To Defend Terrorism, Palestinian Factions Set Aside Their Differences

The Gaza Strip’s economic woes stem, in large part, from the ongoing feud between Hamas and the Fatah faction, which controls the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. Despite numerous attempts at reconciliation, Hamas refuses to pay its bills to the PA and the PA refuses to provide the Strip with fuel and the like. Yet a proposed UN resolution, advanced by the U.S., condemning Hamas’s use of civilians as human shields, has prompted the PA to rush to its rival’s defense. Yoni Ben Menachem explains:

Fatah . . . is concerned that a precedent will be created if the UN General Assembly condemns the terrorist acts against Israel that Fatah refers to as “legitimate resistance” to the occupation. Fatah, [like Hamas], defines itself as “a national liberation movement,” and it claims “resistance to the occupation” is a legitimate activity in accordance with international law. It is playing a double game here. While the PLO renounced violence in the Oslo Accords, Fatah, the PLO’s dominant faction, has never abandoned the principle of “armed struggle” against Israel. . . .

A senior Fatah official stated that the unity displayed by Fatah and Hamas on this issue reflects the fact that Fatah reserves for itself the option of returning in the future to the “armed struggle” against Israel if there is no significant breakthrough in the deadlocked diplomatic process, and it will ally itself to Hamas through “resistance” (meaning terror).

For this reason, the same official stated that “Fatah is defending Hamas in the same way that it will defend any other Palestinian faction that follows the principle of ‘resistance.’ In the end, [their] objective is the same—to liberate Palestine and to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. The dispute is only over the method.”

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More about: Fatah, Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, United Nations

Yasir Arafat’s Decades-Long Alliance with Iran and Its Consequences for Both Palestinians and Iranians

Jan. 18 2019

In 2002—at the height of the second intifada—the Israeli navy intercepted the Karina A, a Lebanese vessel carrying 50 tons of Iranian arms to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). But Yasir Arafat’s relationship with the Islamic Republic goes much farther back, to before its founding in 1979. The terrorist leader had forged ties with followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that grew especially strong in the years when Lebanon became a base of operations both for Iranian opponents of the shah and for the PLO itself. Tony Badran writes:

The relationship between the Iranian revolutionary factions and the Palestinians began in the late 1960s, in parallel with Arafat’s own rise in preeminence within the PLO. . . . [D]uring the 1970s, Lebanon became the site where the major part of the Iranian revolutionaries’ encounter with the Palestinians played out. . . .

The number of guerrillas that trained in Lebanon with the Palestinians was not particularly large. But the Iranian cadres in Lebanon learned useful skills and procured weapons and equipment, which they smuggled back into Iran. . . . The PLO established close working ties with the Khomeinist faction. . . . [W]orking [especially] closely with the PLO [was] Mohammad Montazeri, son of the senior cleric Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri and a militant who had a leading role in developing the idea of establishing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) once the revolution was won.

The Lebanese terrorist and PLO operative Anis Naccache, who coordinated with [the] Iranian revolutionaries, . . . takes personal credit for the idea. Naccache claims that Jalaleddin Farsi, [a leading Iranian revolutionary], approached him specifically and asked him directly to draft the plan to form the main pillar of the Khomeinist regime. The formation of the IRGC may well be the greatest single contribution that the PLO made to the Iranian revolution. . . .

Arafat’s fantasy of pulling the strings and balancing the Iranians and the Arabs in a grand anti-Israel camp of regional states never stood much of a chance. However, his wish to see Iran back the Palestinian armed struggle is now a fact, as Tehran has effectively become the principal, if not the only, sponsor of the Palestinian military option though its direct sponsorship of Islamic Jihad and its sustaining strategic and organizational ties with Hamas. By forging ties with the Khomeinists, Arafat unwittingly helped to achieve the very opposite of his dream. Iran has turned [two] Palestinian factions into its proxies, and the PLO has been relegated to the regional sidelines.

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More about: Hamas, History & Ideas, Iran, Lebanon, PLO, Yasir Arafat