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Fatah leader: "The rifle will never fall"

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |
Fatah leader: "The rifle will never fall"
"The UN allows the Palestinian people 
to use the armed struggle"

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

"The rifle will never fall," declared Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki on PA TV, using the anniversary of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's death to reiterate that Palestinians have a UN-protected "right to use the armed struggle."
For years, Palestinian Authority leaders and officials have defended and promoted Palestinian violence by quoting UN resolution 3236, which "recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to regain its rights by all means." The PA claims "all means" includes attacking and killing Israeli civilians, which is why PA leaders claim that Palestinian terrorists are legitimate "freedom fighters" and terrorist prisoners are "prisoners of war."

However, the PA has chosen to ignore the continuation of the UN resolution which states that the use of "all means" should be "in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations..." The UN Charter prohibits targeting civilians, even in war. Chapter 1, Article 1, opens by saying that "international disputes" should be resolved "by peaceful means."

But regard for Israeli civilian lives is never a concern for PA and Fatah leaders when justifying and rewarding
use of violence and terror against Israel to the Palestinian population.

On PA TV, Zaki quoted Arafat's famous UN speech in 1974, when Arafat said he was "bearing an olive branch and a revolutionary's gun," and asked the UN "not to let the olive branch fall." Zaki explained that specifically Arafat had focused on the image of the olive branch not falling, because "the rifle will never fall, even today." As
Palestinian Media Watch has documented numerous times, Fatah, the ruling party in the PA, never renounced the use of violence. Zaki's stressing "the rifle will never fall" indicates that Fatah does not plan to do so in the future either. 

Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki: "[UN] Resolution 3236 was passed which allows the Palestinian people to use all types of struggle - including the armed struggle... [Arafat] said to them: ''I've come to you bearing an olive branch in one hand and a revolutionary's gun in the other hand. Do not let the green branch fall from my hand.'' He did not say: ''[Let] the rifle [fall],'' because the rifle will never fall, even today. We don't want to use the struggle, because we know that Israel is waiting for the opportunity to erase us from the land." 
[Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Nov. 11, 2018] 
Click to view

Strikingly, Zaki further stated that Fatah/the PA "don't want to use the struggle." Not because Palestinian leaders think violence is fundamentally wrong. No. But because Israel is too strong: "Israel is waiting for the opportunity to erase us from the land."

Zaki's statement echoes similar ones by Mahmoud Abbas a number of years ago when he declared that the PA wasn't interested in a violent confrontation with Israel - not because Abbas and the PA wanted to renounce violence as a tool, but because the Palestinians were unable to tackle Israel militarily and because the international community was against it:

"We do not wish to turn to armed struggle, because our [lack of] capabilities and the international atmosphere do not allow for it."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 24, 2011]
"We are unable to confront Israel militarily, and this point was discussed at the Arab League Summit in March in Sirt (Libya). There I turned to the Arab States and I said: 'If you want war, and if all of you will fight Israel, we are in favor. But the Palestinians will not fight alone because they don't have the ability to do it... The West Bank was completely destroyed and we will not agree that it will be destroyed again."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 6, 2010]
PMW has documented that the Fatah Movement often expresses its veneration for the rifle as in this poster calling on Palestinians to "strap on your weapon": 

Posted text: "Strap on your weapon over your wound, and tomorrow you will awaken to a morning of freedom #Rage_for_Jerusalem #Rage_for_Al-Aqsa_Mosque #Jerusalem_our_capital #Jerusalem_the_capital_of_Palestine
Text on the image repeats the call to "strap on your weapon" 
[Official Fatah Facebook page, Dec. 14, 2017]