Released terrorist to Abbas: “We’ll remain your loyal soldiers”
The PA sees all the terrorists, irrespective of their terror group affiliation, as having “carried out the duty of resistance” as “ordered” by the PA
Irrespective of their terror group affiliation, the terrorists, also see themselves as “soldiers” of the PA
While the PA on the one hand is eager to disclaim responsibility for any and all terror attacks, claiming that terrorists act alone and without orders from the PA, on the other it is claiming that all imprisoned terrorists are Prisoners of War – i.e., legitimate soldiers of the PA. Moreover, it is clear that the terrorists themselves see their role as that of “soldiers” serving the PA.
This was stressed by recently released terrorist and member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) – an internationally designated terror organization - Hussein Suleiman Al-Zre’i in a televised phone conversation with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Three times Al-Zre’i stressed to Abbas that the imprisoned terrorists see themselves as “your loyal soldiers.” Al-Zre’i, who served 19 years in prison for carrying out shooting and mortar attacks against Israeli towns in Gush Katif, inside the Gaza Strip, further emphasized that as Abbas’ and Fatah’s “soldiers” they “will continue on this path. This is what Fatah has accustomed us to” – meaning the path of terror. Abbas blessed terrorist Al-Zre’i, stressing that what he did, i.e., indiscriminate shooting and mortar attacks that targeted Israeli civilians, was “not a tiny part,” but “a great and important part”:
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: “I appreciate the nation for recognizing the great efforts of you [prisoners]. We, for our part, my brother Hussein, whatever you want… we are prepared to fulfill our duty…”
Released prisoner Hussein Suleiman Al-Zre’i: “May Allah bless you, Your Honor the President. You are the symbol of the existing leadership, and we’ll remain your loyal soldiers. We are aware of the positions you have held on the prisoners’ cause, and on the cause of the salaries of the Martyrs and prisoners… Allah willing, our aspirations of establishing the Palestinian state whose capital is Jerusalem will be realized under your leadership, and we will remain soldiers loyal to you, your leadership, and all the members of the [Fatah] Central Committee. Our struggle is part of the Palestinian people’s struggle and part of the struggle of our [prisoners’] movement, which is fighting and attempting to reach a state through its struggle, and we will continue on this path. This is what Fatah has accustomed us to… [My] struggle, 19 years [in prison], is a tiny part of the deep and great struggle that you have led…”
Mahmoud Abbas: “May Allah bless you. It is not a tiny part, it is a great and important part, and it is a brick in building the great palace that will come about without a doubt: the independent Palestinian state. There is no doubt we’ll get rid of them and their occupation, and no doubt our flag [will fly above] Jerusalem…”
Hussein Suleiman Al-Zre’i: “We will triumph and Fatah will triumph… We support you and will remain your loyal soldiers until the end. The prison gave us greater will and endurance towards establishing our goals. Allah willing we’ll get greater will and [become more] daring to continue the struggle towards achieving the main goal, which is establishing the state whose capital is noble Jerusalem.”
[Facebook page of the Fatah Movement – Northern Gaza Strip Branch, Dec. 20, 2021]
While PIJ is very distinct from and - within Palestinian politics - even hostile towards Fatah, PIJ and Hamas terrorists see themselves, in the context of the conflict with Israel, as “soldiers” of the PA, as is illustrated by Al-Zre’i’s comments to Abbas.
This perception rests on at least two principles. First and foremost, as extensively documented by Palestinian Media Watch, the PA pays monthly salaries to all the Palestinian terrorist prisoners, including those who belong to Hamas, PIJ, and other internationally designated Palestinian terror organizations. Secondly, the 2004 PA Law of Prisoners and Released Prisoners demands the release of all the terrorist prisoners as a pre-condition to any Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Explaining the rational for demanding the release of all the terrorists, Abbas has clarified that the PA demands their release since it was the PA who sent the terrorists and “ordered” them to commit their acts of terrorism:
Abbas: "I demand [the release of] prisoners because they are human beings, who did what we, we, ordered them to do. We - the [Palestinian] Authority… This is war. One (i.e., Israel) ordered a soldier to kill, I ordered my son, brother, or others, to carry out the duty of resistance (i.e., euphemism for terror). This person killed and the other person killed. So why say this person's hands are stained with blood, and [he] must be kept in prison? He is a fighter just like any other fighter."
[Official PA TV, Feb 14, 2005]
Palestinian Media Watch has exposed that the PA’s goal is to deceive the world into believing that international law recognizes the Palestinian terrorists as legitimate soldiers in combat - POWs. Yet, at the same time, former PA Minister of Prisoners and Released Prisoners' Affairs Ashraf Al-Ajrami has admitted that of the thousands of terrorist prisoners, “perhaps fewer” than 5 of them fit the legal definition of being a POW.
Hussein Suleiman Al-Zre'i – Palestinian terrorist and member of the Islamic Jihad terror organization who committed shooting and mortar attacks against Israeli towns in Gush Katif, inside the Gaza Strip. Al-Zre'i was arrested on Dec. 20, 2002, and sentenced to 19 years; he was released in December 2021.