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November 22, 2009

A Third Intifada, of What Nature?

Reading Jack Khoury in Ha'aretz today, one would think that Mahmoud Abbas and senior Fatah officials have launched a campaign to advocate for a third, nonviolent intifada. Indeed, the headline and sub-headline, on page 2, read:

Abbas promotes 'popular resistance' to occupation, such as Bil'in protests

Palestinian president agrees to new intifada as long as it is not violent

The article notes that in a BBC interview [BBC Arabic, on Thursday, Nov. 19], Abbas said:

There is the armed struggle and I am against that because it will only bring destruction and devastation to the Palestinian people, which the last war in Gaza proved

Likewise, further along the article states:

Abbas' statements are in the context of recent statements by senior Fatah officials in the West Bank on the possibility of a third intifada as a response to the failure of the peace process and what they call Israel's rejectionism. In an interview with the Nazareth-based newspaper Hadith al-Nas, senior Fatah officials said Fatah wants to implement resolutions made at the Fatah convention in Bethlehem last summer. One senior official said "We want thousands of Palestinians to demonstrate daily near the settlements of the occupation, carrying out a human siege and calling for the end of the occupation," one senior official said.

However unlike the previous intifada, the movement will not endorse an armed struggle or the use of firearms, the official added.

And what is one supposed to make of the context of eight recent Arabic statements in favor of armed conflict uttered by various Fatah officials, including Abbas himself, and distributed in English Friday by MEMRI ("Palestinian Officials Threaten to Renew Armed Struggle, Launch Third Intifada")?

From MEMRI we learn that a week before his BBC interview, Abbas stated at a rally marking the five-year anniversary of Arafat's death:

"We will continue [Arafat's] long and exhausting struggle [that was] fraught with blood, sweat, and tears. The road [we are traveling] today is anchored in a noble heritage of struggle that we built with brave hands, an enlightened mind, and a national thinking [rooted in] long experience. We combined armed struggle with political activity. Our guns were not the guns of highway robbers. They were political guns [promoting] a noble goal." [Al Ayyam, Nov. 12, 2009]

Other statements in support of armed violence are voiced by Nabil Sha'ath, Amin Maqboul, Marwan Al-Barghouti, Hafez Al-Barghouti, among others.

Beyond cherry-picking quotes and ignoring contrary statements, Ha'aretz is also at fault for promoting the falsehood that Bil'in protests are nonviolent and for not clarifying that resolutions passed at the Fatah convention last summer do call for violence.

Posted by TS at November 22, 2009 06:50 AM


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