Fatah has never recognized Israel’s right to exist and will never do so,
according to Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of the Fatah Central Committee who is
closely associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
Ahmed, who is also head of the Fatah negotiating team with Hamas,
said PA security forces in the West Bank were arresting Hamas supporters to
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Ahmed’s remarks were made in
an interview with the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al- Youm.
Fatah had spoken with Hamas about recognizing Israel, the senior Fatah official
said, “Fatah has not recognized Israel. I challenge anyone who says that the
case is otherwise, whether it’s Hamas or others. Neither Fatah nor Hamas is
required to recognize Israel. Only governments and states extend recognition. It
was the Palestinian government that recognized Israel, just as the Israeli
government recognized us.”
Ahmed said the PLO had recognized Israel with
the signing of the Oslo Accords.
“An organization recognized a state and
a state recognized an organization,” he said.
“Now states should
recognize each other when a Palestinian state is declared next
In response to allegations that PA security forces have been
cracking down on Hamas supporters in the West Bank, Ahmed said, “We in Fatah
arrest Hamas members to protect them from Israel or from family
The Fatah official praised Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal for
delivering a “wonderful” speech during the signing ceremony for the
Egyptian-brokered Fatah-Hamas reconciliation accord in Cairo on May
“Mashaal used political language like President Abbas,” he added. “He
talked about a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and said that he would give
political efforts and negotiations a chance. Therefore, I consider this speech
to be responsible.”
Ahmed said the new PA unity government, which would
be established in accordance with the reconciliation pact, would not deal with
peace talks with Israel.
“The PLO is in charge of the negotiations,” he
“Hamas will join the PLO Executive Committee and become part
of the PLO.”
He said he was happy to see Egyptians demonstrating outside
the Israeli Embassy in Cairo in the aftermath of the departure of the regime of
“When I see the demonstrations surrounding the Israeli
Embassy in Cairo, I feel optimistic and that, as a Palestinian, I have received
a new weapon and pressure force,” Ahmed said.
“This is a new change and
we have seen how the Israelis are worried about these demonstrations.”