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Wednesday, December 5, 2007
ZOA Response to Peace Now regarding Fatah Constitution

From: Zionist Organization of America www.zoa.org

To:
June Walker, Chair
Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice-Chair
Conference of Presidents of Major
American Jewish Organizations
633 Third Avenue, 21st Floor
New York, NY 10017

5 December, 2007

Dear Ms. Walker & Mr. Hoenlein,

Americans For Peace Now (Peace Now) has recently sent a letter to the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization criticizing
ZOA's resolution asking the Conference of Presidents to call upon the
Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas to rescind portions of
the Fatah Constitution. The Fatah Constitution contains 10 horrific clauses,
of which we provide here a sample of three which call for 1). Israel's
demolition; 2). the use of terrorism as an essential element in the
strategy to obtain that objective; and 3). rejection of any negotiated
solution as a matter of principle:

(Article 12) "Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of
Zionist economic, political, military, and cultural existence."
(Article 19) "Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the
Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the
liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle
will not cease until the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is
completely liberated."
(Article 22) "Opposing any political solution offered as an
alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine."

Peace Now questions the existence of such a document and we shall deal with
each of its arguments in turn:

It claims that it was unable to find such a document in either Arabic or
English and that the quotations from the Fatah Constitution that we provided
are "thus far unsubstantiated" but if, however, such a document does exist,
the accuracy of the English version found online "cannot be confirmed."
It claims that it is unaware of the mechanism for the Fatah Constitution's
amendment and that experts on Palestinian legal affairs and Fatah senior
members were unable to provide one.
Assuming, however, that all this could be clarified, Peace Now expressed
"serious reservations about the timing and motivations behind this
resolution" and urges the Conference against "indulging those elements in
the Conference that prefer to look for new pretexts to thwart Israel's peace
efforts."
.
1. The Fatah Constitution (1964) is the document laying out the mission of
the organization co-founded by Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. The complete
text of the Fatah Constitution is available on at least five websites,
including in the Arabic original at
http://web.archive.org/web/20070206152937/www.fateh.net/public/a_constitution/index.htm
and in English at
http://web.archive.org/web/20070607150221/www.fateh.net/e_public/constitution.htm.

The Fatah Constitution can also be found in English translation on diverse
websites, including on MidEast Web; Israeli/Palestinian ProCon.org; the
Ariel Center for Policy Research; and the Israel/Palestine Center for Policy
Research . The translations offered by these sites do not substantively
differ from the one we used in our resolution. Far from being
unsubstantiated, the quotations we provided from the Fatah Constitution are
confirmed by a number of sources. Nor were the Constitution's contents a
matter of dispute until ZOA made its call for Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah to
show seriousness to the cause of peace by abrogating this pro-terror,
anti-Israel document.

Peace Now mentions that the Constitution dates from the mid-1960s, implying
that it is old, obscure and thus of no practical relevance, yet it is surely
obvious that most countries in the world have constitutions ranging in ages
from several decades to several centuries. No-one would claim that these
documents are irrelevant or somehow lack force today.

2. We are not surprised that senior members of Fatah, which has engaged
since Oslo in the double game of asserting to credulous Westerners that they
accept Israel while reaffirming to their own constituents in Arabic their
continuing fidelity to eventually demolishing Israel, were unable to
enlighten Peace Now on the procedures or mechanism for revoking the Fatah
Constitution. However, whether these procedures are simple or complex, it is
clearly something only Fatah and its leadership can and must do.

3. Peace Now casts aspersions on ZOA's motives in bringing the truth about
the Fatah Constitution to the Conference's notice and accuses us of looking
for "pretexts to thwart Israel's peace efforts." But this is surely a case
of shooting the messenger. We did not invent Fatah's Constitution or Fatah's
record, which Peace Now evidently has such difficulty acknowledging and
confronting. Moreover, this is the most appropriate time for Fatah to
abrogate its murderous Constitution, before Israel has undertaken more
concessions which would entail more security risks endangering the lives of
Israelis. There is never an inappropriate time for Fatah to do this. We ask
Conference members to judge Fatah's record for themselves.

Under Abbas and Fatah, there has been no PA action to jail terrorists and
dismantle their organizations. Indeed, Abbas explicitly ruled out doing
that, contrary to Oslo and the Roadmap. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which
has carried out the lion's share of recent terror attacks, is actually part
of Fatah. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is on the U.S. terrorism list.
Moreover, U.S. aid and arms to Abbas' Fatah have ended up in Hamas' hands;
Abbas has called Hamas "an integral part of the Palestinian people." The
other week, he actually met with Hamas officials and promised to engage in
further talks if Hamas cedes control of Gaza.

Even worse has occurred since the Annapolis meeting. Abbas himself has
reiterated Palestinian rejection of Israel as a Jewish state and said that
he will try to form an alliance with Hamas ( Jerusalem Post, December 1,
2007); PA officials have sworn to fight alongside Hamas if Israel intervenes
in Gaza to deal with the incessant terrorism emanating from there (Jerusalem
Post , November 29, 2007); PA TV has displayed a map from which Israel is
erased (Palestinian Media Watch, November 28, 2007) and a senior PA official
has argued that all Palestinians jailed for murdering Israelis must be
released as they are engaged in legitimate "resistance" and are not acting
contrary to the peace process (Independent Media Review Analysis, December
2, 2007).

Abbas has not condemned terrorist acts against Israelis as a crime, merely
as a public relations nuisance that harms the Palestinian cause. He has
praised terrorists as "heroes" (Age [Melbourne], January 3, 2005)," declared
that "Allah loves the martyr" (Wall Street Journal , January 5, 2005), says
"our rifles are aimed at the occupation," (Jerusalem Post, January 11, 2007)
and that "it is our duty to implement the principles of Yasser Arafat" (
Haaretz, January 3, 2005). Abbas has supplemented these anti-peace words
with deeds, approving legislation mandating payments to the families of
suicide bombers (Israel National News, December 11, 2005); calling for a
political partnership with Hamas (Jerusalem Post, February 5, 2007).and
endorsing last year the "Prisoners Plan" and the Hamas/Mecca agreement which
called for more violence against Israel.

Under Abbas-Fatah rule, the PA has not ended the incitement to hatred and
murder that suffuses the PA media, mosques, schools and youth camps. Abbas
himself revealed - to an Arab audience - the subterfuge of PA-Fatah policy
when he told a PA TV audience in October 2006 that, while a PA government
had to diplomatically recognize Israel in order to obtain any concession
from it, "It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front
to recognize Israel" (Palestinian Media Watch, October 5, 2006). Is Peace
Now aware of this revealing disclosure? If so, on what basis do they urge no
action to hold Fatah accountable?

Peace Now claims that the Conference would be supporting Israel's
democratically elected government in its efforts to engage Abbas by
discarding efforts to get Fatah to change its Constitution. We answer that
no harm will come to Israel's diplomacy by pressuring Fatah to take this
long overdue step. On the contrary, such pressure, by highlighting Fatah's
true nature and the difficulties this poses for peace, ultimately assists
Israel and strengthens its hand. Clearly, Israel would be pleased by Fatah
abrogating this document and such a development ought to be welcomed by
everyone interested in peace.

Contrary to the make-believe world of Peace Now, there is both need and
urgency to pressure Abbas and Fatah into renouncing the Fatah Constitution
and acting, at long last, on their basic obligations to end terrorism and
the incitement to hatred and murder that feeds it. We would have thought
that an organization like Peace Now, professing such deep interest in peace,
would work for obtaining the essential conditions of peace-making. We note
that Amoz Oz, a noted supporter of the Peace Now in Israel, wrote just
before the ill-fated Oslo process began that:

WHAT if they cheat? What if they take whatever we give them and demand even
more, still exercising violence and terror? . Once peace comes, Israeli
doves, more than other Israelis, must assume a clear-cut "hawkish" attitude
concerning the duty of the future Palestinian regime to live by the letter
and the spirit of its obligations . If the Palestinians want to hold onto
Gaza and Jericho, eventually assuming power in other parts of the occupied
territories, they will have to prove to us, to themselves and to the whole
world, that they have abandoned violence and terror, that they are capable
of suppressing their fanatics, that they are renouncing the destructive
Palestinian Charter and withdrawing from what they used to call "the right
of return." They will also have to show that they are willing to tolerate in
their midst a minority of Israelis who may choose to live where there is no
Israeli government.

The ZOA urges the Conference to proceed in the best interests of Israel and
put the ZOA's resolution to a vote.

Yours sincerely,

Morton A. Klein
National President

Daniel Mandel, PhD
Director
Center for Middle East Policy

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