Fatah statement urges ‘resistance’ to IDF, settlers
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Fatah statement urges ‘resistance’ to IDF, settlers

Amid sharp increase in West Bank mayhem, Mahmoud Abbas’s party ups rhetoric, though official says only nonviolent actions called for

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Illustration. A Palestinian youth from the Jilazoun refugee camp places burning tires on the road leading to the settlement of Bet El near Ramallah as he clashes with Israeli soldiers, October 24, 2014 (STR/Flash90)
Illustration. A Palestinian youth from the Jilazoun refugee camp places burning tires on the road leading to the settlement of Bet El near Ramallah as he clashes with Israeli soldiers, October 24, 2014 (STR/Flash90)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party called on the Palestinian public to escalate its struggle against Israel through widespread boycotts of Israeli products and “popular resistance” against Israeli soldiers and settlers Saturday.

In a statement published on Fatah’s official website, the movement’s West Bank branch lambasted Israel’s decision to withhold tax revenue from the PA in the wake of the Palestinian UN bid, dubbing it an act of “theft” that “deprives our people of their daily bread.”

Fatah pledged its support for Abbas’s international attempt to isolate Israel, calling for “an escalation of popular resistance against occupation forces and settlers.”

Abbas has publicly criticized the armed intifada, or uprising, against Israeli civilians, but has endorsed “popular resistance” consisting of large-scale rallies, processions, and the boycotting of settlement products.

The new statement appeared to legitimize physical attacks against IDF soldiers and Israelis living in the West Bank, which have dramatically increased in recent months.

Moneer Al-Jaghoub, head of the media committee of Fatah’s Mobilization and Organization Commission, asserted that the “popular resistance” mentioned in the statement was completely nonviolent.

“No bloodshed is intended,” Jaghoub told The Times of Israel. “We endorse the closing of roads and mass demonstrations.”

Muhammad Al-Madani, a Fatah official and Abbas’s liaison to Israeli society, said he was unaware of the Fatah communique on Sunday afternoon and refused to comment on it.

IDF weekly Bemahane reported last week that during 2014, stone throwing in the West Bank has increased 41%, Molotov cocktail hurling 50%, and rioting has increased 46% as compared to 2013.

The Fatah statement also called for a widespread boycott of Israeli goods, reviving a call by former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, who endorsed an all-out boycott in December 2012, following the UN recognition of “Palestine” as a nonmember observer state and the Israeli punitive measures that followed.

Fayyad participated in a public burning of Israeli products in 2010.

Former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad throws a package into a fire set to burn products from Jewish settlements, in the West Bank of Salfit, January 5, 2010 (photo credit: AP/Nasser Ishtayeh)
Former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad throws a package into a fire set to burn products from Jewish settlements, in the West Bank of Salfit, January 5, 2010 (photo credit: AP/Nasser Ishtayeh)

“We call on all chambers of commerce, schools, universities, students unions, mosque imams, church leaders and media outlets to dedicate the appropriate time every day to educate the public about the need to boycott Israeli occupation products and the improtence of this move in defying the occupation and its arrogance,” the statement read. “It is no longer acceptable for us to remain a lucrative commercial market for those who occupy us and plunder our land.”

While Mahmoud Abbas had objected to an indiscriminate boycott of Israeli products — calling on Palestinians to shun only settlement produce (banned by a presidential decree in 2010) — Fatah officials have made no such distinction.

Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muheisen warned Palestinian shop owners last August to rid their stores of “occupation products” within two weeks or see them smashed.

Masked Palestinian protesters throw stones at Israeli police during clashes in the Shuafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem, July 3, 2014 (photo credit: Sliman Khader/Flash90)
Masked Palestinian protesters throw stones at Israeli police during clashes in the Shuafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem, July 3, 2014 (photo credit: Sliman Khader/Flash90)

Jaghoub said that only Israeli products produced in the settlements are to be targeted, a decision passed during Fatah’s sixth convention in August 2009.

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