PA: Armed conflict is function
of its profitability
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei (Abu Alaa) said in an interview that the use of armed conflict - "resistance" - is a function of its profitability: "If it gives me [benefit] without costing me, yes."
Abu Alaa's message that armed conflict is not being rejected, but is to be used based on loss/gain considerations, is a principle that the Palestinian Authority has emphasized throughout the current ceasefire.
While the PA continues to reassure the international community that it is committed to non-violence, during the three months of the proximity talks the PA has repeatedly told its people in Arabic that armed conflict remains an option. Violent resistance is suspended only because it is not in the PA's present interests.
Following is the interview with Ahmad Qurei, along with more examples of "armed conflict" being presented in recent months as a legitimate and even admirable Palestinian option, depending on its profitability and capability.
1- Interview with Ahmad Qurei (Abu Alaa), former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister, head of the PLO's Jerusalem Department, on the conflict with Israel:
Qurei: "All the options are open, as I see it. Negotiations, political activity, popular activity and [armed] resistance - and we must continue with it."
Question: "Today, what is the [best] option, in your opinion?"
Qurei: "All of the above."
Question: "Including [armed] resistance?"
Qurei: "I see and analyze. And if it [resistance] gives me [benefit] without costing me, yes."
[Al Sharq Al-Awsat (London),
reprinted in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 5, 2010]
2- Nabil Shaath, member of Palestinian Parliament, Fatah Commissioner of Foreign Relations and member of the Fatah Central Committee, says negotiations are "tactical" and "temporary"
"Dr. Nabil Shaath, Commissioner of International Relations and member of the Fatah Central Committee... stated that the decision to renew negotiations was a tactical decision, i.e., a temporary, defensive decision... and it is dependent upon the possibility of attaining tangible results for the Palestinians. He concluded: 'Even the resistance uses defensive tactics in order not to miss opportunities.'"
[Al-Dustur (Jordan), June 10, 2010]
3- Nabil Shaath, member of Palestinian Parliament, Fatah Commissioner of Foreign Relations and member of the Fatah Central Committee, defends the right to armed struggle when it is in the "people's interest"
"Dr. Nabil Shaath, member of the Fatah Central Committee... emphasized that 'the Palestinian people has the right to defend itself, and it has the right to act in the way of the armed struggle. We have acted in this way for 100 years. Fatah led it [the armed struggle] for 23 years, and Hamas adopted it for 15 years. We are proud of all of our Shahids (Martyrs), and it is our right to return to the armed conflict whenever we view that as our people's interest.'"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, June 7, 2010]
4- Nabil Shaath, member of Palestinian Parliament, Fatah Commissioner of Foreign Relations and member of the Fatah Central Committee, explains the "inability" to engage in armed struggle now
"MP Dr. Nabil Shaath, member Fatah Central Committee and Commissioner of Foreign Relations... emphasized that the Fatah's stated strategy for the struggle is to adopt the growing popular and 'non-violent' struggle against Israel, because of the inability to engage in the armed struggle, which has become undesirable now, although it is the right of the Palestinian people, which all international treaties and resolutions have guaranteed... Shaath said: 'I have said this to the leaders of Hamas, I have said to [Hamas PM] Ismail Haniyeh during my meeting with him in Gaza, that Arab, regional and international conditions do not permit us to engage in the armed struggle...' Shaath emphasized that the non-violent struggle is no less honorable than the armed struggle, and that it does not signify submission to Israeli demands."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 20, 2010]
5- Nabil Shaath, member of Palestinian Parliament, Fatah Commissioner of Foreign Relations and member of the Fatah Central Committee, says that armed struggle is not rejected
"Dr. Nabil Shaath, Fatah... [said] The current distancing from the armed struggle does not mean its absolute rejection... He noted that the difficulty of the conflict required the Palestinian people to diversify its activities of struggle - along with an emphasis on the importance of the armed struggle, which laid the basis for the existence of the state and contributed to maintaining the right and presenting it to the world - especially since the armed struggle at the present time is not possible, or is not effective, because of to the difficulties with which the Palestinian people contends."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 21, 2010]
6- Editorials in the PA official daily: "Armed struggle is impossible now."
"I have no doubt that the occupation is destined to pass from the world... I also have no doubt that out of the options for the national struggle to be rid of the occupation, the popular struggle is the one that is needed, since the option of the armed struggle is impossible now."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Fatah), May 24, 2010]
7- Fatah leader Abbas Zaki, member of the Fatah Central Committee, justifies violence:
"Abbas Zaki, member of the Fatah Central Committee, does not believe that a Palestinian-Israeli agreement will be achieved in the shadow of the extreme right-wing [Israeli] government, but he leaves the door open to a 'return to [UN] Resolution 181 [1947 Partition Plan] and to all forms of the struggle, including the armed struggle, if the negotiations fail... the door is open to a return to the UN, such that Resolutions 242 and 338 will no longer have any value, and there will be a return to Resolution 181 [of November 29, 1947], which is the Partition Plan and the birth certificate of the State of Israel and of the Palestinian State. In addition, [there will be] a return to UN Resolution 3236, which grants the Palestinian people the right to all forms of the struggle, including the armed struggle...'
He called for 'a gathering that will bring together the Fatah and Hamas leadership, under Mahmoud Abbas' ... and added: 'We are in favor of anyone who defends the homeland and bears arms in order to defend it, because he supports the idea of Fatah and of the resistance [armed conflict].'"
[Al-Ghad (Jordan), May 22, 2010]
Click here to see more examples from PMW's website of how the PA uses the Violence-Diplomacy strategy.