the continuation of the split between the two parts of the homeland constitutes a threat to the fate of the national cause of the Palestinian people and Hamas bears responsibility for the continuation of the split; we have to move forward to achieve success in comprehensive national dialogue, mainly with Hamas, on the basis of ending the split in Gaza and the establishment of a national reconciliation government that organizes concurrent presidential and legislative elections and unify the security services as national services that protect the security of the homeland and the citizen and to handle the traces of the
split and achieve national reconciliation and release of the detainees. Fatah stressed that the failure of the dialogue because of Hamas intransigence does not downplay the importance and priority of the dialogue and its continuation, but forces Fatah to adopt alternative options:

First: To restructure Fatah Movement in Gaza as deemed by the current situation and provide full support to our organization in Gaza to confront the split.

Second: To push the cadres and members of Fatah in Gaza to reinforce popular action and mobilize the Palestinian masses to confront the split and dictatorship.

Third: To expose the measures of Hamas; these measures which are not part of our Palestinian traditions and norms, and the crimes committed against the Palestinian people.

Fourth: To demand Arab security support in Gaza Strip during the interim phase.

Fifth: To reinforce media action in the Arab and Islamic street to expose the policies and measures of Hamas.

With regards to ending the siege imposed on Gaza, Fatah outlined four steps:

1- to reinforce the steadfastness of Gaza in face of the siege and grant it priority in national support through the finances of the PNA and international; grants and to solve the urgent problems of Gazans who reside abroad (students and patients).

2- To launch an international humanitarian campaign against the siege and the attempts to cause famine in Gaza and to inform the world about the crimes against humanity that Israel commits against the citizens in Gaza and
to link the negotiations with Israel with the condition of ending the siege.

3- To start a process of gradual dismantling of the linkage of the Palestinian economy with the Israeli market, especially in electricity, fuel, gas, basic food items and replace them with Egyptian, Jordanian and Arab markets.

4- to work on implementing the international agreement on Rafah Crossing and try to develop the agreement in a manner that does not give Israel the chance to control the crossing or the chance to close this important crossing.

Fatah adopts all legitimate forms of struggle along with clinging to the option of peace without limiting the options to negotiations to achieve peace. Among the forms of struggle that can be exercised with success in the current phase to support and activate the negotiations or to act as alternative to the negotiations if the negotiations donít achieve their goals:

a- To mobilize popular struggle against settlements and its successful modern form is the continuous confrontation in Bilíin and Niílin against settlements and the wall, and to save Jerusalem and reject its Judaization. We have the task to mobilize all citizens to engage in the activities and to achieve Arab and foreign popular participation and offer all support from the PNA apparatuses in order to make them succeed and Fatah popular and official leaders need to lead the most important activities.

b- To be creative in finding new forms of struggle and resistance through popular initiatives and other initiatives by the cadres of the movement and to stress on the determination of our people to remain steadfast and resist in accordance with the legitimate norms and laws.

c- To boycott the Israeli products inside the territories and abroad through popular moves, in particular commodities that have a local alternative and exercise new forms of civil disobedience against the occupation and work to escalate an international campaign towards boycotting Israel and its products and its institutions through making use of the experience of South Africa.

d- To pose and discuss Palestinian strategic alternatives if it is not possible to achieve progress through the current negotiations, including poising the idea of the unified democratic state that rejects racism, hegemony and occupation, and to develop struggle against Israeli Apartheid and Racism or return to the idea of declaring the state on the 1967 borders and other strategic alternatives.

e- To continue tireless work towards the release of the prisoners and detainees and end the external siege and the internal checkpoints and achieve freedom of movement.

f- To return to the UN and the Security Council and demand that they assume their responsibilities in ending the conflict and ending the occupation and to continue work towards the issuance of Security Council resolutions on the basis of the Seventh Chapter of the UN Charter which carry the binding character.

g- To regain our direct and strong relations with the Israeli peace camp and reactive it to work for the sake of a just peace without confusing this with normalization which is rejected as a policy under the occupation.


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