Fatah leaders split over support for disturbances

Fatah leaders reportedly demanding that their representatives be given a green light to participate in the funerals of the Palestinian assailants killed by the IDF.

October 12, 2015 06:05
3 minute read.
A Palestinian protester throws a Molotov cocktail towards Israeli security forces

A Palestinian protester throws a Molotov cocktail towards Israeli security forces during clashes in the village of Beit Omar. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO)


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Differences have erupted among top leaders of the Fatah faction regarding the latest wave of attacks against Israelis, Palestinian sources said on Sunday.

According to the sources, as reported by the Rai Al-Youm online newspaper, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also head of Fatah, has been facing demands from some of the faction’s leaders to openly support the new Palestinian intifada.

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These leaders are reportedly unhappy with the PA’s failure to play any role in or support the current wave of attacks on Israelis, the sources told Rai Al-Youm.

The Fatah leaders, according to the sources, are demanding that their representatives be given a green light to participate in the funerals of the Palestinian assailants killed by the IDF and Israel Police.

The sources named three senior Fatah officials as spearheading the demands for a Fatah role in the current unrest: Tawfik Tirawi, Sakher Bseiso and Sultan Abu al-Ainain.

Fatah leaders have been facing criticism from many Palestinians for their failure to attend the funerals of the Palestinian assailants – a fact that has sparked fears among some of the faction’s senior figures. In addition, none of the senior PA or Fatah officials have offered condolences to the families of the assailants or visited their homes, as has been the case in the past.

The sources pointed out that Fatah refused to endorse two of its members who were killed by the IDF during clashes on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel last week. In the end, Hamas endorsed the two Fatah men, listing them as “martyrs” of the Islamist Movement.

Last weekend, Fatah denied that it was part of a new body called General Command of the Third Palestinian Intifada. The new group published a statement in which it claimed it was leading the new “intifada” against Israel. Fatah spokesmen said the statement was not authentic, insisting that there was no such body directing and leading the current wave of attacks on Israel.

Sources in Ramallah explained that Abbas and some senior Fatah officials were reluctant to publicly support the anti-Israel attacks because they did not want to anger the Americans and Europeans. The sources pointed out that Abbas has come under heavy pressure from US Secretary of State John Kerry and some Arab countries like Jordan and Egypt to avoid an all-out confrontation with Israel.

Kerry, who phoned Abbas last weekend, urged him to stop all forms of anti-Israel incitement and to work toward calming the situation, the sources said.

Meanwhile, at the request of the PA leadership, the Arab League is expected to hold an emergency meeting in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss the current situation in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

The PA envoy to the Arab League accused Israel of “desecrating” the Aksa Mosque by allowing “Jewish extremists” to visit the Temple Mount. He said the PA was demanding that the Arab league take measures to stop the Israeli “aggression” against Palestinians and their holy sites.

Abbas said on Sunday that Israel was responsible for the current wave of violence because of its “violations against our holy sites” in Jerusalem.

Speaking during a meeting with scores of Fatah activists from the West Bank, Abbas accused the Israeli government of protecting settlers who attack Palestinians and of failing to honor signed agreements with the Palestinians.

“The Israeli government is allowing its settlers to attack our holy sites and people,” Abbas said. “Fatah will remain the spinal column of the Palestinian revolution and lead the struggle of liberation through peaceful resistance.”

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