OpinionIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

See no Fatah, hear no Fatah

To acknowledge the truth is to admit that it never gave up terrorism and that creating a Palestinian state won’t bring peace.

Mahmoud Abbas. Credit: Comunicazione della Presidenza della Repubblica via Wikimedia Commons.
Mahmoud Abbas. Credit: Comunicazione della Presidenza della Repubblica via Wikimedia Commons.
Stephen M. Flatow. Credit: Courtesy.
Stephen M. Flatow
Stephen M. Flatow is president of the Religious Zionists of America. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995, and author of A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror. (The RZA is not affiliated with any American or Israeli political party.)

The Palestinian Authority’s ruling faction, Fatah, is boasting that its members have carried out most of the recent terrorism against Israelis. “Fatah leaders are also calling for more violence against Israel,” and are praising the perpetrators of the recent massacre of Israeli as “heroic martyrs,” they have said.

Yet the Biden administration’s response echoes the ancient Japanese proverb: See none of Fatah’s evil actions, hear none of Fatah’s evil words, and speak no truth about Fatah’s evil record.

Fatah is by far the largest of the 10 factions that make up the P.A. and its parent body, the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Fatah, the P.A. and the PLO were all headed by Yasser Arafat and are now chaired by his successor, 87-year-old Mahmoud Abbas. In signing the Oslo Accords of 1993-1995, Fatah committed to lay down its weapons, combat terrorists and live in peace with Israel.

But instead of doing so, the head of Fatah’s Jenin branch announced on May 30 that “a national decision” has been made to “fight” Israel and “confront it with every weapon.”

Instead of combating terrorists, Fatah’s Bethlehem branch publicly praised the terrorists who recently slaughtered four Israelis near the town of Eli. That June 20 Fatah announcement hailed the killers as “righteous martyrs” and “heroic martyrdom-seekers.”

Instead of living in peace with Israel, Fatah is “leading” the latest waves of anti-Israel violence, according to Fatah itself. The Fatah Commission of Information and Culture, on its official Facebook page on June 17, posted a video asserting: “If we ask about the armed resistance in the West Bank, the Fatah Movement is the one that is leading it. The Fatah members have more than two-thirds of the percentage of martyrs … ”

(Thanks to Palestinian Media Watch for the translations.)

Following the signing of the first Oslo agreement in September 1993, Israelis and American Jews were shocked that terrorist attacks were continuing. After all, the entire premise of the accords was that terrorism would stop.

Palestinian spokesmen and their apologists claimed the ongoing attacks were not the work of Fatah but were perpetrated by “independent” groups that Fatah supposedly could not control, with names such as the “Hawks” and the “Tanzim.”

It was implausible that those groups had sprung up overnight, fully formed, with an entire network of highly trained bombers and shooters already in place. Sure enough, those names soon disappeared from public discourse and were replaced by a new “independent” terror group called the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

The “Brigades” claimed responsibility for attacks on a bat mitzvah celebration in Hadera (six dead, 33 wounded); the suicide bombing at Jerusalem’s Yeshivat Beit Yisrael (11 dead,  including two infants, and 50 wounded); and the suicide bombing at the Tel Aviv Central bus station (23 dead, more than 100 injured), among many other outrages.

The U.S. State Department added the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades to the official U.S. list of designated terrorist groups but refused to acknowledge they were part of Fatah.

Then-P.A. Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei told the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper: “We have clearly declared that the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades are part of Fatah. We are committed to them and Fatah bears full responsibility for the group.” (The Jerusalem Post, June 20, 2004)

Investigative journalists from the BBC documented that Fatah was allocating $50,000 monthly to the Brigades. Yet the State Department still refused to see any of Fatah’s evil, hear any of its evil or speak the truth about its evil.

Finally, in June 2005, a study by the U.S. government’s own Congressional Research Service reported: “On December 18, 2003, Fatah asked the leaders of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades to join the Fatah Council, recognizing it officially as part of the Fatah organization.”

All of which is reminiscent of the fiction of “Black September.” When the terrorists who carried out the Munich Olympics massacre in 1972 and the murder of the U.S. ambassador in Sudan in 1973 claimed to be from “Black September,” not Fatah, there was good reason for suspicion.

One of the Munich planners, Mohammed Oudeh (Abu Daoud), was quoted in the Jordanian newspaper Al-Dustur in 1972, saying, “There is no such organization as Black September. Fatah announces its own operations under this name so that Fatah will not appear as the direct executor of the operation.” Still, the State Department refused to see the truth.

Later, it turned out that a telegram sent by the State Department to American embassies around the world on March 13, 1973 acknowledged the truth: “The Black September Organization is a cover term for Fatah’s terrorist operations executed by Fatah’s intelligence organization. … For all intents and purposes no significant distinction now can be made between the BSO and Fatah.”

“Black September.” “Hawks.” “Tanzim.” “Al-Aqsa Martyrs.” All turned out to be front groups for Fatah. More recently, some media outlets have been referring to a supposedly new terrorist group called the “Lions’ Den.” It will be interesting to see how many “Lions’ Den” members turn out to be Fatah members, especially now that Fatah is boasting that it is carrying out the large majority of the terror attacks.

The Biden administration, however, refuses to see any Fatah members carrying out attacks, refuses to hear Fatah officials endorsing terrorism, and refuses to say anything bad about Fatah—because to acknowledge the truth is to admit that Fatah never gave up terrorism, Arafat and Abbas never wanted peace, and creating a Palestinian state won’t bring peace. That’s a painful truth for many people to acknowledge. But the truth must be faced, no matter how painful.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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