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Fatah official: "We haven't abandoned our strategy... of armed struggle... but the current stage is of peaceful resistance and negotiations"

Al-Jazeera TV (Arabic)  |
Al-Jazeera interviewed Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad

Interviewer: “We are talking about today. You’ve renounced weapons, and they [Hamas] are bearing [their] weapons. Let’s talk about today.”

Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad: “No. We have not renounced [our weapons].”

Interviewer: “That is, you, Fatah, are willing to continue the armed struggle?”

Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad: “If we will need to renew [the armed struggle], why not? This isn’t the first time we’ve stopped military activity. At the moment, Hamas isn’t carrying out any military activity. It has signed a truce, with the mediation of the United States, Hilary Clinton…”

Interviewer[interrupts him]: “If only you too had signed a truce. A truce doesn’t mean renouncing armed activity.”

Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad: “We in the Fatah movement haven’t abandoned our strategy, through which we taught the parties of the region – all the parties of the region – the meaning of armed struggle.”

Interviewer: “[So] this reconciliation [between Fatah and Hamas] and this agreement don’t clash with the issue of Fatah having chosen the path of reconciliation and Hamas, the path of struggle? will you not argue about this issue?”

Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad: “No, no. First of all, brother Ahmed, the current facts are: In the National Reconciliation Document of 2006, we agreed to the Arab Peace Initiative, and to a state within the June 4, [1967] borders, and Hamas signed it. In the same document, we stated that the negotiations were the affair of the PLO and its chairman, in Articles 4 and 7 - you can read them. Hamas signed that. Meaning, Hamas agrees to the plan for the establishment of the state. [Hamas Political Bureau Chief] Khaled Mashaal, who is with you in Qatar, said at the ceremony [of the signing of the reconciliation agreement] on May 4, 2011: ‘Go, Mahmoud Abbas, negotiate for another year.’ We began discussing peaceful popular resistance, for the time being. Even after Oslo, we engaged in armed struggle with Israel. Have we forgotten that in the Al-Aqsa Intifada (i.e., PA terror campaign 2000-2005), over 4,000 Martyrs (Shahids) fell – most of them from among the [PA] security personnel? Have we forgotten this?”

Interviewer: “Meaning, Fatah hasn’t ruled out the option of armed resistance?”

Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad: “No. We haven’t ruled it out. Read our charter – we haven’t ruled it out, but the current stage is the stage of peaceful resistance and negotiations. If we are forced to return to the other forms [of struggle] – to violence and so on – Israel will be responsible for that – since it didn’t abide by what it had signed – and the United States, which favored Israel and shirked the decisions of the international institutions.”