Bulletin March 17, 2009
Palestinian Media Watch
Western funders misled:
Fatah still refuses to recognize Israel,
PA's "recognition" only to receive international aid
by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook
Palestinian Media Watch:
p:+972 2 625 4140 e: email@example.com
f: +972 2 624 2803 w: www.pmw.org.il
When Western countries met last month to pledge billions of dollars in
funding to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, they stressed that Hamas
would not receive funding until it recognized Israel. However, a senior
Fatah leader, Muhammad Dahlan, admitted yesterday on Palestinian Authority
television that Fatah - just like Hamas - still does not recognize Israel.
Furthermore, he said that the Palestinian Authority's apparent "recognition"
is to make the PA "acceptable" to the international community, and therefore
allow it to continue to receive international aid:
"I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of
all of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the
Hamas movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas
movement not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not
recognize Israel even today."
It is only the Palestinian Authority government, Dahlan insisted, that must
"recognize" Israel - not out of conviction or sincerity, but in order to
receive the needed help of the international community. This help would not
come, says Dahlan, if the PA government did not "recognize" Israel.
The inherent contradiction between the Fatah, headed by "Chairman" Mahmoud
Abbas, not recognizing Israel, and the Palestinian Authority, headed by
"President" Mahmoud Abbas, "recognizing" Israel, was not challenged by the
This is not merely Dahlan's opinion but apparently official PA ideology. It
is nearly identical to the 2006 declaration made by Mahmoud Abbas himself
that while PA ministers have to "recognize" Israeli ministers across a
negotiating table, for functional purposes, this does not imply political
recognition by Fatah of Israel:
"Hamas is not required to recognize Israel... It is not required of Hamas,
or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel."
The following are the two declarations - yesterday's by Dahlan and the
earlier one by Abbas - that Fatah does not recognize Israel.
Interview with Muhammad Dahlan, PA TV March 16, 2009:
Dahlan: "There are many distortions that the Hamas movement tries to
attribute to us [Fatah]. For instance, they always say that the Fatah
movement wants Hamas to recognize Israel. This is a gross deception. And I
want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all
of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the Hamas
movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas movement
not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not recognize
Israel, even today. [...] Therefore, no one can compete with us. We of the
Fatah do not recognize Israel; we recognized [corrects himself] recognize
that which the PLO recognized, but that does not obligate us as a
Palestinian resistance faction."
It is not being demanded of Hamas that it recognize Israel. The government
must deal with people's problems... The entire Palestinian economy is
dependent on Israel. The government's role is to manage the day-to-day life
of the Palestinian people. I cannot force my thinking and my position
[non-recognition of Israel] on the government, and then [were I to do so] -
should the Palestinian people pay the price for this position? No. I
maintain the position of the Hamas and of the Fatah not to recognize Israel,
but the government is required to offer medical treatment, to make education
easier and take care of it. It must carry out reconstruction. Do you imagine
that Gaza's reconstruction is possible under the shadow of this political
bickering between us and the international community?
Moderator: Why must the new government recognize the PLO's commitments?
Dahlan: It's not the political parties [that must recognize]; it's required
of the government and not of the parties. It's required of the government
but not of Hamas; it's required of the government but not of the Fatah, so
that this government will be able to offer the necessary assistance, to
carry out the necessary reconstruction, to offer assistance to the sick, to
bring relief to needy families... This can be dealt with [only] by a
government that has relations with the international community, one that is
acceptable to the international community, in order that we can work
together and benefit from the international community."
Click to view Dahlan's statement that Fatah does not recognize Israel
The following interview with Mahmoud Abbas was broadcast on Al-Arabiya
[based in Dubai] and Palestinian TV on Oct. 3, 2006:
The host is discussing with Mahmoud Abbas the difference between Hamas and
Fatah preventing the establishing of a Palestinian unity government.
Host: "But maybe Hamas is right regarding the fact that it does not want to
Abbas [snaps]: "Hamas is not required, Hamas is not required to recognize
Israel... It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of the Popular Front
to recognize Israel, all right?
"The PLO, in 1993, recognized Israel. As Israel recognized the PLO. Every
person has the right to say 'I do not recognize,' okay? It's your right. It
is the right of every organization. But the government which will be formed,
and which will function opposite the Israelis on a daily basis... every hour
and perhaps every second, there will be contact between Palestinian
ministers and Israeli ministers. And I ask - how can this government, or
these ministers, not recognize their counterparts, and then solve people's
problems?" [Abbas then gives an example of $500 million in taxes intended
for the Palestinians, but put on hold by Israelis. The Palestinian finance
minister has to come to an agreement with the Israeli finance minister
regarding the transfer of that money.] "So how can he make an agreement with
him if he does not recognize him?"
"So I do not demand of Hamas nor any other [organizations] to recognize
Israel. But from the government that works with Israelis in day to day life,
Click to view Abbas's statement