Negotiations with Israel will lead to “zero results” if not fortified by armed resistance, a senior Fatah official said, adding that the first signs of a new Palestinian uprising have already begun to appear on the ground.
An American framework agreement expected to be presented in the coming weeks to the negotiating teams will never receive Palestinian endorsement if based on parameters currently being voiced by the Americans, said Tawfiq Tirawi, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee and head of the official Palestinian investigation committee into the death of Yasser Arafat, speaking to Lebanese news channel Al-Mayadeen Thursday.
“We [in Fatah] know what the Israelis and Americans are suggesting [in the negotiating room]. So far, the negotiations are taking place only with the Americans, not the Israelis, and the Americans are liars. There is no framework agreement. It’s a lie. Even if Kerry [presents] an agreement, Palestinians will reject it. There will be a vote, either inside Fatah or among the Palestinian leadership, and the American proposals will be rejected,” Tirawi said.
A number of senior Palestinian officials have voiced public skepticism regarding the possibility of negotiations with Israel leading to a deal, as the nine-month time frame for talks approaches its end in April. Last month, PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo blasted US Secretary of State John Kerry for “breaking a promise” to end negotiations on all core issues during the original framework.
But Tirawi voiced skepticism that negotiations alone could ever produce a Palestinian state.
“There is no possibility of a Palestinian state being established on the West Bank and Gaza in the coming 20 years. None at all. Anyone who believes otherwise is wrong. Negotiations will bring us nothing … we, all Palestinian factions, must return to the cycle of action. When we will do this, many things will change.”
Asked what he meant by the cycle of action, Tirawi clarified he was speaking of “resistance in all of its forms.”
“Steadfastness is also resistance, negotiations are also a form of resistance, but there must be something on the ground as well … weapons, popular resistance, there are 100 methods to resist.”
Palestinians were pushed into negotiations with Israel by a consensus of Western and Arab states which insisted on diplomacy, leaving the Palestinian leadership no option but to agree, Tirawi said.
“It’s true that most PLO factions were against [entering negotiations], but there’s something called Palestinian national interests. Did we compromise on any of our principles? No. That’s what is important.”
Tirawi’s words were tacitly directed at PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who consistently speaks out against armed violence toward Israel, preferring to focus efforts on “popular resistance,” namely boycotts, demonstrations, and limited violence such as stone throwing. In a recent speech before a crowd of Jerusalem activists, Abbas praised the behavior of villagers from Qusra, near Nablus, who apprehended “with their bare hands” settlers suspected of preparing a price tag attack.
The resumption of armed resistance, Tirawi argued, must be done in an organized and coordinated manner, not sporadically.
“There should be a strategic national plan that all organizations can agree upon, both within the PLO and without it,” he said.
Tirawi noted that the first signs of a new Palestinian uprising could already be felt on the ground in Palestinian towns and villages: increased stone throwing, tire burning, confrontations with settlers and soldiers.
“The big explosion in Palestine is coming. All of Israel’s actions have placed the Palestinian public under immense pressure. They have no choice but to explode in the face of the occupation.”
Speaking as head of the investigation team into the death of Yasser Arafat, Tirawi rejected as “political” the French forensic report released last month ruling out the possibility that the late Palestinian president died of poisoning.
Tirawi, who served as head of General Intelligence in the West Bank under Yasser Arafat and was accused by Israel of involvement in terrorism during the Second Intifada, added that the Russian report which found Arafat’s cause of death “inconclusive” detected a second material in his body other than polonium, inserted from the outside.
“We are testing this substance chemically,” Tirawi said, adding that he is convinced that Israel was behind the death.
“It’s not like searching for a needle in a haystack, it’s like searching for a needle in an ocean. Let’s hope we succeed.”