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April 14, 2009

Fatah Contradicts Washington Post on Peace

Covering the president’s commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty (“Camp David Accords: Obama Praises Those Who Pursued Peace,” March 27), The Washington Post reported that “the Palestinian national movement is ... divided over how to approach peace talks with Israel.” Former Post foreign editor and Jerusalem bureau chief, now White House reporter, Scott Wilson wrote that “the armed Islamist movement Hamas rejects Israel’s right to exist, yet controls the Gaza Strip and exerts some political influence in the West Bank. The rival Fatah party endorses a two-state solution with Israel, but it is weak and unpopular in much of the Palestinian territories."

Fatah endorses a “two-state solution?” In “Dahlan to Hamas: Never recognize Israel,” March 17, The Jerusalem Post reported that “former Fatah security commander Muhammad Dahlan ... called on Hamas not to recognize Israel’s right to exist, pointing out that Fatah had never recognized it.” Speaking on Palestinian Authority TV, Dahlan said reports that Fatah demanded Hamas recognize Israel as a precondition for a Palestinian unity government were "misleading."

“They [Hamas] say that Fatah has asked them to recognize Israel’s right to exist and this is a big deception. For the one thousandth time, I want to reaffirm that we are not asking Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Rather, we are asking Hamas not to do so because Fatah never recognized Israel’s right to exist .... We acknowledge that the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] did recognize Israel’s right to exist, but we are not bound by it as a resistance [terrorist] faction.”

Fatah is the largest group within PLO. Fatah leads the PA, which governs Arab residents of the West Bank. A CAMERA review (“A Look Back: Is Fatah Really Moderate? Aug. 14, 2007) showed the group’s constitution still called, like the Hamas charter, for the destruction of Israel.

The Washington Post reported (“In the West Bank, a Mix of Skepticism, Tempered Optimism, and Rejection,” Jan. 11, 2008), that in response to a speech by President Bush, “Walid Awad, a Fatah spokesman, lauded Bush’s call for an end to Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Arab lands. But he objected to Bush’s next statement, that the agreement ‘must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people.” PA President and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas himself deals with Israeli leaders, but does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Posted by ER at April 14, 2009 05:54 PM

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