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'US is #1 Palestinian enemy as it backs Israeli oppression'
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
09/10/2011
Senior official Tawfik Tirawi says Fatah hasn't abandoned armed struggle option against Israel; Erekat: PA not opposed to negotiations.
 
The US is the number one enemy of the Palestinians because it supports Israeli “oppression” against the Palestinians, Tawfik Tirawi, a senior member of the Fatah Central Committee, said on Sunday.

Tirawi, former commander of the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence Force in the West Bank, also said that Fatah has not abandoned the armed struggle option against Israel.

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“Fatah hasn’t thrown the rifle aside,” Tirawi told thousands of university students during a rally in Hebron.

Tirawi’s anti-US remarks came only days after a Palestinian protester tossed a shoe at US diplomats who arrived in Ramallah to attend a cultural event.

The Palestinians were protesting against US President Barack Obama’s refusal to back the PA’s statehood bid at the UN and US threats to cut off financial aid to the PA.

Tirawi also criticized the PA leadership for refusing to allow Palestine TV to use the term “Israeli enemy” in its broadcasts.

“Those who prevent the use of the term ‘Israeli enemy’ are acting in violation of national awareness and the principles of people under occupation,” he argued. “They must go away.”

The PA, meanwhile, has informed the Quartet that the Palestinians are not opposed to the resumption of the peace talks with Israel, Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Sunday.

However, the Palestinians want the Quartet members – the US, EU, UN and Russia – to oblige Israel to recognize the pre-1967 lines as the baseline for a two-state solution and to halt construction in the settlements, Erekat said.

Recognition of the pre-1967 lines and a freeze in settlement construction are key to resumption of the peace negotiations, he added.

Erekat’s remarks came as representatives of the Quartet were due to meet in Brussels on Sunday to discuss ways of resuming the peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

The Israeli government has accepted a recent proposal by the Quartet for the resumption of talks with the goal of reaching a peace agreement before the end of 2012.

The PA, on the other hand, has expressed reservations about the proposal, mainly because it does not specifically call upon Israel to freeze construction in the settlements and recognize the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.

Yet the PA has stopped short of completely rejecting the Quartet proposal which, according to some PA officials, contains “encouraging elements.” PA negotiator Nabil Sha’ath warned that the Quartet would lose its credibility if its members failed to condemn “provocations” by the Israeli government.

Sha’ath said that the “provocations” include continued construction in the settlements, the security fence, blockade and the “Judaization” of Jerusalem.

“The Quartet should declare that the actions and provocations of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will destroy the peace process,” Sha’ath said. “Failing to do so means that the Quartet would lose its credibility and legitimacy. We expect them to condemn Netanyahu’s actions and provocations.”
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