If you do something that damages your chances of achieving what you desire, English has the perfect phrase for it: "shooting yourself in the foot."
I'v watched with equal degrees of horror and hilarity as Fatah shot itself in the foot this week.
These are our peace partners. These are the "moderates."
These are their "non-negotiable" demands, as I've picked up from various news sources:
1. A freeze on all Jewish settlement activity in the disputed territories [but no freeze on Palestinian building, which continues apace].
2. Open the borders of Gaza [to Hamas and its cadres of martyrs ready to engage in more mass murder of Jews in public venues].
When Hell freezes over....
3. ALL of Jerusalem is to be surrendered to the future Palestinian state. Not East Jerusalem. Not parts of Jerusalem. I actually read this twice to make sure I was reading it correctly. All of Western Jerusalem, which is 95+% Jewish, is to be surrendered. Not land over the Green Line. Not mixed neighborhoods. ALL of it.
When Hell freezes over....
And all prisoners must be released [that's Palestinian prisoners--Gilad Shalit doesn't even get a visit from the Red Cross] and Israel killed Arafat [he died of AIDS, according to the Russians] and the conference also endorsed the Aksa Martyrs Brigades as Fatah's official "armed wing." I love this touch -- when was the last time the Republicans or the Social Democrats or any other "political party" had an "armed wing"? Nevermind that the endorsement of this group as Fatah's official armed wing contradicts promises made by the Fatah leadership to the effect that the Aksa Martyrs Brigades have been dismantled.
What?! You BELIEVED the Palestinians when they said they were dismantling their terror apparatus....silly you!
As my Husband the Wit put it, agog with hilarity that this platform saw the light of day -- "oh, yeah, and all Jews should march to the sea, jump in, and while in mid-air, cut our throats."
Does Fatah have any idea how this plays in Israel? How many on the Right are delighted with this platform? Because this makes it very easy, too easy, for Middle Israel to simply shrug and say, "They're being ridiculous. Fuck 'em."
This is not the platform that is going to advance dialogue and the peace process. Fatah couldn't have given a better gift to Netanyahu's coalition -- NO one in the world can take the Palestinians seriously in light of this sabre-rattling. The Fatah platform is now the "obstacle to peace."
So why is there this dichotomy? Why is there the expression of a desire to negotiate, a referral to past offers and agreements, counterbalanced by a conference that sounds like a call to Jihadi crusade?
Because Fatah, now and always, has two faces: one for the international community and one for internal consumption.
The Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs aptly summed up the Two Faces of Fatah:
Will Fatah Give Up the Armed Struggle
at Its Sixth General Congress?
Pinhas Inbari [bakanote: these are excerpts--the entire article can be reached through the links]
•Many observers are watching to see to what extent Fatah's Sixth General Congress will advance or retard the prospects for re-launching the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. In this regard, the crucial question is: Is Fatah going to waive its historical principle of "armed struggle" and devote itself to peace negotiations based on compromise?
•The two relevant documents to be discussed and approved by the Fatah Congress are the Political Program and Fatah's "Internal Order." The Political Program might be seen as reflecting progress in terms of accepting a political solution and rejecting violence - but it falls short of waiving the principle of armed struggle.
•The real problem lies in the Internal Order document, which restores all of the phrases that were omitted in the Political Program. While the Political Program sought to subordinate the struggle to the need for "international legitimacy," the Internal Order is very clear in rejecting all international peace initiatives.
•In the Internal Order document, Fatah retains the armed struggle as a strategy in order to liberate the whole of Palestine and eliminate Israel. Article 12 calls for "the liberation of Palestine completely and the elimination of the state of the Zionist occupation economically, politically, militarily, and culturally."
•Article 13 calls for "establishing a sovereign democratic Palestinian state on the entire Palestinian territory." While the Political Program lists the "one-state solution" as an option in case the "two-state solution" fails, the Internal Order document mentions the "one-state solution" as the only solution.
•Should there be any question regarding Fatah's objectives, Article 17 states: "The armed popular revolution is the only inevitable way to the liberation of Palestine," while Article 19 notes: "The struggle will not end until the elimination of the Zionist entity and the liberation of Palestine."
Two Documents: One for International Consumption and the Other for Internal Use
The two relevant documents to be discussed and approved by the Fatah Congress are the Political Program and Fatah's "Internal Order." The Political Program might be seen by many as reflecting progress in terms of accepting a political solution and rejecting violence - but it falls short of waiving the principle of armed struggle. The document endorses the Arab Initiative, talks in vague expressions of the "right of return" - using a formula "based on UN Resolution 181" and not on fulfillment of this resolution, and offers the model of the "Intifada of the Stones" (the first intifada) as preferred over the model of military struggle.
The principle of the "armed struggle" is mentioned as an option of the past that must be re-examined in comparison to other options of struggle. The model seen to fit our times is the anti-wall campaigns in Nil'in and Bil'in, but "10,000 times as fierce." The political program uses the term "the struggle" (not quite describing it as the "armed struggle") and even the "peaceful struggle." However, there is more than one reference to the term "the struggle of all options," that includes the armed struggle as well. In an interview with Maan News, the Fatah leader in Lebanon, Sultan Abu al-Einein, made it clear that the "struggle of all options" includes the armed struggle as well.
Fatah's Internal Order Presents a Different Face
Developing the Nil'in-Bil'in model of struggle is problematic because it can easily deteriorate into violence, as past experience shows, but the real problem lies in the Internal Order document. All of the phrases that were omitted in the Political Program are present in this would-be "bureaucratic" document. The term "armed popular struggle" appears at the very beginning. While the Political Program sought to subordinate the struggle to the need for "international legitimacy," the Internal Order is very clear in rejecting all international peace initiatives: "The projects, agreements, and resolutions that were issued or will be issued by the UN or group of states or any separate state on the Palestinian problem that waives the rights of the Palestinians on their homeland is null and void."
Furthermore, Article 22 calls for: "objection by force to all political solutions that are offered as an alternative to the extermination of the occupying Zionist entity in Palestine and all the projects that aim for the elimination of the Palestinian problem, or seek to internationalize it or put an outside custodian on its people from any possible party." This article is in contradiction to the call in the Political Program for greater international involvement in the problem and its welcome for the involvement of international forces in Palestine.
Article 9 states clearly that "the liberation of the Holy Land and the defense of its holy sites (that are forbidden to infidels) is an Arab, Muslim, and humanitarian duty."
Feel free to share these platforms, Stateside readers: the spin in the Chronicle and the total absence of these platforms in both the Chron and the NY Times tells me that the West is getting the left-wing Pallywood spin.
One of my lawyer colleagues once postulated that Fatah was the "moderate" political party of the Palestinians and Hamas were the radicals. "Not so," I told him. "Fatah is just Hamas in suits."
They've proved it this week.