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Fatah Deputy Chairman in interview: “The American administrations have not given the Palestinians anything of substance”

Excerpt of the full text of an interview conducted by the London newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi with Fatah Deputy Chairman and Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Al-Aloul

Headline: “Fatah Movement Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Al-Aloul: We will not confront the Arab countries that are going in the direction of normalization [with Israel], we will leave that to their peoples”

“Q: ‘Let us start with that which is connected to style and language, and not substance. Was [Fatah Deputy Chairman and Fatah Central Committee member] Mahmoud Al-Aloul surprised by [PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas’] use of the expression “may your house be destroyed” when he spoke about US President [Donald Trump]?’

[Al-Aloul:] 'In a large part of the speeches the president deviates from the text. This is what happened in the latest speech. This expression has been used many times in our tradition and stories, and it expresses pain and disappointment in the Americans.'

Q: ‘Had you known in advance, would you have recommended to him [Abbas] to use this expression?’

[Al-Aloul:] 'Maybe I would have recommended to him to use other stronger expressions. I don’t know why the expression is being focused upon. It expresses the feelings and level of disappointment, and this is most clear in this context. Recently we were forced to review all of our relations with the American administrations in recent years, and not just the Trump administration. We assessed that nothing good will come from them for the Palestinian people and the nation, and this is completely clear.'

Q: ‘Is that your assessment or the assessment of the Palestinian leadership?’

[Al-Aloul:] 'It is the assessment of the entire Palestinian leadership. If we review the relations with all of the American administrations, we see that they have not given the Palestinians anything of substance but rather worked in order to pull the rug out from under their feet by exerting pressures on them, and that with all their might they support [the Palestinians’] enemy that is occupying their lands.'

Q: ‘If so, would it have been preferable to say “may your houses be destroyed” to all the American presidents?’

[Al-Aloul:] 'Yes, certainly. It is clear that Trump’s last step regarding occupied Jerusalem [declaring it Israel’s capital] is also connected to other steps, and not only in Jerusalem, such as the step… regarding the refugees and regarding UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). It is completely clear that the American side is a partner of the Israeli occupation in occupying Palestine…'

Q: ‘The most important thing is to extract a price from Israel… and only popular resistance or intifada on the ground will put an end to its occupation, not negotiations. Regarding the diplomatic activity, it is not enough as experience proves, but the PA is preventing [resistance and intifada].’

[Al-Aloul:] 'No, not at all. The latest decisions of the [PLO] Central Council emphasized that it is necessary to encourage the popular resistance ‎(i.e., term used by Palestinians, which also refers to the use of violence and terror) against the Israeli violations. [This resistance] exists and is being carried out on a permanent basis, and the ones intensively working on it together with the members of our people are Fatah members, who are leading it. It is part of the Palestinian strategy, and we have never disagreed over it.’

Q: ‘In other words, are you satisfied with the level of the popular resistance?’

[Al-Aloul:] ‘It is necessary to strengthen the popular resistance so the occupation will become expensive for Israel.’”
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US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel - On Dec. 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and instructed the State Department to begin preparations to transfer the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump added that the final borders of Jerusalem will be determined during negotiations.

In early January 2018 the US froze two planned payments to UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) for more than $100 million, as the US administration spoke about reexamining and conducting a reform of the UN body.

The terms "peaceful uprising/resistance,” and “popular uprising/resistance" are used by PA leaders at times to refer to peaceful protest and at times to refer to deadly terror attacks and terror waves. For example, ‎Mahmoud Abbas defined as “peaceful popular” the murderous terror during the 2015-2016 ‎terror wave (“The Knife Intifada”), in which 40 people were killed (36 Israelis, 1 Palestinian, 2 Americans and 1 Eritrean) and hundreds wounded by stabbings, shootings and car ramming attacks: Abbas said: "we want peaceful popular uprising, and that’s what this is."

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