(photo credit: REUTERS/Ali Jarekji)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction has declared war
on all informal meetings between Israelis and Palestinians, Hatem Abdel Kader, a
senior Fatah official, said over the weekend.
Fatah’s decision came
following a series of meetings between Israeli and Palestinian peace activists
and academics to promote peace and “normalization” between the two
Bethlehem mayor calls for cultural boycott of Israel
Palestinians again nix coexistence conference
Last week, Palestinians thwarted an attempt by a group called the
Israeli Palestinian Confederation to hold a conference in Jerusalem and
At the conference, Israelis and Palestinians were expected to
vote for a joint parliament that would offer itself as a “third government” for
the two peoples.
Palestinian protesters stormed the Ambassador Hotel in
Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem and forced the Israeli organizers and hotel
management to cancel the event.
The following day, a similar
anti-normalization protest in Bethlehem forced the group to cancel a planned
conference near the city.
Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh,
who was supposed to speak at the conference, had to cancel his appearance after
receiving threats from Palestinian activists belonging to Fatah and other
The Fatah leadership fears that the Israeli government would
exploit such meetings to tell the world that there is some kind of dialogue
going on between Israelis and Palestinians and that the only problem is with the
PA leadership, which is refusing to return to the negotiating table, the
London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper reported.
Abdel Kader, a former
PA minister for Jerusalem affairs, revealed that the Fatah leadership has
decided to foil all informal meetings between Israelis and
“We will try to thwart any Palestinian Israeli meeting,
even if it’s held in Tel Aviv or west Jerusalem,” Abdel Kader said. “In Fatah we
have officially decided to ban such gatherings.”
He said that it was inconceivable that such meetings are
being held at a time when Israel continues to build settlements and refuses to
accept the pre- 1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian
The PA leadership has repeatedly announced that it won’t resume
peace talks unless Israel accepts the two preconditions – cessation of
settlement construction and recognition of the pre-1967 lines.
Kader criticized Nusseibeh for agreeing to meet with Israeli academics,
politicians and peace activists “in violation of instructions by the Palestinian
leadership” in the West Bank.
“These meetings don’t produce anything [for
the Palestinians] and are only used by Israel for political gains,” the Fatah
leader explained. “If all the meetings the Palestinian leadership has had with
the Americans, Europeans and Quartet representatives haven’t achieved anything,
how can these informal meetings lead to any results?”
Abdel Kader also said that
Israeli political parties were trying to take advantage of informal meetings to
win the votes of “so-called moderates” in Israel.