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World Tribune on Fatah support for Hamas rocket attacks against Israel, citing PMW material

Fatah ends opposition to Hamas,
praises missile war against Israel

JERUSALEM — The ruling Fatah movement, in what appeared to mark a change in policy, has supported the Hamas war against Israel. Fatah leaders, including those linked to the Palestinian Authority, expressed support for the Hamas missile war against Israel in November. The leaders, amid rising attacks against Israel in the West Bank, said their
longtime opposition to Hamas, which took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, was dissipating.

“We are going into the direction of reconciliation,” former PA Housing Minister Mohammed Shtayeh said. “For the first time, I feel hopeful that this will be possible.”

In an address on Dec. 14, Shtayeh, a former PA negotiator with Israel, said the PA would encourage what he termed “popular unarmed resistance.” Shtayeh said Palestinian violence was necessary to force Israel to withdraw from the West Bank.

In mid-December, the PA allowed Hamas to organize mass rallies in West Bank cities. Hamas gatherings, addressed by Fatah leaders, were held in Hebron and Nablus to commemorate Hamas’ 25th anniversary. In Hebron, PA police clashed with Hamas supporters who tried to storm an Israel Army checkpoint.

“Hamas steadfastness and victory in Gaza was a big victory for all Palestinian people,” Fatah leader Amin Makboul said on Dec. 13.

The Palestinian Media Watch has reported on recent Fatah praise for Hamas.In one statement, Fatah’s military wing, linked to PA security commanders, pledged to continue attacks and avenge the Israeli assassination of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari. “May Allah have mercy on the hero Ahmed Jabari,” former PA Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath, today an adviser to Abbas, said.

“The Palestinian Authority and Fatah condemned Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense that aimed at destroying Hamas’ terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” PMW, which has testified in the U.S. Congress, said in a bulletin dated Dec. 13. “It never once condemned Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel during the eight-day conflict. Instead, senior PA and Fatah leaders ‘bless Hamas,’ ‘praise and salute’ the launching of rockets against Israel, and even advocate ‘armed struggle.’ ”

From September through November, at least five members of Fatah’s Central Committee, in statements reported by the PA media, welcomed the Hamas war. One of the Central Committee members was Jibril Rajoub, founder and still influential in the PA Preventive Security Apparatus, assigned to monitor and crack down on Hamas.

In a demonstration in Ramallah, Rajoub said the Palestinians would not end their war against Israel. Rajoub, chairman of the Palestine Olympics Committee, called on Fatah and Hamas to agree on a strategy toward the Jewish state.

“Come, let’s agree, and we are ready,” Rajoub, long regarded by Israel as the most dependent of PA security commanders, said on Nov. 29. “If there’s shooting, we’ll shoot. If there are demonstrations, we’ll demonstrate. Long live Palestine! Long live Palestine!”

The Fatah leaders raised the prospect that their movement would lead an uprising against Israel in the West Bank. One Central Committee member, Mahmoud Aloul, said the timing would depend on the success of diplomatic efforts to win a Palestinian state.

“Everyone has agreed that at this stage, that form is popular resistance,” Aloul said. “At the same time, armed resistance has absolutely not been eliminated from anyone’s options. It needs a suitable climate not only among us. We hope that what is being spoken of as the Arab Spring and changes in the Arab world will create the climate so that the Palestinians can employ it.”