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Abbas’ advisor: PA policy is based on the stages plan

Itamar Marcus  |
  • Abbas’ advisor explains the stages plan for taking Israel's land:
    “The [Palestinian] rights are indivisible. Give me 60% or 70% of my rights, and tell me: ‘That’s it, that’s yours, take it.’ Perhaps temporarily, yes. [But] strategically, no! … Our rights are non-negotiable. They [Israel] want to negotiate over Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque – then by Allah, it is better [to be dead] in the belly of the earth than to be on its surface”

  • Abbas’ advisor: The Western Wall “is an exclusive permanent Islamic waqf according to Allah's decree”

During a televised Friday sermon, PA Chairman Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, stressed that the PA still adheres to the “stages plan” for taking Israel's land. According to this long-term strategy, which was coined by the PLO in 1974, all of Israel – which Palestinians refer to as historic “Palestine” - would be “liberated” in stages and Israel thereby destroyed. The “stages” meant that the “liberation” would happen gradually and that the PLO could enter agreements with Israel that would make Israel more vulnerable and which the PLO did not see as binding.

In this recent sermon, Abbas’ advisor, who also serves as PA Supreme Shari’ah Judge, focused on the nature of any compromise that the PA makes regarding Jerusalem and the Western Wall – as temporary:

PA Supreme Shari’ah Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash: Islam is truth that is indivisible… The rights are indivisible. Give me 60% or 70% of my rights, and tell me: ‘That’s it, that’s yours, take it.’ Perhaps temporarily, yes. [But] strategically, no! … Our rights are non-negotiable. They want to negotiate over Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque – then by Allah, it is better [to be dead] in the belly of the earth than to be on its surface... There is no negotiation on even one millimeter of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, including the Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall of the Temple Mount), which is an exclusive permanent Islamic waqf (i.e., an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law; see note below) according to Allah's decree …This is our right, and whoever fights us over our right is an oppressor, and it is a duty to resist (i.e., fight) the oppressors.

[Official PA TV, Jan. 20, 2023]

Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Al-Habbash has made it clear that according to Palestinian Islam all of Israel is an Islamic waqf that must eventually return to Islamic rule: 

"The entire land of Palestine is [Islamic] waqf andis blessed land... it is prohibited to sell, bestow ownership or facilitate the occupation of even a millimeter of it." 

     [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 22, 2014]

Al-Habbash has also stressed that PA agreements with Israel are temporary and that Israel will eventually be conquered: 

"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...  [He signed a peace treaty but] 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]

PMW has documented similar statements by other PA and Fatah leaders that show consistently that all of the State of Israel is the actual goal of the PA.

Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for the official PA daily Muwaffaq Matar recently explained that the stages plan is Abbas’ plan to destroy Israel: 

“President Mahmoud Abbas in focusing on two parallel paths of the Palestinian national struggle… 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.” 

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

Tawfiq Tirawi, who is a Fatah commissioner and member of its Central Committee, has stated his view that the 1967 borders – which the PA claims it will accept as the borders of “Palestine” - is not the final goal. he ambition is to rule over all of Israel and include Israeli cities such as “Haifa, Jaffa, and Acre” in “Palestine”:

Tirawi: "My homeland is Nablus, Jenin, Haifa, Jaffa, Acre. (Last three are Israeli cities). Therefore, my homeland is all of Palestine, and this is what I was brought up on. And I always say that Palestine is all of Palestine. This is far from the plans that were offered [at Oslo] in order to achieve something for our people… when the Palestinian leadership established the Fatah Movement [in 1965], it offered proposals. Then following the first proposal, for all of Palestine – the first proposal [in 1965, sought] a democratic state that will include the Muslims, Christians, and Jews. [In 1993, Fatah] raised the issue of the [smaller] Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. This was so that we would achieve something for our people. However, I say to you:  Are we forgetting that Jaffa is ours? No. That Acre is ours? No. That Nazareth is ours? No. (All three are Israeli cities). I am convinced of this, and this is my viewpoint that I am always saying and presenting. Always."

[Facebook page of Fatah Central Committee member Tawfiq Tirawi,
March 10, 2020]

Many PA and Fatah leaders as well as institutions have promoted the notion of a “Palestine” stretching “from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea– a message also taught to kids.

Jenin District Governor Akram Rajoub: “The Palestinian narrative that needs to be sown in the minds of our children in all fields, in economy, culture, heritage, struggle, and in raising the flag is: ‘Palestine for the Palestinians.’ Yes, Palestine for the Palestinians. From the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea. Yes! From the river to the sea. Your national responsibility is to pass this from generation to generation to our children: That Palestine belongs to the Palestinians from the river to the sea… We agreed to the 1967 borders, to establish our state in them, but in our minds and in the minds of our [future] generations, it needs to be established that Palestine [from the river to the sea] belongs to the Palestinians.”

 [Facebook page of the Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, 
June 15, 2022] 

PMW has also exposed statements by Abbas’ close associate and Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki in which he explained the strategy of achieving goals “in stages and stated that he wants to “remove” Israel “from existence:

Abbas Zaki: "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]

Abbas Zaki: "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]

 Mahmoud Al-Habbash also serves as Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations.

The Al-Buraq Wall – Islam's Prophet Muhammad is said to have ridden during his Night Journey from Mecca to "al aqsa mosque", i.e., "the farthest mosque" (Quran, Sura 17), and there tied his miraculous flying steed named Al-Buraq to a "stone" or a "rock." (Jami` at-Tirmidhi, Book 47, Hadith 3424). In the 1920's, Arab Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini decided to identify the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem as that "rock" or "stone," and since then Muslims refer to the Western Wall as the "Al-Buraq Wall."

A waqf is an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law. Palestinians define all of Israel as waqf, and thereby Israel exists on Islamic holy land. Palestinian leaders have explained that under Islamic law Muslims are commanded to free the waqf from non-Muslims.


The sermon from January 2023 was broadcast from a mosque in Ramallah.

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