For the second time in recent weeks, Palestinian leaders who met in Ramallah on Sunday evening said the Palestinians are entitled to “resist the occupation by all legitimate means,” implying they also have the right to resort to violent activities against Israel.
The latest call, made during a meeting of the ruling Fatah faction’s Revolutionary Council, came amid an upsurge in violence in the West Bank.
The meeting, attended by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who also serves as chairman of Fatah, was held under the banner: “Resisting the occupation and settlement colonialism by all legitimate means.”
Abbas has declared on several occasions that he remains opposed to the use of violence against Israel, insisting that the Palestinians should stick to a “peaceful, popular resistance.”
PLO Executive Committee arguing for use of violence against Israel
Earlier this month, the PLO Executive Committee, also headed by Abbas, hinted during a meeting in Ramallah that the Palestinians were entitled to use force against Israeli soldiers and civilians in the West Bank.
The committee called for the “continuation of our struggle and resistance, especially the popular resistance... All forms of resistance are a legitimate right of our people that are guaranteed by international laws.”
“All forms of resistance are a legitimate right of our people that are guaranteed by international laws.”PLO Executive Committee
The separate meetings of the Fatah and PLO leaders also came on the heels of the recent election in Israel and Palestinian concerns over the rise of Jewish right-wing parties to power.
Abbas and the Palestinian leadership have come under heavy criticism from many Palestinians for their alleged failure to support an armed confrontation with the IDF and settlers in the West Bank.
The latest talk about the Palestinians’ right to resort to “all means of resistance” against Israel is clearly intended to placate the Ramallah-based leadership’s critics and political rivals.
Addressing the Fatah Revolutionary Council, Abbas warned that the Palestinians were at an “extremely critical and difficult stage as a result of changes in the region and the world.”
The emerging coalition in Israel, which will include Israeli “extremists,” requires the Palestinians to “confront this fascism,” he said.
The Palestinians expect “more violations, aggressions and crimes” under the new government in Israel, Abbas said. “We must all work to confront, expose and foil them.”
Abbas also stressed the importance of waging a diplomatic and media offensive “to counter the fake Zionist narrative, which contradicts the Palestinian narrative.”
The Palestinians would also continue to seek membership in various international bodies and United Nations agencies, he said.
In another speech to Palestinian academics in Ramallah, also on Sunday, Abbas said the Palestinians would “expand the peaceful popular resistance and move in the international arena to compel Israel to end its occupation and aggression and to hold it to account for its crimes and violations of international law.”