Abbas threatens to cancel
PA recognition of Israel...
but the PA has never really recognized Israel
PA and Fatah map: PA flag over all of Israel
Text: "The revolution continues"
[Official Fatah Facebook page, Dec. 29, 2016]
Fatah Central Committee member:
As North Vietnam took South Vietnam, a Palestinian state in West Bank will surely expand and take all of Israel
[Official PA TV, State of Politics, Dec. 26, 2016]
PA's Mufti, Muhammad Hussein:
"Jerusalem and all of Palestine is Islamic land."
[Official PA TV, Dec. 10, 2016]
Abbas' advisor on Islamic Affairs, Mahmoud Al-Habbash:
"The entire land of Palestine is [Islamic] Waqf ... 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]
On the occasion of yesterday's peace conference with representatives from 72 countries in Paris, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas stated that if the US moves its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem it might lead the Palestinians to "cancel" their "recognition of Israel:"
"President Abbas said that he wrote to Trump and warned him of the consequences of the transfer of the embassy, and noted that this 'will not only negate any legitimacy of the US to fill a role in settling the conflict, but will also annihilate the two-state solution.' He added that the Palestinians will discuss several options for a response, after consultations are held with Arab states, and said: 'Cancelling our recognition of Israel will be one of them.'"
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 15, 2017]
However, the clear fact is that the Palestinian Authority and Fatah have never really recognized the State of Israel.
For 20 years, Palestinian Media Watch has been exposing that, despite peace negotiations, agreements, and declarations, the Palestinians have never recognized Israel's right to exist - in any borders. In speeches, at events, and visually, the PA, Fatah, and their leaders have continued to present "Palestine" as including all of Israel and have expressed that the final goal is that all Israel's land will be in one state: "Palestine."
Expressing non-recognition in all maps
One recent example is Fatah's map above which was posted with the text: "The revolution continues." It shows all of Israel and the PA areas together as one entity with the Palestinian flag symbolizing political sovereignty over Israel. [Official Fatah Facebook page, Dec. 29, 2016]
Expressing non-recognition: PA goal is elimination of Israel in stages
Palestinian leaders openly say among themselves that a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines is merely the first stage of replacing all of Israel with "Palestine." Fatah Central Committee member Azzam Al-Ahmad recently told PA TV that he is not concerned that land he claims for his family is in the "1948" lands, i.e., in Israel, because he is "certain" that a Palestinian state in the West Bank will lead to "Palestine" erasing Israel - just like North Vietnam took South Vietnam:
"We agree to a state on territory that is 22%, and perhaps less, of the land of historical Palestine. By the way, I personally - all of our [family's] lands, thousands of acres in the Jezreel Valley (i.e., Israel) - none are in the 1967 lands (i.e., West Bank), but rather in the 1948 [lands] (i.e., in Israel). Despite this, I am certain that a Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967 will return my historical rights to me in full. I am certain of it. Therefore, I am certain that we need to start. The historical examples of this are many. North Vietnam. There was a North and a South [Vietnam]. What is its name now? Vietnam! Isn't it?"
[Official PA TV, State of Politics, Dec. 26, 2016]
Another Fatah Central Committee member, Abbas Zaki, said the same thing to Al-Jazeera already years ago. The goal of PA policy including that of Abbas, he said, is to eliminate all of Israel in stages and it will be achieved by first bringing Israel to the 1967 lines, because then "Israel will come to an end." He then added: "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]
Expressing non-recognition through terminology
The PA leaders' use of the euphemism "1948 lands" (see above)instead of saying "Israel," is another glaring example of their non-recognition of Israel's right to exist. At other times Israel is referred to as "occupied Palestine." Palestinian Media Watch has documented hundreds of examples of the use of these terms.
Expressing non-recognition as Islamic law
In recent years, the PA and Fatah leaders have added an Islamic prohibition against recognition of Israel to their political refusal to recognize Israel, by which the PA is echoing Hamas ideology. PA and Fatah religious leaders are now teaching that it violates Islamic law to recognize Israel because all of Israel is said to be on "Islamic land" - "Waqf." Allah demands Palestinians to liberate it and "not give up a single grain" of it.
In December 2016, the PA's Grand Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein reiterated that Islam prohibits recognition of Israel in any borders while speaking in front of the top PA leadership: Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Yusuf Ida'is, and Supreme Shari'ah Judge and Abbas' advisor on Islamic Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash. The Mufti said that "All of Palestine is Islamic land" and encouraged Palestinians to continue religious conflict:
"We will establish the Palestinian state despite the doubts of the doubters, because the Palestinian people has the solid will, the Jihadi and combative will. This people of Ribat (i.e., religious conflict/war over land claimed to be Islamic)... Allah willing, it will continue to carry out Ribat at the gates of the Al-Aqsa [Mosque] and at the gates of Jerusalem. The call of Monotheism, the call to prayer, will remain loud and heard in the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza, Jerusalem, and all of Palestine, because all of Palestine is Islamic land."
[Speech in front of PA top officials, PA ceremony marking birthday
of Islam's Prophet Muhammad, Official PA TV, Dec. 10, 2016]
This Islamic prohibition to recognize Israel in any borders was stated explicitly by a close advisor to Mahmoud Abbas and the PA's Supreme Shari'ah Judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash:
"The entire land of Palestine is Waqf (an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law) and is 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]
Expressing non-recognition through education
These messages that all of Israel is "Palestine" are a central part of the Palestinian Authority education as well. When the PA Ministry of Education recently launched its First Palestinian School Counseling Committee, it chose a logo displaying the PA map of "Palestine" that includes all of Israel, covered with the PA flag. One member of the committee was Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr. Sabri Saidam (seated third from the left).
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Dec. 22, 2016]
Palestinian non-recognition of Israel in any borders is one of the fundamental components of Palestinian Authority ideology that are repeated incessantly to the Palestinian population while PA leaders are careful to hide it from the international community. Abbas' threat to "cancel recognition" is therefore meaningless for the Palestinian population, as it is well aware that "Palestine" in PA ideology already encompasses all of Israel.
A poll by the Washington Institute for Near East Studies found that for Palestinians a peace treaty with Israel, therefore, would not mean the end of the conflict. Rather, Palestinians would then want to continue working "toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine." The poll showed that Palestinians understand that this is the PA leaders' policy as well:
"A clear majority (60% overall, including 55% in the West Bank and 68% in Gaza) say that the five-year goal 'should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.' ...
This pattern is confirmed by other questions in the survey. For example, just one-third said that a two-state solution 'should be the end of the conflict.' Nearly two-thirds said 'resistance should continue until all of historic Palestine is liberated.' And only a third said that 'it might be necessary to give up some of our claims so that our people and our children can have a better life.'
Similarly, only a third said that a two-state solution would be their leadership's final goal. Instead, almost two-thirds said it would be 'part of a "program of stages," to liberate all of historic Palestine later.' This remarkable finding helps explain how a plurality or more of Palestinians can support President Mahmoud Abbas and reject a two-state solution at the same time."
[The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, June 25, 2014]
The international community's failure to realize that the Palestinian Authority does not recognize Israel and has taught its people and especially its children to reject Israel in all borders, is one of the great failures of international diplomacy, and remains one of the fundamental impediments to peace.
The following is Abbas' statement about the Palestinian cancellation of their "recognition" of Israel if the US moves its embassy to Jerusalem:
Headline: "The [PA] president [Abbas] calls on participants in the Paris Conference to take tangible steps to implement the international decisions - transferring the American embassy will hinder the peace process, and canceling our recognition of Israel will be one of our options"
"[PA] President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday [Jan. 14, 2017] inaugurated the Palestinian embassy at the Vatican. He met with Pope Francis, and again warned against the plan of US President-elect Donald Trump to transfer the American embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem. During the inauguration of the embassy... the president again emphasized his opposition to the possibility that the American embassy will be transferred to Jerusalem, and said: 'The Palestinians are waiting to see what will happen. We hope that this is not true, because it will thwart the peace process.'
President Abbas emphasized that he 'extends his hand to President-elect Trump for cooperation in order to reach peace on the basis of international law.' He added that 'any attempt to give legal validity to the illegal annexation of Jerusalem by Israel will eliminate the prospects of the political process, dispel the hopes of a solution based on two states, and encourage the extremism in our region and in the world.' ...
In an interview that was published yesterday in the French paper Le Figaro, President Abbas said that he wrote to Trump and warned him of the consequences of the transfer of the embassy, and noted that this 'will not only negate any legitimacy of the US to fill a role in settling the conflict, but will also annihilate the two-state solution.'
He added that the Palestinians will discuss several options for a response, after consultations are held with Arab states, and said: 'Cancelling our recognition of Israel will be one of them, but we hope that we will not reach that, and that instead we will be able to work with the next American administration.'"
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 15, 2017; official PA TV News, Jan. 14, 2017]