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The “State of Palestine” is just a stepping-stone to the destruction of Israel

Maurice Hirsch, Adv.  |
  • Decades after the Oslo Accords, the PLO and the Palestinian leadership are still devoted to destroying Israel.

  • According to the PA, Abbas is implementing the PLO’s “10 Point Program” or “Stages Program” 

  • In the program, the PLO called to establish an interim “Palestinian National Authority” that would use “armed conflict” to destroy Israel and liberate “all Palestinian territory” 

For Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) the creation of a “State of Palestine” in the territories Israel freed in 1967 - Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and East Jerusalem (freed from Jordanian occupation) and Gaza (freed from Egyptian occupation) - is just one stage towards the ultimate goal of destroying Israel. 

While the international community would often like to believe that forcing Israel to relinquish Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem (Israel completely left Gaza in 2005) will bring about the long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace, the truth is that the Palestinian leadership is not interested in peace with Israel. Rather, the Palestinian leadership actively seeks Israel’s destruction. 

As Palestinian Media Watch has shown, the PA, the PLO, and the Palestinian leadership constantly claim that Israel has no right to exist. These claims are reinforced by repetitive messaging and thousands of maps of “Palestine” that erase any recognition of Israel’s existence. It is the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to accept the existence of Israel (in any borders) that has brought the Palestinians to repeatedly reject every Israeli offer to secure a long-lasting peace. Those offers included the 2008 offer of then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to create a Palestinian state on an area larger than the combined areas of Gaza, Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem prior to 1967. 

To understand the Palestinian position, it is important to appreciate that this reality is not a passing phase, but rather, has been official Palestinian policy for decades.  

While the Palestinian leadership take great pains to conceal its true goals, occasionally the truth slips out.  

Abbas was recently criticized for having put too much faith in the US administrations and in the results of Israel’s elections to achieve a limited Palestinian state that comprises only Gaza, Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem. Deflecting the criticism, Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for the official PA daily Muwaffaq Matar, came to Abbas’ defense. According to Matar, if the Palestinians were to read the speeches of Abbas, they would realize that his goal is to free every inch of the “[Palestinian] land”, including all of Israel, through “the policy of stages” – a reference to the PLO’s “10 Point Program” or “Stages Program” (see below): 

“If they would read with a desire, perhaps they will understand the consequences and the goals of President Mahmoud Abbas in focusing on two parallel paths of the Palestinian national struggle: the first is on the ground, on the land of Palestine, through peaceful popular resistance with all its meanings, demands, and methods (i.e., term used by Palestinians, which also refers to the use of violence and terror). The second is the legal, political, and diplomatic [path] in the international forums, which will establish Palestine on the world map geographically, and will establish it in international law… 

The long-term vision of the leader of the national liberation movement, Mahmoud Abbas – its gist is to wrest the Palestinian people’s historical and natural right from the colonialist states, which committed the worst crime in the history of humanity: establishing their front base (Israel) [parentheses in source] … 

We are fighting to wrest free and liberate every inch of our land from the colonialist states’ proxy (Israel) [parentheses in source] through the policy of stages, as the oppressive colonialist states, which committed the worst crime against humanity in modern history, stole the Palestinian people’s historical and natural right in stages.” 

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 26, 2022] 

Adopted by the PLO’s governing body (the Palestine National Council) in 1974, the “10 Point Program” or “Stages Program” is not only still relevant today, but even still seen as the guiding ideology of Abbas and the PLO that together dominate the PA.  

According to the program, the PLO is committed to “establish the independent combatant national authority for the people over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated” (paragraph 2). The PLO created entity will then “strive to achieve a union of the confrontation countries, with the aim of completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory” (paragraph 8). To achieve its goal, the PLO will “employ all means, and first and foremost armed struggle” (paragraph 2). For the PLO, “Any step taken towards liberation is a step towards the realization of the Liberation Organization's strategy” (paragraph 4). Nonetheless, the PLO will “struggle against any proposal for a Palestinian entity the price of which is recognition, peace, secure frontiers, renunciation of national rights and the deprival of our people of their right to return and their right to self-determination on the soil of their homeland” (paragraph 3).  

In this context, the most relevant provision of the program is paragraph 4, which provides: 

“Any step taken towards liberation is a step towards the realization of the Liberation Organization's strategy of establishing the democratic Palestinian state specified in the resolutions of previous Palestinian National Councils.” 

[PLO “10-point program,” June 9, 1974, as published on the website of the UN] 

While unusual, columnist Matar’s reference to the PLO program is nothing new.  

Already in 1994, just months after the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian “Declaration of Principles,” Yasser Arafat made clear that in his eyes the agreements were nothing more than a Trojan horse. He made this clear by equating the agreement to the treaty signed by Islam's Prophet Muhammad with his enemies in Mecca. The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah called for peace for at least 10 years, but after two years Muhammad broke the truce and attacked and conquered his enemies:  

"This agreement, I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our Prophet Muhammad and Quraish, and you remember the Caliph Omar had refused this agreement and considered it "Sulha Dania" [a despicable truce]. But Muhammad had accepted it and we are accepting now this [Oslo] peace accord." 

[Audio recording of Arafat speech in Johannesburg, May 10, 1994] 

Othman Abu Gharbiah, then Arafat's aide for Political Guidance and national affairs, and Director-General for National Affairs was more explicit: 

"The goal of this stage is the establishment of the independent Palestinian State, with its capital in Jerusalem... Every Palestinian must know clearly and unequivocally that the independent Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital is not the end of the road. The Palestinian State is a stage after which there will be another stage, and that is the democratic state in all of Palestine (i.e. replacing Israel).

[Official PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 25, 1999] 

The idea was again repeated by the late Faisal Husseini, PA Representative for Jerusalem Affairs, in 2001: 

"The Oslo agreement, or any other agreement, is just a temporary procedure, or just a step towards something bigger... We distinguish the strategic, long-term goals from the political staged goals, which we are compelled to temporarily accept due to international pressure. ... [Palestine] according to the higher strategy [is]: 'from the river to the sea.' Palestine in its entirety is an Arab land, the land of the Arab nation."  

[Al-Arabi' (Egypt), June 24, 2001] 

In 2013, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Abbas' advisor on religious and Islamic affairs, and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice repeated Arafat’s analogy between the Oslo Accords and the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah: 

"The Palestinian leadership's sense of responsibility towards its nation made it take political steps [the Oslo Accords] about 20 years ago [1993]...exactly like the Prophet [Muhammad] did in the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah...  The Prophet said: 'I'm the Messenger of Allah and I will not disobey Him.' This is not disobedience, it is politics... In less than two years, the Prophet returned and based on this treaty, he conquered Mecca. This is the example, this is the model."     

[Official PA TV, July 19, 2013] 

While the US initiated Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations (2013-2014), under the auspices of former US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, were under way, senior Palestinian official Abbas Zaki said the Palestinians will only agree to a treaty with Israel if the Palestinian state is established on the 1967 lines. However, he stressed that '67 lines would only be the beginning. After that, the Palestinians will continue with the stages plan: 

"Even the most extreme among us, Hamas, or the fighting forces, want a state within the '67 borders. Afterward, we [will] have something to say, because the inspiring idea cannot be achieved all at once. [Rather] in stages." 

[Official Syrian Satellite TV Channel, Dec. 23, 2013] 

Two years prior, in 2011, Zaki also mentioned this PA stages plan and referred to "the inspiring idea," explaining that it means the end of Israel. He said that Abbas shares the goal of eliminating Israel in stages, but that the PA says it only wants a state along the 1967 borders because it is unacceptable politically to say you want to destroy Israel: 

"The agreement is based on the borders of June 4 [1967]. While the agreement is on the borders of June 4, the President [Mahmoud Abbas] understands, we understand, and everyone knows that it is impossible to realize the inspiring idea, or the great goal in one stroke. If Israel withdraws from Jerusalem, if Israel uproots the settlements, 650,000 settlers, if Israel removes the (security) fence - what will be with Israel? Israel will come to an end. If I say that I want to remove it from existence, this will be great, great, [but] it is hard. This is not a [stated] policy. You can't say it to the world. You can say it to yourself.

[Al-Jazeera TV, Sept. 23, 2011] 

In 2020, Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi also clarified that from the point of view of the PLO and Fatah, the so-called “1967 borders” are an “intermediate statement”: 

“Why, as PLO, did we say 1967? ... The Palestinian leadership wanted to make it easier for our people with the establishment of its state on the 1967 borders, because that is what would be acceptable to the world... [The PLO] said “a state on the 1967 borders,” however the [Palestinian] declaration of independence does not mention 1967… Put aside the [Palestinian] Authority – I am Fatah, and in the goals and principles of the Fatah Movement there is nothing that says 1967. Nothing... In everything related to me – one of the senior officials in Fatah - all my life I have never said “a 1967 state.” ... I will not forget my homeland, will not forget Palestine, and will not forget Palestine's history. These [1967 borders] can be an intermediate statement.” 

[Facebook page of Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi,  
Feb. 5, 2020] 

The stages program is not only the policy of the PLO/PA/Fatah, but it is also widely accepted by the Palestinian people. In a 2014 survey conducted for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 62.5% of those surveyed supported the assertion that if the Palestinian leadership were to negotiate a two-state solution with Israel, “that would be part of a ‘program of stages’ to liberate all of historic Palestine later.” 63.2% of those surveyed supported the assertion that if the Palestinian leadership were to negotiate a two-state solution with Israel, “resistance should continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated” – in other words, until all of Israel is eliminated.  

The following are additional excerpts of some of the provisions in the stages program and PMW’s commentary on them:  

“The Liberation Organization will employ all means, and first and foremost armed struggle, to liberate Palestinian territory and to establish the independent combatant national authority for the people over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated. This will require further changes being effected in the balance of power in favour of our people and their struggle.” 

PMW commentary: 

The largest faction in the PLO is Fatah headed by Abbas. As PMW has shown here, here and here (among scores of other examples), in spite of their commitments as part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process (i.e., The Oslo Accords) neither the PLO nor Fatah have ever renounced the use of “armed struggle” to destroy Israel. This provision also reflects a similar provision in the PLO Charter, which the PA still presents as calling for Israel’s destruction.    

“The Liberation Organization will struggle against any proposal for a Palestinian entity the price of which is recognition, peace, secure frontiers, renunciation of national rights and the deprival of our people of their right to return and their right to self-determination on the soil of their homeland.” 

PMW commentary: 

This provision is the basis for the PA ideology that the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is solely Palestinian and no one has the right to relinquish any part of it. While many often erroneously believe that only the internationally designated terror organization Hamas defines all of Israel as “Islamic Waqf” (i.e., an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law), PMW has already shown that this is also a position held by the PA/PLO/Fatah. 

The provision also appears to be the basis for the Palestinian demand that Israel agree to commit national suicide and agree to flood itself with millions of so-called “Palestinian refugees.” 

“To reaffirm the Palestine Liberation Organization's previous attitude to Resolution 242, which obliterates the national right of our people and deals with the cause of our people as a problem of refugees. The Council therefore refuses to have anything to do with this resolution at any level, Arab or international, including the Geneva Conference.” 

PMW commentary: 

While today, many Palestinians and their supporters often erroneously cite UN Security Council resolution 242 as the basis for their demand that Israel retreat from so-called “occupied Palestinian territories,” according to the “Stages Program”, the PLO rejects resolution 242, because it “obliterates the national right of our people and deals with the cause of our people as a problem of refugees.” 

It should be noted, that UNSCR 242 does not mention the existence of a “Palestinian people” and certainly does not refer to any “Palestinian territory.” 

The following are a longer excerpt of Mattar’s comments and the full text of the PLO’s 10 point/stages program: 

Excerpt of a column by Muwaffaq Matar, Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for the official PA daily 

Headline: “We will not argue with their ‘Israel,’ rather we will wrest our right from them” 

“Those who spread the rumor in their speeches and statements that [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas has trusted the various American governments or political parties and election results in the occupation system (Israel) [parentheses in source] should read his books that were written for the sake of history. They should read every word in his speeches directed towards the Palestinian people or the world’s peoples, its states, its governments, and its leaders in the international forums, and specifically at the UN General Assembly – the heir of the League of Nations, which gave Israel a fake birth certificate as part of the greatest conspiracy against the peoples, which was carried out by the colonialist states that won in World War I. If they would read with a desire, perhaps they will understand the consequences and the goals of President Mahmoud Abbas in focusing on two parallel paths of the Palestinian national struggle: the first is on the ground, on the land of Palestine, through peaceful popular resistance with all its meanings, demands, and methods (i.e., term used by Palestinians, which also refers to the use of violence and terror). The second is the legal, political, and diplomatic [path] in the international forums, which will establish Palestine on the world map geographically, and will establish it in international law. 

On the ground there is proof that we own the historical and natural right, while there, in the [international] forums, we must remove Israel’s fake legitimacy and the discriminatory resolutions that have been passed by the League of Nations and its heir, the UN. This is through resolutions that will emphasize the Palestinian people’s historical and natural right, even if only partially, as happened in [UN] Resolution 67/19 of 2012, when we achieved a resolution on adding Palestine to the UN as an observer member… 

The long-term vision of the leader of the national liberation movement, Mahmoud Abbas – its gist is to wrest the Palestinian people’s historical and natural right from the colonialist states, which committed the worst crime in the history of humanity: establishing their front base (Israel) [parentheses in source] following massacres, wars, uprooting, expulsion, and destruction. We do not rely on these colonialist states, foremost among them the US; we will wrest from them what we can of our rights, because we understand that they are the ones who determine what will be the fate of their ‘Israel,’ which we do not argue with it under any circumstances over the right to our land. This is because our homeland Palestine belongs entirely to the Palestinian people, even if we relate with a realistic approach to the resolutions of the international institutions. 

It is true that we, the members of the Palestinian people here on the land of our homeland Palestine, are fighting against the Israeli occupation army, the settlers, their government, and their system that is called ‘the State of Israel.’ But the truth is – according to the logic of the political leader figure [Abbas], who sees things in the long term and delves into reading the history that is near to us and to our land chronologically and geographically – we are fighting to wrest free our land, as it is a sacred historical and natural right. We are fighting to wrest free and liberate every inch of our land from the colonialist states’ proxy (Israel) [parentheses in source] through the policy of stages, as the oppressive colonialist states, which committed the worst crime against humanity in modern history, stole the Palestinian people’s historical and natural right in stages. This was despite the fact that they had material and military might that enabled taking control [of Palestine] and achieving their goal at once!” 

[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, July 26, 2022] 

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 in stabbings, shootings, and car ramming attacks. Abbas said: "We want peaceful popular uprising, and that’s what this is." At the time Abbas said this, 14 Israelis had already been murdered.

http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=16437 

PLO political programme/ “10-point programme” – 12th Palestine National Council (1-9 June 1974, Cairo) – Text/Non-UN document 

Political Programme of 9 June 1974, 12th Palestine National Council 

“The Palestinian National Council: 

On the basis of the Palestinian National Charter and the Political Programme drawn up at the Eleventh Session, held from January 6-12, 1973; and from its belief that it is impossible for a permanent and just peace to be established in the area unless our Palestinian people recover all their national rights and, first and foremost, their rights to return and to self-determination on the whole of the soil of their homeland; and in the light of a study of the new political circumstances that have come into existence in the period between the Council's last and present sessions, resolves the following: 

1. To reaffirm the Palestine Liberation Organization's previous attitude to Resolution 242, which obliterates the national right of our people and deals with the cause of our people as a problem of refugees. The Council therefore refuses to have anything to do with this resolution at any level, Arab or international, including the Geneva Conference. 

2. The Liberation Organization will employ all means, and first and foremost armed struggle, to liberate Palestinian territory and to establish the independent combatant national authority for the people over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated. This will require further changes being effected in the balance of power in favour of our people and their struggle. 

3. The Liberation Organization will struggle against any proposal for a Palestinian entity the price of which is recognition, peace, secure frontiers, renunciation of national rights and the deprival of our people of their right to return and their right to self-determination on the soil of their homeland. 

4. Any step taken towards liberation is a step towards the realization of the Liberation Organization's strategy of establishing the democratic Palestinian state specified in the resolutions of previous Palestinian National Councils. 

5. Struggle along with the Jordanian national forces to establish a Jordanian-Palestinian national front whose aim will be to set up in Jordan a democratic national authority in close contact with the Palestinian entity that is established through the struggle. 

6. The Liberation Organization will struggle to establish unity in struggle between the two peoples and between all the forces of the Arab liberation movement that are in agreement on this programme. 

7. In the light of this programme, the Liberation Organization will struggle to strengthen national unity and to raise it to the level where it will be able to perform its national duties and tasks. 

8. Once it is established, the Palestinian national authority will strive to achieve a union of the confrontation countries, with the aim of completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory, and as a step along the road to comprehensive Arab unity. 

9. The Liberation Organization will strive to strengthen its solidarity with the socialist countries, and with forces of liberation and progress throughout the world, with the aim of frustrating all the schemes of Zionism, reaction and imperialism. 

10. In the light of this programme the leadership of the revolution will determine the tactics which will serve and make possible the realization of these objectives. 

The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization will make every effort to implement this programme, and should a situation arise affecting the destiny and the future of the Palestinian people, the National Assembly will be convened in extraordinary session.”